Walnut Commons

Santa Cruz, California, United States

  • Last updated: August 18, 2018 (2 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: May 30, 2011

Mission Statement

Walnut Commons is an urban community that fosters mutual support and cooperation while respecting privacy. We encourage ecologically responsible living, nonviolence, a healthy living environment, and we value active participation in the local and larger world.

Community Description

Urban cohousing in downtown Santa Cruz. An all-age community, contained in a 3-story LEED compatible building with underground parking. There are 19 units, 700-1400 square feet, plus a large common area and terrace. We commit to being a vibrant community, sharing meals 3 times a week, living in a location where we are far less dependent on cars since we can bike and walk to shops, restaurants, the beach and incredible hiking trails.


  • Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Programs & Activities: Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association
  • Location: Urban


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 0.3 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes
  • Current Number of Residences: 19
  • Housing Provided: Purchase
  • Land owned by: Individual community member(s)
  • Additional Comments:

    19 condominiums, 1-3 bedrooms, in a 3 story building. The large common area on the first floor includes kitchen, dining, livingroom, multipurpose room, outdoor patio, common laundry room, 2 guestrooms and mail area. There is a subterranean garage for parking and storage.


  • Adult Members: 30
  • Child Members: 2
  • Non-member Residents: 4
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 31-40%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes, rarely
  • Visitor Process:

    We are open for visitors by appointment. We try to schedule visits during a community dinner or breakfast. More extensive visits, to business meetings, for example, are possible when we have a unit for sale. Contact is preferred by email.

  • Membership Process:

    Membership would become open when we have a unit for sale. We ask that anyone seriously interested in Walnut Commons come to at least one business meeting and a social event.

  • Additional Comments:

    To make an appointment to visit, please visit the Contact page at our Walnut Commons website – walnutcommons.org. Join our mailing list, and feel free to send a message as well.


  • Decision Making: Modified Consensus (everyone agrees, with some exceptions or fallbacks.)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    We have four officers, President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary, as required by the State. All member owners are members of the Board. Currently we have business meetings which everyone attends once a month. Everyone is a member of at least one Team, such as Facilities, Outreach, Finance, etc. The Teams set-up their own meeting schedule.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 1
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Everyone is sharing tasks needed to keep our community functioning well.

    You own your own condo.

    Each condo pays monthly HOA dues.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
  • Current renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Energy sources: Solar
  • Planned renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Current food produced: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Planned food produced: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Food produced locally: From 50-75%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Vehicle Share, Workshop, Large Scale Kitchen, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: 2-5 times per week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals)
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs)
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Private Schooling at the Community, Private School off the property, Public Schooling, Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

Santa Cruz is a town of approximately 65,000 people. Walnut Commons is unique in that it’s a single building and decidedly urban, situated a short walk from Santa Cruz’s eclectic downtown, legendary boardwalk, and popular beaches.

There’s never a dull moment in Santa Cruz. Everything you could want — music, pubs, night clubs, natural-foods groceries, restaurants, cafes, bookstores, biking, hiking, surfing, even ukulele clubs — they’re practically next door to Walnut Commons.

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Coho/US


urban, multi-generational, diverse, environmentally conscious, civically engaged