Sharing and Caring in Mexico
Guanajuato Cohousing is forming a group of 12-16 members to create a sharing and caring bilingual, bi-cultural community whose aim is:
- to live comfortably and economically by sharing a fully-equipped communal house bordered by private cottage/duplexes
- to pledge our generosity and caring support to one another
- to provide a secure home base from which to explore and gain appreciation of the culture, customs and traditions of Mexico
- to live in harmony with the surrounding community of Guanajuato
We’re looking for emotionally-mature, dependable, considerate people who appreciate good food and wine, music and the arts, and stimulating conversation in a relaxed, low-key atmosphere; who would enjoy sharing their skills, knowledge, and experience for the benefit of our community; who have lively minds and a calm demeanor; who are active listeners, compassionate advisers, and respectful of the natural environment.
While there is no requirement to do so, members will be encouraged to reach out to the local community via any number of volunteer organizations and participate in inter-cultural activities.
Prospective members, relatives and friends of members, will be welcomed as visitors. Clear, written policies regarding visitors will be determined by the group.
We will be a pet-friendly community. Clear, written policies regarding pets will be determined by the group.
The land, communal house, and garage with studio apartment, now under private ownership, will be legally deeded to a non-profit civil association comprised of all members of the community.
Membership in the association, which includes in its value, 1/12 of all communal land and buildings, is approx. $30K USD per person (assuming 12 members total, or less per person should the group decide to increase the membership up to a maximum of 16). The cottage/duplexes will be designed and funded by the group, with individual building costs accruing to that person’s membership value. Proposed plans (as an example for reference only) for an individual-sized 46m2 (500 sq. ft.) cottage/duplex are estimated to cost $20-30K USD per unit. Members will share site preparation and infrastructure costs (water, sewer, electricity) equally and the costs will accrue to the value of each membership equally.
The 6550m2 of land is partially fenced, with extensive landscaping, vegetable/herb garden, flowers. Buildings have rainwater catchment and storage systems, UV filters in kitchen for clean drinking and cooking water, whole house gray water recovery and filtration system, U.S. code electric system with back-up gasoline generator , whole house voltage regulation, and broadband internet/ cell phone service.
Prospective members will be required to first live in Guanajuato independently for a minimum of six months to confirm whether Mexico, and Guanajuato in particular, are a good fit for them (or three months if they have already lived in Mexico), while participating in organizational meetings, facilitation and consensus training, communication/conflict resolution workshops, and cottage/duplex design planning. Once the core group (minimum of six fully-committed founders) is established and has completed the workshops, the community organization details are firm, and payments are made to the association building fund, the building permits are easily acquired and construction of the infrastructure and cottage/duplexes can move forward quickly. Land use permits are already established.
The communal house – 3 bedroom/2 bath, large sala and dining room, large kitchen, laundry room, all fully-equipped, storage room, garage/workshop/studio apartment is located in a eucalyptus forest ecological zone on a mountain ridge overlooking the city on one side and the Presa Soledad (reservoir) on the other. There is ample land to build cottages in an eco-friendly cluster and leave plenty of room for gardens and the natural landscape. Twenty minutes to city center by car, 40 minutes to international airport (BJX), 50 minutes to large city (Leon).
Guanajuato is the state capital, a major university town, and a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Festival Internacional Cervantino, hosted annually in October, is the largest international arts festival in Latin America. Guanajuato has a small, but active expat community, a full-time professional symphony orchestra, museums, a vibrant arts scene, good restaurants, beautiful theaters, and colonial architecture. The climate is moderate: high desert with warm days and cool nights. Visit this link for a general description and introduction to the city: https://internationalliving.com/countries/mexico/guanajuato-mexico/
For more photos and information, please reply through ic.org or e-mail [email protected] You can find us on Facebook under Guanajuato Cohousing Project. It’s a closed group, so you’ll be asked to answer a couple of preliminary questions before an admin. can approve your request to join. It’s really the best way to learn our history, get the most up-to-date progress reports, read ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS, and to discuss the project with other interested people. Thanks!
Affordable 3BD/3BA Home For Sale at Heartwood Cohousing in Sunny Southwest Colorado!
• 3 bed, 3 full bath single-family attached home
• 1643 heated square footage with 870-square-foot unfinished basement
• Energy-efficient, passive solar, southwest-facing home on 4,591-square foot lot
• Low-maintenance, low-cost-of-living home
This bright, sunny home sits on a private, wooded lot with mature, fruit-bearing apple and apricot trees. Ample morning light bathes the front porch and kitchen, while sunset hour on the redwood back deck is perfect for enjoying a drink with friends and viewing the pinyon and juniper forest. Or wind your way through the flagstone sitting area to the community hot tub with privacy and ease. The professionally landscaped yard is easy to maintain with an in-ground, programmable sprinkler system; a raised bed in the front of the house is perfect for a small home garden.
As you enter the home, kick off your shoes in the corner mudroom with a built-in bench and shelving. The light-filled kitchen features a dining nook, large center island with counter space for barstools, and a walk-in pantry. Adding to the beauty and functionality of the kitchen space are plentiful solid oak cabinets with quiet drawer slides, a lazy Susan corner cabinet, 18-inch ceramic tiles, recessed and under-counter lighting, an exposed beam, and a peek-through to the living room.
The living room is an open and airy space with a cathedral ceiling and picture windows overlooking the side and back yards. Enjoy your morning coffee/tea while watching deer and wild turkey walk through the yard.
Bedrooms are spacious, with vaulted ceilings on the second floor. The two back bedrooms command amazing views of the Heartwood “outback,” while the southwest exposure in the master bedroom drenches this room in sunshine. Closets are generous, with built-in shelving. The first- and second-floor back bedrooms each have an adjoining full bath, while the master bathroom is en suite. All bathrooms are tiled and have solid oak cabinets.
In the basement, three walkout window wells offer abundant natural light. A fourth bathroom is plumbed in should you wish to finish this space. Large wooden shelves line the basement walls for easy storage.
Additional home features:
• Whirlpool kitchen appliances: Gas range with external exhaust, dishwasher, and new stainless steel French-door refrigerator
• In-line reverse osmosis water filtration system
• Washer/dryer convey with home
• Carport with closet and overhead storage included in purchase
• Energy-efficient boiler installed in 2018
• Whole-house exhaust fan draws in cool air
• Skylight on landing with overlook to living room
• Ceiling fans in living room and master bedroom
• Baseboard hot water heaters keep home cozy
This home is located in Heartwood Cohousing (www.heartwoodcohousing.com), 18 miles east of Durango, CO. The community has been established for over 20 years and is home to a skillful and conscientious group of people. As a community member you’ll enjoy access to 361 acres of land, including trails, pastures, and gardens. Other amenities include a hot tub, tennis court, growing dome, yurt, professional woodworking shop, twice-weekly shared meals, and so much more. The greater Four Corners area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with soaring mountains, high desert, and red rock canyons all around you. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to be part of a vibrant, connected community in Southwest Colorado!
