Thursday, April 11, 2013

Financial Questions

I've done some research on unit costs for co-housing around California and wasn't surprised to see that many of them are in the price ranges I included on the survey.   However, in thinking about the "life cycle" cost savings, I came across this wonderful breakdown from the wolf creek lodge website.  I thought it was very helpful in thinking about the long term savings.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Area cohousing fact sheets and site designs

 I just came across these information sheets I had saved from our cohousing tour and thought they'd be of interest as you consider possibilities for Soul City. Click to enlarge:

Millionaire has more with less

Mollie shared this Today Show segment with us!  I recall Howard sharing something a few years ago about what could be the same furniture is this 420 sq. ft. apartment.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Introduction Meeting Notes and Feedback

I'm not sure if this is the way to communicate this but I would love to hear (via an quick email just incase you haven't mastered posting a comment) if you are reading this blog.  Just trying to figure out how our communication is working.  Thanks! 

Sacramento Urban Co-housing Meeting
Sunday, March 10, 2013, 2:00 pm
1300 P Street

Attendees:  Barbara Hodgin, Howard Weaver, Richard Rich, Catherine Moulton, Bruce Selway, Bob Lagomarsino, Lizz Barringer, Susan Francisco, Margaret Gillespi, Lee Ferrier, Kay Ferrier, Patti Fletcher, Teresa H., John Griffing, Shelley Mydans, Lisa Culjis, Richard Levitt, Sunny Alston

 Here’s what we talked about:

  • Barb gave us the background on what co-housing is, where is started, and what research we’ve done (reading and visiting regional co-housing developments).
  • A few of us talked about why we are interested in doing this.  Reasons included taking our community relationship to the next level, wanting to share more, seeing ourselves as a family, seeing this is as way to have more with less, wanting to not be alone but having the ability to be left alone, learning, growing, gains realized from collaboration, increasing quality of life, …..
  • We discussed the components we know about the co-housing model being targeting….urban, adult, focus on private to public transition, green garden space, commons including gathering space, kitchen, a “make” space such as a shop, a lively music/media space, and quiet space.
  • Richard Rich went over “how” we can do this with a “10-step” handout.  He showed us an example project with timeline and funding requirements. 
  • Social compact was the area that we thought needed to happen next, but many thought that there was a need to chew on the big idea first.  John Griffing volunteered to host a follow up meeting.     

From the meeting and from post-meeting conversations the following questions/thoughts/concerns have been put on the table:

  • We would want this to simplify and better our lives, not complicate and make more challenging.
  • What kind of commitment of time is need from individuals to make this happen? 
  • What kind of financial commitment would this be?
  • Want it to be fun….if it’s not, why do it?
  • What would components of a social compact be?
  • Concern for affects on our friendships.
  • Concern that it doesn’t make our existing community feel exclusionary while still keeping it fair to the residents.
  • Privacy is a big concern.
  • What does it look like to age in this environment?  What are the expectations of caring for those who need help mentally and physically?
  • How do I sell unit later?
  • Could there be a way to join the common without buying into a residence?  Can this create an option for future purchase of residence?
  • We would want to make sure that the environment we create is better than we have now to warrant the effort.
  • Is the idea of an “intentional community” at the heart of this and does this have to mean a “co-housing” model?  Can there be a new model created for our unique situation?
  • Maybe there is a way to get a clearer understanding of what folks want by creating a survey.
  • Based on desire there may be multiple directions (and alternate efforts) that come out of this and we should not be afraid of that.  

Cohousing Association website link

I was looking for social compact examples and came upon this page that reminded me that the Cohousing Association is another place to look if you are interested in more background.  There's obviously other pages on the site including a resource center and a page about aging in community.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

So sorry to all if it "looked" like I wasn't engaged.  The invite was filtered by an over aggressive SPAM filter.  I'm going to have to have a talk with him;-)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Question - what would produce a better community

what elements would produce an improvement on what we have today? on my list of elements that would be a shared meal.
In most Americanize co-housing that is supper. In some cultures (I'm thinking European) that could be an afternoon meal. I like the early after noon meal myself. I understand that this doesn't work well in this culture. Doesn't work at all for the 9  to 5ers.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

maybe a first step



Getting started: The first eight steps

Green Swirl
The first steps in creating a new cohousing community don’t need to be abstract, circular or ambiguous.
One of cohousing’s sages updates his worthwhile advice on where a new forming group should focus its energy.
These are some of the elements to consider working on in the first months you spend together. This assumes you have brought together a core group of at least two or three households. Three or four households is even better.

1: A vision/goals statement which defines the intentions and directions of the community.

This should clearly state what you hope to achieve as a group. Give it to every future member.


Richard’s values for a Intentional Community.

1. Community - including as in the biological sense, a group of interacting living organisms
sharing our environment. This acknowledges our interdependence with our world.

2. Cooperation/collaboration - Opens the door for win-win thinking and synergistic outcomes. Also requires listening skills.

3. Security.

4. Honesty and integrity - which leads to number 5.

5. Transparency and openness.

6. Responsibility and accountability.

7. Fun.

8. Recognition and celebration.

9. Respect for others and trust - had to combine these so my list would only have 10 core valves.

10. Diversity.


diversity is a key value of a community that I belong to. Diversity adds perspective and flavor.

A group of white folk between the ages of 45 to 65 does not feel very diverse.

this makes me wonder if their is room for say an asian, arab, native american or black person. I have a name or two we know and a few that we as a group don't know.

diversity should be addressed.

Question - what makes up a social compact?

what elements would you find in this "compact"?

is there examples of others for cohousing?

Monday, March 11, 2013

New York Times on living smaller

Graham Hill used to have cars, gadgets, electronics, and a life filled with things. Now, as he tells it, "I live in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes ... I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff ... Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me."

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Thank you to all of you. Lots to think about. RL's reminder to start at zero most helpful.

A "ballpark timeline" for a project

Here is the timeline Richard provided at the meeting.

Welcome to our group sharing blog

"Intentional Community" is what we're exploring together in the discussions started at our house today. I hope this blog will be a place to share ideas, raise questions and talk about what the experience can be for members.

The blog is easy to use. If you're not familiar with the process feel free to ask me or others for pointers. Basically, you'll need an invitation from me (you wouldn't be reading this if I hadn't sent you one) and a identity to post new messages here. As with our discussions, there's no intent to explude anybody, just to manage the details of the discussion. If you know somebody else who wants an invitation I will happily send one.

I have yet to figure just what to do about a Google doc. Let's use this for a couple of weeks and see what it feels like we might need in addition.