Re: Question about Consent Governance
From: Philip Dowds (
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2018 03:29:07 -0700 (PDT)
Maybe.  But outside our cohousing communities, I think many of us have, or have 
had, consistent experience with careers and volunteer activities that involve 
getting things done on a schedule, even when “done” means less than perfectly, 
or in less than perfect agreement.  I will concede that cohousing is not 
exactly like a job or the Sierra Club or the Unitarian church — but even so, 
it’s not inappropriate to value getting things done.  One of my worries is that 
results-oriented cohousers sometimes get frustrated with inaction and 
indecision, and disengage in despair and disappointment.

Maybe we’re looking for a healthy balance between unanimity and timely results. 
 Maybe some members who don’t get their way could up their game in the area of 
compromise, rather than nurse hard feelings indefinitely.


> On Oct 23, 2018, at 10:25 PM, Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l 
> [at]> wrote:
>> On Jul 20, 2018, at 3:32 PM, David Heimann <heimann [at]> wrote:
>> Just because the objection has been resolved or bypassed in some way, shape, 
>> or form, doesn't mean that the community can simply move on.  Hard feelings 
>> can persist for months or years and pop up again in the most inopportune 
>> circumstances.
> In addition to the processes that David’s community is using now, I would 
> suggest not pushing decisions. Take some time for decisions to make 
> themselves, for people to adjust to adjust to diverse opinions and desires, 
> and for the diverse to meld. 
> The impulse to say we only discuss a topic 3 times before we go to a vote 
> sounds expedient but in the end it isn’t usually necessary and contributes to 
> hard feelings. Maybe once every 10 years or in extreme emergencies when 
> immediate action is required it makes sense. But taking time for a decision 
> to work itself out puts the focus on the purpose of the community and the 
> decision — on the content, not the people who object to what others want.
> We don’t put time limits on decisions and often roll them over to another 
> meeting, even skipping a meeting or two before discussing it again. While 
> everyone gets impatient or bored with one issue or the other, the lack of 
> pressure mellows things out. 
> Some discussions take years but they require that much time to define the 
> options, sort out the possible ramifications, and fully understand their 
> implications in building a stronger community. 
> Our best meetings have been when we discuss issues without expecting any 
> decisions. Everyone is relaxed and comments aren’t viewed as being made to 
> influence anyone. We just talk and there is time to enjoy it.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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