Contact: Christine: [email protected]
Our site is in the Manchester neighborhood of Richmond. This historic area is just over the James River from downtown and walkable or bikable to many attractive features including a library, restaurants (and two breweries!), shops, playgrounds and pocket parks, a large farmer’s market, and outdoor activities at the river.
Public transit and bike lines are expanding throughout the area and the site is less than 2 (easily bike-able) miles to the 50+ mile long Virginia Capital Trial walking/bike path.
Richmond is located in the heart of Virginia and is one of America’s oldest cities. Our site in the state’s capital, just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a two-hour drive from both Washington DC and the Tidewater region. Richmond has the benefits of both a major metropolitan area and small historic city with amenities, charm, and convenience. The city provides residents with a diverse employment, social, and community opportunities.
Richmond Cohousing has been active for a number of years. We’ve sung, biked, played games, and volunteered together. We’ve eaten community dinners together. We’ve drafted agreements on the way we want to live together. We’ve honed our meeting format, and we’ve laughed together – a lot. Through it all, we’ve become a genuine community and are excited for others to join us with their own perspectives and personalities. Richmond Cohousing is looking to attract a diverse membership and welcomes singles, couples, families, those just starting out, and those wanting to age in place. There’s still time to make your mark on the community by helping us affirm our values, finalize our designs, and create new community traditions.
Iowa City Cohousing is building 36 owner-occupied, attached homes and a Common House for shared activities. Homes on Prairie Hill, ranging from 515 square-foot studios to 1600 square-foot, two-story, four-bedroom duplexes, are clustered around a Common House. Twenty are sold and 13 were occupied by March 2019.
Homes available for sale this building season, range from two 670 square-foot one-level flats in a two-story fourplex to two 1290 square-foot, two-level duplexes. One newly built 800 square-foot, one-level townhouse is ready for a new owner to select appliances and light fixtures and move in. (See pictures and floor plans.)
Our homes are all-electric with Energy Star heating and cooling equipment. Buildings are super-insulated and sited for optional solar collectors on their roofs. They are built to LEED silver standards. The Common House has two guest rooms, a big kitchen and dining room and spaces for varied activities from ping pong to movie night to origami lessons.
The cohousing community holds weekly shared meals and frequent potlucks. We offer low-cost wifi and cable TV. Prairie Hill is on bus lines, and it is located to be walkable to the University of Iowa, downtown Iowa City, an elementary school, and restaurants and stores. As in many intentional communities, we share tools, resources, and skills and trade child-and pet-care with community members.
Prairie Hill is the first cohousing community in Iowa. We are committed to being a diverse, inclusive community. With a dead-end private street, Prairie Hill is a safe place for kids, their families and singles too. Pets are also welcome.
Nearly 4 acres of our 8-acre site has been reserved for gardens, orchards, prairie, and open space with room to play and places to explore. There’s a great view of the surrounding countryside from our hilltop. A small city park is adjacent to our property, and a new, large multi-faceted city park is within walking distance.
Iowa City Cohousing has been awarded grants and tax credits to build some affordable homes and to offer down-payment assistance to several income-qualified owners. We also have grants to develop our land sustainably with prairie grasses, a bioswale, and a detention basin designed to maintain stormwater run-off on our property.
Prairie Hill is located in a cosmopolitan community frequently rated as one of the best places to live—fourth on the livability index for 2019, for example. We have Big-Ten sports and world-class cultural offerings. Iowa City was the first of two UNESCO Cities of Literature in the United States, home to excellent independent bookstores, an annual book festival, and book and poetry readings several times a week.
As host of the first-in-the nation test of presidential candidates’ voter appeal, Iowa is a great place to get a retail-level view of politics. Virtually all of the already-announced candidates for the 2020 presidential election have already visited the Iowa City public library, bars or restaurants, the University of Iowa campus, and people’s homes, and they will return. We have the rare opportunity here to ask a candidate a question face-to face and advocate for the issues important to us when they are listening.
Contact: Carolyn at: [email protected]
Welcoming a new member/s in our neighborhood. Wise Acres is a multigenerational community of about 10 households. For rent is a 650 sq ft dwelling.
- Knowing all your neighbors.
- Living in a well-built energy-efficient solar home.
- Living with your children in a safe supportive, multi-generational community.
- Sharing rituals and milestones with your “extended family” in a real, enduring, and joyful way.
- A community of tolerance, open to everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, sexuality or family situation.
Hundredfold Farm is a 14-home cohousing community situated high on a hillside west of nearby historic Gettysburg, PA. Our custom designed energy-efficient single-family solar homes are surrounded by 80 acres of community-owned fields and forest. Community gardens and a greenhouse provide organic produce year-round.
Four ready-to-build lots are available now.
Come grow with us!
Looking to explore Hundredfold Farm a bit more? Here are some additional resources.
After exploring, if you have any questions please send us an email!
Would you love to use your marketing and social media skills to benefit communities?
Apply to become our Marketing & Outreach Coordinator!
If you have marketing, graphic design, and administrative skills, are excited about working as an innovative member in the cohousing movement, and are looking to develop an exciting career related to marketing and sustainable development, then apply for this position by following the three steps at the bottom of the page.
Who is CoHousing Solutions?
Cohousing Solutions provides development consulting services to create sustainable neighborhoods. Their team pioneered the development of cohousing in North America, and we have helped create dozens of successful, award-winning communities as well as train passionate cohousing entrepreneurs through the year-long 500 Communities Program.
In this position, you’ll:
- Utilize marketing and outreach Best Practices in your work with cohousing groups to help them develop strategic plans and tools that meet their unique situations. You’ll be a resource for client communities navigating the cohousing development process by assisting with their marketing strategy as well as being their point-person for organizing workshops.
- Act as the office administrator and assistant to CoHousing Solutions President Katie McCamant, including but not limited to tasks such as: answering the phone, responding to general inquiries, office filing/organization, scheduling calls and meetings, and maintaining relevant programs and systems.
- Grow your marketing experience by creating monthly newsletters, creating and updating websites, facilitating social media campaigns and posting on Facebook, Twitter, MeetUp, YouTube accounts
- Design marketing materials with the purpose of growing awareness for client communities
- Act as point-person and manage the educational platform for CS’s 500 Communities Program. Tasks include: updating curriculum, organizing and distributing materials, recording and organizing calls, maintaining contact with Program graduates.
- Further cohousing’s presence and credibility nationally by finding and sharing relevant news and materials.
