Re: Development Phase of $ Commitment to Cohousing Community
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2011 08:12:50 -0700 (PDT)
On 14 Sep 2011, at 10:40 AM, elitalking wrote:

> We would also entertain the possibility of hosting a group process for 
> developing our land.  I sense that most the people on this list already are 
> living in cohousing, and therefore are not in the market.

I think most groups would say that you need the group process from the 
beginning because it begins building the community. You can't sell the vision 
of community if you don't have one. But increasingly communities are partnering 
with professional developers. Originally neither the developers or the 
communities were interested in each other.

The community is like playgrounds. If you want to attract households with 
children, or planning to have children, you have to include a playground in 
your plans from the start — not as a promised add on later. We had a HUGE boom 
in children the 2nd and 3rd years we moved in because 5 households chose 
cohousing because they were planning to adopt and another four to give birth. 
The adopted children were between ages 18 months (twins) and 9 (3 older boys). 
A total of 13 within 3 years.

>  What are the +- of making that commitment at various stages?

This is a huge question and you largely answered it yourself. Ability and 
willingness to commit varies widely and is complicated by the issue of 
"community" and what that means. Also the interest of both partners, job 
location, schools and timing school entry with move-in. Timing and reliability 
of move-in dates is surprisingly important.

Do not ignore people who live at a distance. Every year huge numbers of people 
move or are looking around now for places to go. In our community, the people 
who work the most and have the required skills are the "recently financially 
independent." They are looking for a project to commit themselves to that is 
different from their professional interests and are used to working all the 

My biggest surprise from the National Cohousing Conference was that so many 
people were there to shop around for communities and willing to go anywhere 
that had a unit available in the size they needed or could afford and had 
residents similar to themselves in even a small way. I wanted to talk to people 
about cohousing 10 years after move-in and they were all talking about where 
can we find ….

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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