Re: Cohousing Digital System
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2020 09:22:55 -0800 (PST)
> Chris Terbrueggen <christopher402 [at]>

> Thanks for the feedback everyone. This sounds like a topic that needs some
> attention.  I think it would be very helpful if representatives from the
> Cohousing Association put some effort into having a workshop on digital
> systems for cohousing communities at the conference in 2021 in Madison, WI.

I would also suggest to communities that they begin their record keeping system 
very early. Much earlier than you think you might need to. Having the notes of 
the first meetings have been very useful to us in clarifying intentions and 
memories. New members can’t remember those discussions. When I joined Takoma 
Village it had been together for almost a year. I went back and read all those 
messages. There was almost nothing I  felt behind on.

It also establishes transparency, which I think is primary to clear 
communications and establishing trust.

I also recommend a email list before you are ready for a full system. has a rudimentary calendar, wiki, and database for a contact list, as 
well as files and photos. It also allows you to set up subgroups so when a 
special team forms it is easy for them to have a list. And it is a branch of 
the main list so other members have access to it—everyone can send messages to 
it for example.

I haven’t tried it but I’m fairly sure that all the data is downloadable so you 
can transfer it to another system. I have downloaded all the messages and 
subscriber list, for example. 

I do a lot of dumpster diving searching all the messages on a specific topic to 
create a timeline based on the written record. It has been very helpful. One 
thing I learned is that what one team says that absolutely didn’t happen, 
another team has a clear written record of it. Not everything gets into the 
minutes. And people only remember what they thought was important at the time.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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