You’ll have the opportunity to:
- Learn extensively about cohousing and housing development as you work in close proximity with cohousing expert Katie McCamant
- Participate in the 500 Communities Program, a year-long training for cohousing professionals
- Attend National and Regional cohousing conferences where you can learn new skills and network with professionals in the industry
- Attend workshops led by Katie McCamant and assist with event management
- Take on interesting projects related to the development of cohousing communities
- Ability to handle multiple priorities, clients, and tasks
- Excellent writing and analytical skills
- Graphic design experience for the creation of websites, advertisements, flyers, brochures, and other materials. Familiarity with Adobe Programs such as InDesign and Photoshop is preferred.
- Basic administrative skills
- Experience with social media outreach, including Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, YouTube, etc.
- Familiarity with or ability to learn certain online platforms such as Zoom, Dropbox, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Weebly, Wix, WordPress, etc.
- Comfortable working with the Office Suite of programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
Ideal candidates for this position are:
- Passionate about the idea of community and sustainable development
- Self-directed, able to work independently
Compensation & Location
This is a full-time position, with some ability to be flexible. Starting rate: $15-$17/hour DOE. We are located in Nevada City, CA, a charming and historic town nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, about a 1 hour drive from Sacramento, the state capital.
How to Apply
If you have the necessary skills and are excited about working as an innovative member of cohousing development and creating an exciting career follow these three steps to apply:
- Send your resume to: [email protected]
- Fill out the Job Survey.
- At the end of the survey you will see the link to a required short Skills Quiz
Village Hearth Cohousing
Village Hearth will be the first 55+ LGBT-focused cohousing community in the US. Now under construction in progressive Durham, NC on 15 beautiful acres for move-in late 2019/early 2020. Friends and allies (and pets) are welcome.
Only a few homes are still available and we are so pleased with the way our community has come together. We are building 28 single-story, accessible, cottage-style homes with big front porches and private backyards. Shared facilities will be an extension of our homes and encourage social interactions.
In order to “Get it Right” we engaged the experts. Katie McCamant, Cohousing Solutions, is our development consultant and Charles Durrett, McCamant and Durrett, Architects, shepherded us through the design process.
- coming together with the intention of being good neighbors while living our best lives.
- purposely designing our surroundings to encourage social interactions and mutual support while providing ample privacy.
- collaborating to create a culture that values respect, creativity, and belonging.
- managing our community with an eye toward social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
Our Community Includes…
- over 15 acres with ample space for gardens, walking trails, and quiet contemplation.
- a 2600 sf Common House and spacious terrace with a gourmet kitchen, great room, exercise, media, sitting, and arts & crafts rooms.
- additional planned facilities like a woodworking shop, art studio, bike shed, storage building, dog park, and more.
- an amazing group of people who bring a vast array of interests, talents, and experiences to share.
LGBTs, Friends, and Allies
There is joy in living where we can be ourselves openly, with people who appreciate our life experiences. We welcome friends and allies to share our journey!
Durham is open and friendly with a large, visible gay community and a new LGBTQ Center. It hosts NC Pride and the renowned NC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
Durham benefits from top universities and the Research Triangle Park, providing a stimulating environment with a diverse and engaged population. Once the center of the tobacco industry, architecturally unique old warehouses have been repurposed, leading a renaissance in entrepreneurship, arts, and commerce. Durham’s lively arts scene boasts dance, film, music, music, museums, sports, festivals, and fine restaurants.
We have abundant access to natural areas, lakes, and rivers. Our land has access to the Mountains to Sea Trail. The American Tobacco Trail is 22+ miles of paths for walking and biking right through the city.
Village Hearth is 15 minutes from Durham’s vibrant downtown, 30 minutes from RDU International Airport, and 10 minutes from the nationally ranked top-ten Duke University Health System.
Located in North Central North Carolina, Durham is 40 miles from the Virginia border, 140 miles from the Appalachian highlands, and 150 miles from the coast. It is served by RDU International Airport.
Join Us Now…
To secure one of the few available homes and help create the culture of our community
Pat McAulay: [email protected]
Margaret Roesch: (561) 714-8009
Two-Four Bedroom, Three Bath Townhomes, ready for move-in by Summer 2019,
in Fair Oaks EcoHousing, a new Cohousing community in Fair Oaks, California
These are our largest homes at 1726 sq. ft., featuring a spacious open design in the main living area; one bedroom downstairs (great for a home office) and three bedrooms up; generously sized windows for lots of natural light; a large wraparound deck; and a private backyard, 20-30 ft. deep (varies per location). Many energy efficient features mean utility bills should be low.
The homes are priced at $680,440.
The purchase price includes your shared (1/30th) ownership of the common facilities, including the 3800 sq. ft. Common House with large kitchen and dining room, two guest rooms; library, lounge, crafts room, children’s play area, and more. HOA dues are expected to be between $400-500 per month.
Fair Oaks EcoHousing offers
- A pedestrian-friendly village for people of all ages, where neighbors know and care about each other.
- Close proximity to the American River Parkway, 23 well maintained miles of bike and pedestrian pathways along the river.
- An environmentally-friendly neighborhood with energy-efficient homes, generous open space, fruit trees, organic gardens, saltwater pool, fully equipped workshop, and 3800 sq. ft. Common House. We are proud to be endorsed by the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS).
Construction is well underway and homes should be ready for their new owners by early summer of 2019. Only a few homes remain!
There are also several members who will be happy to answers your questions:
Karen Anderson: 916-947-3070
Lorri Reynard: 916-844-5125
Marty Maskall: 916-967-2472
Give yourself the gift of community in beautiful Alaska. Anchorage’s first cohousing neighborhood, Raven’s Roost, has three homes for sale.
Each unit at Raven’s Roost is a full-featured, 6 star energy rated, private home with southern exposure for maximum sun. Residents share many amenities, including a 3800 sq ft Common House with large kitchen and dining area for meals, library, kids’ play room, 2 guest rooms, and optional laundry room (each home has its own laundry hook-up as well as its own kitchen). The shared 1520 sq ft workshop has a woodworking area fully equipped with tools, ski waxing & bike repair area, as well as a room for sewing/fabric arts and fitness equipment. The neighborhood is on 6 acres of green open space with private and community gardens, close to trailheads for those who enjoy skiing or hiking and within .5 mile of nearby shops.
At the heart of cohousing is the desire to live in community among friendly neighbors of all ages who truly know each other and who help each other out. Neighbors give each other rides to the airport, watch kids while their parents run errands, walk dogs when owners are out of town, and help each other in many ways. Our strong sense of community is fostered as we prepare and eat optional shared meals 2-3/week, as we manage our community together and make consensual group decisions. While walking dogs, or gardening, or recycling or doing just about anything you are likely to have spontaneous interactions with neighbors. It may therefore surprise readers to learn that nationwide more than half the people who live in cohousing communities are introverts who like knowing that just outside their front door, they can interact with the community when they choose too.
