Special Interest Cohousing [ was question about cohousing communities that have not made it
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 11:16:56 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jul 29, 2021, at 4:21 AM, David Oesper via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] 
> cohousing.org> wrote:
> (1) Trying to build a core group when people are geographically dispersed, 
> often don’t know each other, and have had little or no opportunity to meet 
> each other in person
> (2) Trying to interest people in creating a cohousing community outside of a 
> city or town
> (3) Trying to start a cohousing community in the desert southwest (NM, AZ, 
> West TX)
> (4) Adding a (strictly voluntary) public astronomy education component to the 
> residential project 

One of the things I learned about marketing many years ago was from a Cadillac 
dealer who wrote a book explaining that 1 satisfied customer is worth 20. Over 
the years he had calculated that ratio and taught it to his staff so when they 
spoke with a customer they would see themselves talking to 20. It made a bigger 
impact — and it was true. One service appt was worth 20 more.

I don’t know what the cohousing numbers are for finding a cluster of 20 
households who share interests in:

1. Building housing that requires investing in real estate with strangers
2. Living outside a city or town
3. Doing both in the desert
4. And doing all three under dark skies.

Some one in real estate surely has numbers on some of these factors. It’s 
similar to the problem with diversity. If you live in an area that is not 
diverse, beating yourself up because your cohousing community is not diverse 
isn’t fair. You can only draw from the number of people who might be remotely 
interested in cohousing which is a small percentage. Then the number interested 
in cohousing and willing to help develop a new community. Then the number of 
those who are interested in living out yonder. And then of those remaining, 
interested in living out yonder in the dark.

To find 20 households that meet those criteria you need to find a huge 
population of people who already fit it in one way or another. Senior cohousing 
is going very well because a huge bulk of the population, Baby Boomers, are 
ready to downsize and have the resources (personal and financial) to invest in 
a non-existent community. The special interest communities that have brought 
their discussions to the list have gradually relaxed their focus to be one 
interest of some members of the community.

Perhaps starting with astronomy conferences? Astronomy publications? Broadening 
that to biology conferences that attract people who understand the effect of 
constant light on all biological species?

From reading your community’s list, it seems that you are doing everything 
possible. It just takes longer to attract a more specialized segment of the 

Sharon Villines, Editor & Publisher
Affordable Housing means 30% of household income
Cohousing means self-developed, self-governed, self-managed

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