“It’s always best to start at the beginning,” so advises Glenda, the Good Witch, in The Wizard of Oz. Indeed, that is where we will start.
The following is one of many “Top 10 Lists” designed to help people in various stages of thinking about cohousing, forming, building or living in cohousing. Are just beginning to nose around cohousing? This list is for you! It contains many recommendations for free or low cost avenues you can pursue to inform your thinking and decision-making about living in cohousing. You can get your toes seriously soaked without huge monetary or time commitments!
Gotta Get Ready: Top 10 Things To Do in
Advance of Forming Your Cohousing Group
1. Read the book Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities 3rd edition of the original book published by Kathryn
McCamant and Charles Durrett. This is the “bible” of the movement and
contains all the basics. Having everyone in the group read it will put
everyone “on the same page” during discussions. The 3rd edition contains
many American examples of cohousing as well as extensive writings on
2. Developing Sustainable Communities for Today’s Housing Market is a book and DVD produced by Mid Atlantic Cohousing. The top three developers of cohousing in the U.S. are interviewed in the book. It’s
complete with budgets. Watch a trailer of the video.
3. Check out The Cohousing Association of the United States (CohoUs) website. This national non-profit has many FREE resources available. There are many highly experienced members of this association with much wisdom to share. It’s an invaluable tool for “networking” with other groups nationally. There are often bus tours offered by CohoUS. Free newsletter, too!
4 . While you’re on line … check out The Mid Atlantic Cohousing website. This regional non-profit, comprised of 13 regional coho communities and two businesses, has a mission of informing and educating the public about cohousing. It also educates its members about the art of living in community through its website, local workshops, bus tour, etc. Network with local groups. Once you get a group — Join! The members are eager to help you build your
5. Join and participate in The Cohousing-L, an electronic mail list maintained by a volunteer. This list is available to anyone without charge. People in all different stages of cohousing communities — from living in a coho community to thinking about it — participate on the list via email. People ask questions about developing a coho community…and get back lots of answers from people w/ experience! Join!
6. Youtube contains an amazing number of videos uploaded to the
site by communities throughout the world. Spend just one hour
browsing Youtube videos under the keyword: cohousing. You will
be delighted at the information you can glean about what it’s like
to live in this kind of neighborhood. It will sharpen your vision of
7. In the Washington, DC area all events about cohousing are
announced on the local Washington DC Area Meetup. Almost 600 local folks subscribe. It’s easy to sign up. If anything is going on in cohousing you will
be “in the know!” Join! It’s FREE!
8. Ask to attend the meetings and other events of established cohousing in the area. Cohousing folks are delighted to share what they have learned about creating and living in their community. You can find links and contacts for member communities on the Mid Atlantic Cohousing website.
9. Plan a field trip to a built community. It’s inspiring. It will bring your vision alive!
10. Go on a cohousing bus tour! These are offered by CohoUS, Mid Atlantic Cohousing and by other groups organizing cohousing. Announcements are posted on all the websites listed above as well as the Cohousing-L.
The”Top 10 Lists” form a kind of “yellow brick road” for pointing the way to or staying on the path towards the successful completion of your community. We even have lists for what to do once you’re living in your new home! The lists were originally compiled for The Cohousing Network, later updated by Cohousing Collaborative, LLC and now revised and updated for Mid Atlantic Cohousing. Look for more lists! Add suggestions! Compile your own lists and share them with all of us! All rights reserved 1998-present but you may use them with attribution to Mid Atlantic Cohousing.