The 40+ people of all ages who live at Raven’s Roost like inter-generational cohousing for a variety of reasons. Kids love having other kids nearby to play with. Parents know their kids can safely roam the whole neighborhood because other adults are also keeping an eye on the kids, and they can save time and money by swapping childcare right in the neighborhood. Singles like the high level of social vitality, making life more interesting, vibrant, and fun. Elders know there’s always someone
around to lend a helping hand. Travelers trust their neighbors to care for their pets and keep their homes safe while they travel. Watch our video which shows why we chose to live in our inter-generational cohousing community at https://youtu.be/D6YVMxWeCRQ
You can learn more about cohousing and about our community by going to ravensroostcoho.org. A short video shows our early hopes/dreams before actual construction and a later one shows what life is like now that we have lived here about two years. You can see our goals, such as striving to be sustainable, and read the biographies of the interesting, diverse people who live here.
The three units currently available are all newly constructed 3 bedroom townhouses 1159 sq ft or 1355sq ft Prices start in the low $400,000’s.
We would be pleased to answer questions and to give you a virtual tour of the available units if you live outside Alaska. If you live in Alaska we invite you to meet us in person.
Call (907) 399-2051.
We look forward to warmly welcoming new residents into our neighborhood.
Community for the Health of it
Something for everyone —
those exploring the idea, newly forming groups or existing communities.
• Cohousing Bus Tours & Open Houses
• 2-days of Pre-Conference Intensives
• Multiple Tracks of sessions: Build It – Live It – Sustain It
• Facilitated Discussions
• Networking Opportunities
- Our call for presenters is now closed with 120 submissions. Applicants should hear in early to mid-December.
- Registration officially opens early/mid January. At that time we’ll have the full schedule posted.
- For those planning ahead the Early Bird registration fee will be $375 for the conference only. This does not include tours or intensives or your accommodations.
- We have not officially set the date when Early Bird goes away. The full price for the conference will be $445 at that time.
- There is not a mailing list specifically for the conference. If you are already on the CohoUS e-mail list you’ll hear about registration opening. If you are not, you may subscribe to be added to the list.
- More questions? Please use our contact form.
Charming Cohousing Unit in Nelson BC Canada for Rent / Sale – Available Nov 2018
Rent – CAD$2050/month + electricity
Sale – CAD$409,000.00
Great opportunity to experience living in a vibrant, multi-generational and multilingual co-housing community located approximately 6 miles from Nelson, BC. (http://heddlestonevillage.com/)
All units (24 units/12 duplexes) and the Common House were built 4 years ago.
Our unit is approximately 1,200 sq. ft., 2 floors (plus crawlspace/storage), 2.5 bedrooms, floor-heated bathroom upstairs with plumbing & electrical for washer/dryer, small washroom near front entrance/mudroom, hardwood floors (except for mudroom and upstairs bathroom). Fridge/freezer & dishwasher. Heat pump/air conditioner, baseboard heaters & thermostats in every room, ERV/HRV ventilation system, well-insulated and comfortable. Covered veranda in front, pavers patio in back. Yard/garden space on three sides of house.
4700 sf Common House shares 5-6 meals per week, and includes laundry rooms, guest rooms, children’s play room, crafts room, kitchen, social gatherings area, fireplace and community activities … Beautiful views of the lake and of Nelson in the distance.
Common areas include playgrounds, gardening, composting, sauna, chickens and forest.
Hiking, skiing and cycling trails nearby.
Please Note. This property is for sale, so lease will be guaranteed up to a year. Additional rental will depend on date of new owner occupancy. A sale of this property will provide tenant with one month’s notice. Occasional showings will require access and tidiness. No pets and no smoking or vaping of any kind permitted on the property. Rent includes garbage & recycling pickup, water, parking, and internet.
Contact Gerald – 306-276-1525 (Cel) Email: [email protected]
For more pictures of Unit 10, please visit: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8SxLqxySgeiSzBYXA
For more information about cohousing and Heddlestone Village, please visit:
Rocky Corner Cohousing, The First in Connecticut
Rocky Corner Cohousing construction began May 1, 2018, on our 33-acre former dairy farm in the small town of Bethany. Our beautiful New England setting is only about five miles north of New Haven.
Rocky Corner is an inclusive, multi-generational community. We value and are seeking diversity of culture and background. Our future residents differ in race, age, sexual orientation and income level. One of our goals is to promote the physical and emotional health, safety and security of our members and guests. We strive to create a neighborhood that is supportive and inspiring for individuals and families.
Many of us want to live in a Connecticut neighborhood where we interact and care for each other. We are looking forward to building community by creating art, music, dance, food, joy, and friendships together.
We care deeply about the health of the planet, and we are committed to green building and living sustainably. We worked cooperatively with Centerbrook Architects to design 30 passive solar, single family homes and a 4,500 square foot common house. https://centerbrook.com/about The common house features a commercial kitchen, a large soundproofed woodworking shop, an arts and crafts studio and, as the focal point of the lounge, a handbuilt masonry stove. http://www.rodzander.com/
Our Energy Star homes are one-and-a-half-story capes built on insulated slab foundations. All homes have large south-facing windows, a solar-ready roof, and ductless heating with air-source heat pumps (mini-splits). Homes have ground-level entries and a bedroom and full bath—with a roll-in shower—on the first floor. A flexible array of porch, dormer, skylight, and other options are available for the initial purchasers.
You can view detailed layouts of our homes here:
One bedroom “A” home: http://rockycorner.org/one-bedroom-type-a-homes/
Two bedroom “B” home: http://rockycorner.org/one-or-two-bedroom-type-b-homes/
Three bedroom “C” home: http://rockycorner.org/two-three-or-four-bedroom-type-c-homes/
Layout of common house: http://rockycorner.org/the-common-house/
We worked with Appleseed Permaculture to make the best use of the farmland and watershed, and are creating an organic landscape of berries, orchards, annual vegetables, pasture, wildflowers, paths and ponds. We have enough space, for those who are interested, to grow a substantial amount of our food, including a greenhouse for an extended growing season. http://www.appleseedpermaculture.com/
The site plan is people-centered, with cars on the perimeter yet conveniently accessible to each unit. Car sharing is planned. Our property is nestled against Regional Water Authority reservoir acreage with paths for walking, skiing and horseback riding. We are also within walking distance of town restaurants, a veterinarian, a tractor dealer and a car repair shop. The common house with be the walking destination for community activities.
We have adopted sociocracy as our organizational and decision-making model, and we have trained with John Buck, Jerry Koch-Gonzalez and Diana Leafe Christian. Read our vision statement here: http://rockycorner.org/our-vision/.
Bethany is a rural town of 5,000 people. Governed by elected selectmen, it includes participatory town meetings http://bethany-ct.com/ . It has an award winning public school system: elementary https://www.bethany-ed.org/index.cfm and high school https://www.amityregion5.org/ . There are many alternative schools nearby (Goddard, Surreybrook, Children’s House and Willow Tree Montessori, Two Coyotes Wilderness, and the Graduate Institute) Rocky Corner is minutes from New Haven, the seat of Yale University, where political action, the arts, entertainment, and fine dining abound. https://www.newhavenct.gov/
We received a $2.6 million grant from the state of Connecticut to help make some of our homes affordable (below market rate).
