Re: Outcomes
From: Raines Cohen (
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 05:32:57 -0700 (PDT)
David -
That's quite a list you got there, even before anyone adds to it.

While the rudimentary contact info and selected additional info in some of
your categories is available through the cohousing and communities
directories on the web and in print, so far we haven't found anyone (or
collected someones) willing to make the investment to gather (let alone
update) the data in formal fashion (and no, people posting individual
Cohousing-L posts about their communities with some answers doesn't count).

How much would it be worth to you to have that data? Should we add a website feature that lets people enter pledges/bids that
someone willing to do the work could collect on? (in the manner of some
open-source hardware/software projects and the website)

Of more relevance would be WHY you want the info (and why structured that
way)... how would this help you (and future cohousers and potential buyers)
in a way that the current distributed-info-on-individual-communities'
websites does not?

Prices, taxes, sizes, and many other factors you list are mostly relevant
for comparisons with like neighborhoods/regions, and of course at a given
time, so it would be difficult for anyone to effectively use such data for
"comparison-shopping" between communities... without even factoring in the
costs of living, transportation, healthcare, energy, and the like.

Most cohousing neighborhoods are so small, young, unique, and low-turnover,
that I doubt you'd get meaningful data appearing in such a chart, with
enough value to cover the cost of producing it; for now, guides to help
people find relevant anecdotes and missions and context are the most
effective guidance we can produce, as a movement.

I wonder if lack of easy access to this information discourages
> participation in cohousing.

My experience over the past decade is that effective community
outreach/communication/online marketing includes a fair amount of that
information for each particular community, delivered individually, if not
published on a community's website.

If a cohousing neighborhood seeks to attract people with concerns related to
issues of aging, then helping prospective members see that the community has
a value/commitment around that kind of support probably makes more of a
difference in getting them engaged/connected, than specifics of
implementation, especially for communities in the earlier stages of

Remember, cohousing, at its core, is Real Estate, so the first three key
factors are indeed Location, Location, and Location. Sure, additional
factors in community can draw people a bit further away from where they
might otherwise be.

If a prospective owner had answers to these (an other) questions, perhaps
> there would be less reservation about committing funds to become an
> associate of full member of  a cohousing community.

Oh, OK, this is related to Brooklyn Cohousing's "Associate Member" thread. I
have a separate post I'm composing as a direct response on that topic, but
in general I suspect that the "reservations about making reservations" that
they are experiencing, now that they have an actual site, are more connected
to general caution about commitments/spending money, and the realities of
trade-offs for a known specific site versus the unlimited potential of a
group building a vision of utopian community; given the group's focus on
outreach to families raising kids, I doubt it would want to invest or
publicly communicate much on issues of aging in community.

Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach & Aging-In-Community Author
at Berkeley (CA) cohousing

who will be passing through the greater Albany area next week after a
Vermont cohousing tour en route to coaching a forming community working on
outreach issues; perhaps we should meet up to chat

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