Re: choosing a community name
From: Pare Gerou (
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2021 08:17:45 -0700 (PDT)
Dear Sandy,

I feel your pain.  Our Community- Greek Village Cohousing was a brainchild
of mine, and like all founders I became highly invested in the name.  I
shared the name, project materials, and google keywords associated with the
name with explorers and volunteers.  A former volunteer with our group
decided to start his own cohousing community a week after leaving our
group, but instead of choosing a very different name he chose an extremely
similar name and used a nearly identical sounding description as well as
very similar meeting days and times.  The confusion is so serious that
Intentional Communities even confused us during a recent online tour.
Luckily, our project has benefited from the wonderful people at IC and on
this list serve as well as the wonderful skilled members in our group who
have cohousing experience.  Our project has grown into an exciting project
that differentiates us due to all of this synergy-  we have a farm-to-table
location and culture, and we have strong "Ecohousing" expertise- with
members who are permaculture and energy conservation and natural resource
management professionals in our group.  People are very excited about our
potential location on land with a farm and vineyard which is only 20
minutes from a major city as well as gorgeous beach and seaside village.
It is all very exciting and we march on despite the confusion.  I know the
two Heartwoods each have their own location and characteristics as well,
and while I confuse your names too, I never confuse who you are- in fact we
know you are all bakers and invited you to our "Cooking in the Common
House" event (www.GreekVillageCohousiing for free tickets). You all posted
a great video on your FB page about how to use philo, but the video was
from Walmart and we thought you needed a Greek Cooking in the Common House
intervention!  We also know you guys are the ones with incredibly beautiful
land as far as the eye can see and cows sometimes in your backyards : )

Our group plans to eventually add something to the beginning of our name
once we are on the land.  We will use Greek Village Cohousing as a business
name and add a word at the beginning to create a less generic and
meaningful connection with the land or location or group members.  But I
like using the word "Village" in our name and feel that U.S. communities
use "Commons" a lot when they could also use "Village." After all,
Cohousing is the village reimagined....


Greek Village Cohousing
T. +1 (434) 962-7801
A. Peloponnese
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On Mon, Aug 9, 2021 at 6:45 AM Sandy Thomson <sandykthomson [at]>

> Thank you Fred for bringing this up.  We we quite surprised and
> disappointed when Heartwood Commons recently chose that name.  We have
> spent 20 years making a name for ourself in the Cohousing world and there
> have been several confusions already with that community now.  They knew
> about us, we asked them not to use that name and they still decided to go
> with it.  I even had one forming community ask us to use a photo and
> description I posted on Facebook and I said yes but they mistakenly
> attributed it to Heartwood Commons.
> Sandy Thomson
> Heartwood Cohousing
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Sun, 8 Aug 2021 07:26:32 -0500 (CDT)
> > From: Fred H Olson <fholson [at]>
> > To: Cohousing-L mailing list <cohousing-l [at]>
> > Subject: Re: [C-L]_ choosing a community name
> > Message-ID: <alpine.DEB.2.21.2108080642340.16989 [at]>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
> >
> > Jerry Koch-Gonzalez started this topic that I've been pondering a
> > bit lately.  My personal feeling is that changing names should be
> > avoided unless there is a strong reason for doing so. A lot of
> > effort goes into establishing awareness of a community and it's
> > name -- particularly one trying to get established and recruit
> > members.  The name is a key part of that effort.  Having to build
> > recognition of a new name should be avoided by avoiding changing
> > names unless there is a strong reason to do so. Similarly careful
> > consideration should go into choosing the name initially.
> >
> > I think we as a larger community should agree to an expectation that
> > communities will examine existing cohousing community names and not
> > choose a name similar to an existing community.
> >
> > There are two instances that I know of where two communites have
> > names that are easily confused with another community - the
> > the Greek / Greece proposal which I wrote about recently at
> >
> > Greece Cohousing Community
> >
> >
> > Greek Village Cohousing
> >
> >
> > Also:
> >
> > Heartwood Cohousing and long established in Bayfield, Colorado
> >
> >
> > Heartwood Commons that is building in Tulsa Oklahoma
> >
> >
> > Internet domains which have to be registered in a process
> > that requires them to be unique but they can be quite similar.
> > Choosing a cohousing communities can currently choose any name
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