Many homes are spoken for, but we have all sizes available (1, 2, and 3 bedrooms), including both affordable and market-rate homes. Affordable homes require an application process that looks at income eligibility based on the median income of the New Haven area.
Please contact Elvy at [email protected] if you are interested in purchasing a home or for more information about Rocky Corner Cohousing.
More info is also on our website: www.rockycorner.org
Seeking laughers, leaders, builders, creators, merry-makers of all kinds!
Rocky Corner Cohousing — a great place for families, for singles, for aging in place: a safe, cooperative, supportive community.
Legal: Buildings and improvements shown NEED NOT BE BUILT. This listing is not an offer to sell a home. Please refer to the public offering statement, available upon written request.
Come Join our Alpenglow Cohousing Community in Ridgway Colorado!
Hi! Alpenglow is a developing, earth-friendly cohousing community in Ridgway, Colorado, that has purchased 4.5 acres in the middle of our small mountain town to build our project. After looking at land both within the city limits and out in the surrounding country, we decided we wanted to be within walking distance of the many amenities Ridgway has to offer and fortunately the perfect place came up for sale. Timing is everything!
Since securing the land we have been working with our architects, Conterra Workshop, and the town of Ridgway to develop a site plan and have begun to do the preliminary work necessary before we start construction. We intend to build 26 units with five designs ranging in size from 700-1600 square feet with six being town homes above their own garages. The 3,000 square feet Common House design has been completed and will include a large kitchen/dining/party area, exercise room, den/reading/meditation room, flex room for various activities and crafts, laundry, and a guest room with its own bathroom. Our plan is to start construction by April 2019 and move in by summer 2020.
Ridgway, despite being one of the smaller towns in southwest Colorado, population less than 1,000, has an amazing number of facilities and services to offer. Alpenglow will be within walking distance of some 10 restaurants, the town market, two banks, the post office, library, a medical facility, town offices, community center, churches, museums, and a couple of great town parks. A walking/biking path goes for several miles along the Uncompahgre River to Ridgway State Park which offers boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, camping, picnicking, and bird watching. One of the special places in town is the Sherbino Theater which hosts movies, live entertainment, travel shows, and educational talks throughout the year.
During the summer months there is a Farmers’ Market every Friday which attracts vendors from Telluride to Paonia to Grand Junction. In July we have a free concert every Thursday which has become a traditional gathering place for friends and families to catch up and enjoy our amazing, alpenglow evenings. In the late summer Ridgway hosts an annual Rendezvous which brings in artisans from all over the western United States and has become a favorite of locals and out-of-state visitors as well. Telluride, about 45 minutes away, now seems to be the festival town of the universe with six major events during the summer including the Film and Mountain Film Festivals, Bluegrass, Jazz, Blues and Brews, and the Mushroom festivals!
Ridgway, itself, is becoming a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Nestled on the north side of the San Juan Mountains we have it all. From casual hiking to world class rock climbing,Our neighboring community of Ouray, just nine miles down the road and nicknamed “The Switzerland of America,” serves as a base for outstanding 4-wheel drive and ATV routes over 13,000 ft. mountain passes to Telluride, Creede, and Lake City. Ouray’s historic Wright Opera House offers nationally-acclaimed classical musicians and theater productions year round.
Ouray also attracts ice climbers from all over the world for its annual competition at the Ice Park. Telluride has become one of the premier ski areas in North America. If you enjoy cross-country skiing the options are endless. But if by February you’re ready for a break from winter, southeast Utah, and its towns of Moab and Bluff, is only 3 hours away with great hiking and mountain biking opportunities. And if you really need to break away, Montrose Regional Airport is 45 minutes north, with direct flights to Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix all year and in the ski season Salt Lake City, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Newark, Charlotte, and Atlanta.
If this has piqued your interest and curiosity we’d love to talk with you. For more specific information, to contact us, and to sign up for our newsletter you can checkout our website:alpenglowcohousing.org and/or Facebook page: [email protected]
We are Cohousing a la Mexicana! a Sustainable Cohousing International Community with a Staff. We are offering Community, Multiversity, Sustainability and Ageing in Place. We are located at the outskirts of Ajijic, Lake Chapala, in western Mexico. We are currently seeking new members to expand and complete our goal of 37 couples/families. We plan in creating a lifestyle that improves and enhances our individual and collective lives. We are inherently creating an extended family where we care about each other. Our residents share the common goals of cooperation, self-sufficiency, integral health, life long learning and living lightly on the land.
About CoHousing Solutions
CoHousing Solutions provides development consulting services to cohousing groups, progressive developers, and other community-oriented entities who want to create socially and environmentally sustainable developments.
Our team pioneered the development of cohousing neighborhoods in North America, and we have helped create dozens of successful, award-winning communities. Using a collaborative model that builds on the strengths of the cohousing group as well as our professional team, CoHousing Solutions works with groups from the earliest stages of development all the way to project completion and move-in. There is no reason for you to reinvent the wheel, but with our help you can build a wheel that best suits your needs and the needs of your project.
In addition to our consulting services, we train sustainable development entrepreneurs through the year-long
Working with CoHousing Solutions, you’ll receive tailored consultation.
We can assist you with making your community a reality by:
- Growing and strengthening your group
- Outreach and marketing
- Site search and evaluation
- Project feasibility and development strategies
- Kick Off Workshops, such as “Getting It Built”
- Project management
- Hiring the right professional consultants
- Setting up and managing a budget
- Financial management and project financing
- Finding a construction loan
- Design programming and consulting
- Finding your local developer and contractor
- Preparing community residents for move-in
Katie McCamant leads the CoHousing Solutions team. She brings the depth and diversity of her experience as an architect, developer, and cohousing resident to her clients. Katie is coauthor of Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, the book that introduced cohousing to North America, as well as the more recent Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Neighborhoods. She co-founded McCamant & Durrett Architects / The CoHousing Company along with Charles Durrett in 1987. Since then, Katie has designed and developed dozens of cohousing communities in the United States and Canada. She raised her daughter in the urban Doyle Street Cohousing, in Emeryville, CA and now lives in Nevada City Cohousing in the Sierra Foothills.
Bethany Celio is the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for CoHousing Solutions and the 500 Communities Program. She runs the company’s social media pages, website, and maintains outgoing newsletters and announcements to the CoHousing Solutions and 500 Communities email databases. Additionally, she provides her outreach, graphic design, and writing skills to communities in formation, aiding them with marketing and branding. She can assist with website creation, advertisements, newsletters, social media pages, and more.
Training the next wave of cohousing professionals: The 500 Communities Program
This year-long training program is for passionate entrepreneurs who want to devote themselves to the goal of building the next 500 cohousing communities while working collaboratively, supporting each other, and making a living. Through this program, Katie formalizes what she’s been doing for years informally: training other collaborators to meet the expanding need for professional support in creating new communities.
Consider applying to the 500 Communities Program if you …
- Believe in the power of community
- Have an entrepreneurial spirit
- Want to contribute to developing more sustainable communities
- Are ready for a challenging and rewarding career that aligns with your passions!
The course will be offered every other year, with the next one starting in Fall of 2020.
Click here to sign up for updates regarding the 500 Communities Program.
Sampling of CoHousing Solutions’ Current Clients
Haystack Heights (Spokane, WA)
C Street Village (Novato, CA)
Skagit Cohousing (Anacortes, WA)
Truckee Cohousing (Truckee, CA)
Green Country Cohousing (Tulsa, OK)
Village Hearth Cohousing (Durham NC)
Cohousing Houston (Houston, TX)
Fair Oaks EcoHousing (Fair Oaks, CA)
Washington Commons (West Sacramento, CA)
Oakleigh Meadow (Eugene, OR)
Harrisonburg Cohousing (Harrisonburg, VA)
Mosaic Village (Calgary, Canada)
A Sampling of Communities Developed, Managed, and/or Consulted on by Katie McCamant
Quimper Village (Port Townsend, WA)
PDX Commons (Portland, OR)
Ravens’ Roost Cohousing (Anchorage AK)
Germantown Cohousing (Nashville, TN)
Wolf Creek Lodge (Grass Valley, CA)
Oakcreek Senior Cohousing (Stillwater, OK)
Nevada City Cohousing (Nevada City, CA)
La Querencia (Fresno, CA)
Frogsong Cohousing (Cotati, CA)
Temescal Creek Cohousing (Oakland, CA)
Doyle Street Cohousing (Emeryville, CA)
Berkeley Cohousing (Berkeley, CA)
Temescal Commons Cohousing (Oakland, CA)
Pleasant Hill Cohousing (Pleasant Hill, CA)
Nelson Cohousing (Nelson, BC)
See our full project list here.
Testimonial for Katie McCamant
“We began working with Katie McCamant in 2013…we still count on her expertise to keep us out of trouble. Her breadth and depth of cohousing and development experience offered us a unique skill set that has served us well time and time again. Her experience knowing what worked and didn’t for other communities helped us make wise choices about our own common areas and individual units…Her advice is steeped in a rich tea of experience.
Turns out that the investment in Katie has helped our project save time and money in so many ways – giving us templates to start our legal documents, outlining the overall deal structure and helping to negotiate contracts with our consultants.
In addition to all above accolades, Katie is just so fun to work with. She’s always responsive to our questions in a timely manner, good natured, full of anecdotes and flexible. She’s made our why do we need a consultant? naysayers into true supporters of our decision.”
– Susan Fries & Lew Bowers, Residents of PDX Commons
241 B Commercial Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
Email: [email protected]
The Fall 2018 edition of Communities, focused on “Networking Communities,” is now available by donation for digital download.
Research on cohousing has been increasing, attracting researchers from a variety of academic disciplines, and building evidence of the benefits of living in community. The Cohousing Research Network (CRN) catalogues, supports, disseminates this research, and promotes collaborations. This article introduces the reader to CRN and shares some of the organization’s strengths and challenges. We overview our mission, history, structure, and activities. We then reflect on our experiences as a highly interdisciplinary and geographically dispersed network of researchers that interfaces with other organizations, cohousing communities, and the media.
History and Mission
In 2010, several members of the Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US) Board of Directors, including Diane Margolis, David Entin, and Laura Fitch, recognized that good data is critical to advancing the mission of Coho/US to support communities and the growth of the cohousing movement. They began work on a multi-phase survey of cohousing communities. Diane Margolis and Coho/US Board Member Richart Keller organized a two-day workshop at the 2011 Cohousing Conference in Washington, DC, to discuss the survey effort and find potential collaborators. Researchers and writers from all over the world gathered and formed CRN. CRN continues to host workshops and present research at national and some regional cohousing conferences.
CRN’s mission is to increase the rigor and reach of cohousing research. We aim to encourage the highest quality of research and increase reliable knowledge of cohousing by bringing together and supporting researchers and writers whose work focuses on cohousing. Our responsibilities include, first, to conduct and communicate research with scientific integrity. As the research arm of Coho/US, our own research initiatives focus on the US. We also aspire to be a global resource center for intentional community research. We act as an information clearinghouse for the media and a collaborative hub and resource center for researchers.
For cohousing communities, CRN seeks to ease the burden on residents who are frequetly asked to participate in research. We aim to ensure that the time and effort they volunteer as research participants is efficient and results in valuable insights for the cohousing movement, and that research results are communicated back to them. CRN encourages cohousing communities to refer any research requests they receive to us, so we can work with the researcher to ensure that their research leverages existing knowledge and available data, and that demands on communities are reasonable and worthwhile. In some cases, we are able to provide researchers with raw data to analyze for their particular research questions, eliminating the need for any new data collection efforts.
Structure and Activities
At the core of CRN is a steering committee of seven people, including a Director, Assistant Director, and Communications Director. Several members were formerly on the Coho/US Board, and since 2015 we have had a member concurrently serving on the Coho/US Board of Directors, acting as liaison between the two organizations. We have also had a similar relationship with Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing (PFAC). Through these partnerships, we seek to understand the research needs and priorities of these groups that support communities and community professionals. The steering committee meets monthly via video chat, and regularly includes other researchers in these meetings to support their research and form and foster collaborations.
CRN has been funded primarily by donations. Our steering committee members regularly apply for research grants, but to-date awarded grants have typically supported only the lead researcher, with an occasional stipend to CRN for resources and services rendered. CRN receives support from Coho/US in terms of recruiting research participants and collaborating on research proposals for grants. Donations to Coho/US can be (and often are) earmarked for CRN.
CRN maintains a website (cohousingresearchnetwork.org), which features a comprehensive bibliography of academic, peer-reviewed cohousing research. Scholars in a variety of fields are interested in cohousing, and research output is growing. The goal is to inventory this research into one place, thus facilitating an understanding of what has been done and sparking ideas for future research. CRN Assistant Director Heidi Berggren receives alerts from her university’s library database every time a new article on cohousing is published, then provides citations and abstracts to the bibliography page manager, CRN Communications Director Neil Planchon—who is also currently developing our bibliography into a searchable database. At this time, the bibliography includes only peer-reviewed research specifically focused on cohousing, but plans are in the works to expand the database to include research on all types of intentional community. We also plan to include theses, dissertations, and books in the future.
In August 2015, CRN created Research-l, an online community discussion board for the global intentional community and cohousing research communities to come together. As of May 2018, 107 subscribers from all over the world regularly engage in collaborative and vibrant conversations. Topics range from sharing research and news, to announcing calls for papers and conferences, seeking and forming strategic partnerships, identifying data sources and resources, and connecting folks in remote locations.
The research effort that began in 2010 and spurred the formation of CRN set a precedent for our future research. In particular, we have now conducted two rounds of national cohousing surveys, and plan to continue this recurring effort every five years. Each survey effort includes a household level survey (a sort of US Cohousing Census) and a survey at the community level, describing physical characteristics of communities (e.g., size, location, building measures, etc.), as well as general social practices (e.g., governance and work enforcement structures, etc.). The household level surveys are much broader and flexible in terms of content; for example, our last round included a focus on aging in cohousing. These survey data serve as the most comprehensive inventory of the physical and social characteristics of US cohousing communities and the demographics and experiences of their residents.
A Community Approach to Research
CRN approaches research as a collaborative, interdisciplinary endeavor. This approach is not unique. In fact, interdisciplinary and translational research are growing trends and there is a new field dedicated to understanding these approaches called team science. However, we realized this could also be considered a community approach to research. A community approach to research brings immense benefits, and challenges, that we find analogous to benefits and challenges of living in intentional community.
Like most intentional communities, CRN strives to be inclusive and diverse. Bringing together members with a range of perspectives and skill sets contributes to outcomes that transcend what each individual could do alone. Communities are richer and stronger when some members like to garden, others like to cook, others are handy for construction and maintenance issues, etc. (just one of many dimensions of diversity). Likewise, CRN’s diverse membership is the foundation for a capable and resilient community of researchers, and better research projects than any one researcher might achieve alone.
Several steering committee members live in cohousing—in fact, two are founding members of their communities. These members keep us in touch with the research needs and priorities of US cohousing communities, provide important community connections for research efforts, imbue our research with realistic expectations and interpretations, and lend us credibility when we are talking to cohousing residents (they see we are not just a bunch of academics). Several other steering committee members work at universities, where they publish prolifically, pursue grants for cohousing research, and disseminate that research within their respective fields (from political science, to urban planning, sociology, and psychology). Our Communications Director, Neil Planchon, adeptly manages the technology and outreach programs that are critical to our organization.
A brief overview of the current CRN steering committee’s research illustrates how our diverse backgrounds and interests contribute to a richer understanding of cohousing. CRN Director Emerita, Diane Margolis (Professor Emerita of Sociology at University of Connecticut), recently completed a new book focused on her community, Cambridge Cohousing, and the challenges of simultaneously building private homes and a commons. Current CRN Director and Coho/US Board Member Angela Sanguinetti (Research Environmental Psychologist at University of California, Davis) has studied how participation in specific types of activities in cohousing enhances residents’ connection to community and to nature, and potential models for increasing diversity in cohousing. The work of CRN Assistant Director Heidi Berggren (Associate Professor of Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies at University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth) suggests that living in cohousing increases residents’ participation in political activities like voting, petitioning elected officials, and attending political rallies. Chuck MacLane (retired Personnel Psychologist) is interested in how communities and prospective residents can better predict the person-community fit. Robert Boyer (Assistant Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences at University of North Carolina, Charlotte) has studied the cohousing development process, and in a recent study of the US general population found that interest in cohousing extends far beyond the current resident demographics—suggesting there is room to grow!
Approaching research as a group of individuals with different perspectives and skill sets encourages each of us to grow in terms of our ability to communicate our own ideas and learn from each other, outcomes similar to those developed in community. Like a community, we practice acceptance and celebrate each other’s successes. For those of us working in competitive academic environments and not living in community, these benefits are perhaps particularly valuable.
The community of CRN includes all cohousing researchers and writers; therefore an initial and ongoing challenge we face is getting these community members to participate in our collaborative network. We view this as similar to the challenge an intentional community faces in recruiting new members or (re-)engaging current members who are “doing their own thing.” Our steering committee, comprised mostly of CRN founders, has an established collaborative culture, but we are still striving to understand best practices for engaging others. Our website, bibliography, and email forum are critical strategies, but we lack the resources to engage in as much outreach as we would like.
CRN does not turn researchers away if they are open to collaboration. We take every opportunity to support others’ endeavors in order to increase the research quality and ensure findings are accessible. Sometimes we collaborate with a researcher who is not experienced and this means we take on a lot of work reviewing, providing feedback, and editing. This is resource-intensive and can lead to burnout among steering committee members. In our research, we have seen how some cohousing residents have a similar experience when they feel other community members are not carrying their own weight. This seems to be less of a problem when there are clear requirements and at least some level of accountability or enforcement for work-share. We are therefore working toward developing criteria and limits for research support, e.g., offering existing data or the opportunity to contribute up to five questions in one of our national surveys.
In conclusion, the Cohousing Research Network (CRN) is a virtual intentional community of researchers who recognize the benefits of community and are in fact enacting community in their pursuit of rigorous, compelling cohousing research. The collaborative research process is not free from challenges. However, as seems to be the case for most communitarians, we believe the personal and collective outcomes of collaboration are worth the trouble.
Contact CRN at hello [AT] cohousingresearchnetwork.org.
Angela Sanguinetti, Director of CRN, is a Research Ecological Behaviorist at University of California, Davis, Institute of Transportation Studies and Energy and Efficiency Institute.
Heidi Berggren, Assistant Director of CRN, is Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
Neil Planchon is a co-developer and founding resident of Swan’s Market Cohousing, life coach, and nonprofit technology and business development consultant (neilplanchon.com).
Diane Margolis, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at University of Connecticut, is a founder of Cambridge Cohousing and CRN; her latest book is Cohousing and the Commons.
Robert Boyer is an assistant professor of urban planning in the department of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Chuck MacLane retired from the US Office of Personnel Management in 2008 after 34 years as a Personnel Research Psychologist, and now consults for public and private organizations.
Excerpted from the Fall 2018 edition of Communities, “Networking Communities”—full issue available for download (by voluntary donation) here.
True Nature Cohousing is seeking individuals, couples, families and seniors devoted to personal and spiritual growth to join us in developing a semi-rural cohousing community of 20-25 households in Sonoma County, Northern California, 1–1½ hours north of San Francisco.
VISIT US at www.truenaturecohousing.com. Or read on.
PEOPLE. We seek members who value living in community as a way to further their psychological and spiritual growth, have an ongoing spiritual practice and have done significant inner work. We are open to adults and children of all ages. We hope to set up structures to support aging in place, anticipating that at least half of our members will be over 55.
We currently consist of 5 households who have been meeting for 1½ years. Our focus has been on co-creating a vision for spiritually-based community and developing procedures for clear, compassionate communication and decision making. We are now working with realtors and lawyers to learn more about the practical aspects of forming a cohousing community.
PLACE. We envision living on 3-40 acres of partially wooded land, in a quiet place distant from highways, close to open space and hiking trails and within 30 minutes of shopping and medical facilities.
BUILDINGS. Ideally we would like to have individual dwellings for each household; these could include alternative structures such as yurts, straw-bale houses etc. In addition there will be a common house where we can share meals and group activities, hold workshops, host visitors, and have room for other creative endeavors.
SUSTAINABILITY. We aim to be a green community with solar power, composting toilets and rainwater catchment. We envision cultivating gardens and orchards and raising chickens and goats. We will use non-toxic products and do all we can to sustain and nurture the earth.
COST. We anticipate a buy-in cost of $300-400K per household with bank loans a possibility.
CONTACT US. If our vision appeals to you, please email us at [email protected], or call Regula at 415 454 1650. Feel free to say something about your experiences with personal growth, spiritual practice, and community living, and what you would hope for in joining our cohousing community. Let us know if you have skills in real estate, financing, architecture, building, permitting or interfacing with city/county officials.
The Fall 2018 edition of Communities, focused on “Networking Communities,” is now available by donation for digital download.
Cohousing communities are scattered across this continent now, some in unique, solo locations, others in geographic clusters in and around urban areas, and new ones always in development. In each community the members dive into a new paradigm of relationships and shared responsibilities and begin to figure out how to live together. In Portland, Oregon, some folks from different communities got together and began to collaborate almost 10 years ago. We saw the big questions:
How to live together? How to help one another?
Cohousers have lots of support from our shared resources—the well-known books, the cohousing “elders,” the national listserv and website, and the regional and national conferences. All of these provide invaluable information, patterns to follow, and voices of experience. And yet every community has to live into their own new story. Every community runs into unique challenges, and every community runs the gamut of the perennial and familiar rough spots.
How to live together. How to help one another.
The number of cohousing communities in our area went from two (founded nearly two decades ago), to four, to six, to more now, plus forming groups. Others are established in Bend, Ashland, Corvallis, and Eugene. In the midst of this growth and expansion, something new began, which started among a few of us at an annual End-of-Summer party at Trillium Hollow. We asked one another, “Why don’t we start connecting across our communities more consistently?” A few months later, a few inveterate networkers stepped up to create this regional group for mutual support and connection. We called it the PDX-Plus Cohousing Group, and we have kept it together, meeting quarterly for almost 10 years now.
Many stories, shared experiences, help, and advice have flowed between the meeting participants, who then take what they learn back to their own communities. We rotate the hosts for our meetings, arrive early for tours and shared potlucks, marvel at the different physical layouts and land, and share everything from plant cuttings to an overabundance of fruit to advice on best dining tables. We also connect online with an open Google Group which now has about 150 members.
We start our meetings in a circle, with an introduction and report from each community. We try to pick a main topic for each meeting, although sometimes our reports on current issues shift the agenda. Some consistent representatives come to most meetings, and there are always a few new faces, with anywhere from 10 to 25 at each meeting.
All kinds of topics arise in our discussions: What really serves as community glue and what does not? How do we do multigenerational living effectively, in real time? What does it mean to be more than neighbors, not quite family? Where is the balance between shared and private lives? How are our meal programs structured, and how are they working or changing? How is decision-making unfolding—consensus details, blocks, time-sensitive issues, prioritization, hurdles, team vs. whole-community decisions? How do renters work out, do they participate equally, do they come to meetings? How do we negotiate issues of power? Sometimes we share recommendations—do you know a good cohousing-friendly lawyer, who is the best realtor, who has Reserve Study advice? And of course, always, getting the work done—how many hours of workshare, issues of aging and changing capabilities, tracking or not tracking, outsourcing work, people fading out, burning out, moving out…how do we manage all that?
I read through past minutes to prime myself for this writing, which reminded me that we have circled around these same topics again and again. The current details change, the themes remain the same. I asked myself, has it helped us to connect? In a number of instances, I am certain it has:
● Treasurers from our different coho’s got together and talked shop.
● Facilitators helped with several difficult meetings in sister communities.
● We have experienced death and dying and shared our learnings about aging and end-of-life, including resources like the new Villages movement.
● We discussed and compared our Emergency Preparedness priorities, projects, information, and resources.
● We coordinated open house days, bus tours, shared workshops, and special events.
● We set up a PDX+ Facebook page as well as the Google Group.
● We have now started a first working group in preparation for the 2019 National Cohousing Conference, which is happening in Portland.
● Best of all, we have met face to face, heard stories, found out that most of our challenges are shared, and gathered inspiration to move forward in some new ways.
Then I must ask: What hasn’t worked? Where have we fallen short? This was the topic of our most recent meeting.
● We are all so busy. The demands of cohousing plus our complex personal lives can be all-consuming. It’s hard to stay connected to others who are equally busy elsewhere. It’s easy to forget to try. The Google Group helps a little but not always enough.
● We don’t keep all our commitments, recently noticeable around Emergency Prep. Good, balanced emergency prep has been hard to accomplish within each community, not to mention cooperative planning between communities. Big ideas abound, follow-through can fall short.
● It’s hard to keep the mutual support alive among the sub-groups and specialists in each community, regarding such topics as facilitation, treasury and budgets, and online communication.
● Why do we find ourselves “reinventing the wheel?” Sometimes we forget that work has already been done and that we could tap into and learn from others’ experiences.
Where is the PDX-Plus Coho Group going from here?
● We recently became more organized by choosing and announcing each community’s representatives.
● We are reaching out to forming communities who are not yet in touch with us.
● We are beginning to plan for next year’s National Cohousing Conference, which will happen here in May 2019. This big project will undoubtedly be both demanding and rewarding.
As I read back through minutes from nine years of meetings, I found some succinct quotes which show the elevated inspiration which sometimes comes through when we talk face to face.
● “We have signed up for multiple collisions between the dream and the reality.”
● “We must hone a lifelong practice of holding everyone else’s opinion as important as our own.”
● “Enter each conversation with a degree of respect you would give to your lifelong partner.”
Yes, it can be simultaneously reassuring, daunting, and energizing to learn that our challenges and our joys in living intentionally in community are shared. For all these reasons, this networking regional group will continue to be a worthwhile endeavor and a model of cooperation, as we live into the big questions: How to live together, and how to help one another.
Jude Foster has lived in Trillium Hollow Cohousing, in Portland Oregon, for 11 years. Earlier in her life, she spent most of her 20s and 30s living in two different, more intensive spiritual communes, one small, one large. She is a long-time Montessori guide, a Buddhist, and a gardener. In Trillium her major involvement is with the Legal/Financial and Landscape Teams. She says this garden photo is worth a thousand words.
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Upcoming Cohousing Conferences
Regional Cohousing Conference
September 21-23, 2018
National Cohousing Conference
May 30-June 2, 2019
Excerpted from the Fall 2018 edition of Communities, “Networking Communities”—full issue available for download (by voluntary donation) here.
Quotes from Cohousers
These responses were collected and shared by Karin of Wild Sage Cohousing, originally posted in Cohousing.org’s newsletter Cohousing Now, who says …