Editor's Note: Consensus decision-making or some form of collaborative decision-making is used by virtually every cohousing community in the U.S. (and maybe Canada!) Yet, for all its widespread adoption, it is one of the most contentious aspects of living in cohousing. Perhaps it is because it is often misunderstood and misused. In this guest blog by Martie Weatherly of Liberty Village Cohousing in Libertytown, Maryland, she identifies five common areas upon which groups having difficulty stumble. You can download a pdf of this blog post from the MAC website.
Life Coach and Consensus/Facilitation Trainer
Here are the top five pitfalls to consensus:
Consensus is not good for deciding matters of taste such as choosing colors of paint or for urgent decisions. Delegate those decisions to a team.
Having well-trained facilitators who can keep the discussion on topic is key to having consensus decision-making work. Budget money for facilitation training.
More on blocking in future blog posts.
Here is to great consensus decision-making and having it work as well you know it can!
[Download a pdf of this blog post.]
Martie Weatherly is a personal life coach and a trainer of consensus and facilitation. She has given seminars for Mid Atlantic Cohousing and has consulted with several local cohousing communities on both these topics.
One of her biggest passions in life is supporting cohousing communities in having their consensus process and facilitation work seamlessly.
In 2016, Martie will be offering two consensus workshops through Mid Atlantic Cohousing. We will be announcing the dates and details via our newsletter and blog. Stay tuned!
The Cohousing Toolbox
Sometimes you just need TOOLS to help you on your way. Whether you are a newly forming group or a well established community, here's some stuff designed to grease the skids of cohousing.
Seeds for Change -- check out the resources of this UK based organization. According to their website, you are invited to use their materials as long as you do not copyright any of their work.
Good Group Tips -- sign up for Craig Freshly's weekly email containing a tip which can surely improve your group dynamics and decision-making.
Group Works -- play cards with this card deck created by Group Works which is designed to for bring life to meetings and other gatherings.
Do you have a tool to share? Send your thoughts, comments and suggestions to
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 7-8:30 p.m. DC Home Buyer Seminar
Steps to finding a home you like.
Presented by GPN Title, Long & Foster, 1st Portfolio
Saturday, March 5, 2016, tour Takoma Village Cohousing in Washington, DC. Sign up via Washington DC Area Meetup.
Saturday, April 16, 2016 the Living Well, Aging Well Summit will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center from 9am-3pm. The mission of the summit is to collaborate, present knowledge and provide a forum for individuals, family members, general community members and industry professionals to explore multiple aspects of living and aging well.
The Summit will feature multiple opportunities to learn and grow:
Please stay tuned for more information about how to register!
Heathcote Community, a 50-year old intentional community and permaculture demonstration farm, is seeking proposals from families or groups who would like to be Associate Members of Heathcote and rent Heathcote’s farmhouse for a year.
Saturday, April 30, 2016 Have you registered for the unique opportunity to promote your community along with others around the country through the National Cohousing Open House Day ?
This will be a great way to strengthen the bonds within and between communities while lengthening your waiting lists and filling openings. It will help generate new interest nationwide as well, thus more communities can emerge over time. Sign up using this form.
Aging Better Together: May 20-21, 2016 Salt Lake City, UtahDiscover how you can live a powerful purposeful life in cohousing!The conference holds the keys to creating a highly functioning senior friendly cohousing community. You will learn how to get started, meet the people who can help make it happen, and discover best practices from others who have already made the journey.
There is something for everyone - those exploring the idea, newly forming groups or existing communities with aging members.
Do you have an announcement? Send your info to Ann using the standard 5-Ws: Who, What, Where, When, Why + contact info!
When what you need is a rainforest in a desert ... build one in Dubai ...
"Dubai has unveiled plans for a luxury hotel with an indoor jungle, the latest in a long line of flamboyant developments taking place in the city.designed by ZAS architects, the rosemont hotel & residences will house a 75,000 square foot (6,968 square meter) indoor rainforest — a feature developers claim to be the world’s first. however, the list of lavish amenities doesn’t end there. spread across two 47-storey towers in dubai’s al thanyah district, the elevated jungle is contained within a super-sized terrarium, complete with a man-made beach and a splash pool that uses recycled water. the complex will also boast an infinity pool with a glass bottom overlooking the gulf, and robotic handlers to transport luggage to guests’ rooms." Designboom
Some Day Will We Each Have One of These?
Olaf Mooij built his own moveable artist studio from upcycled materials and found objects. It's a carpenter's workshop, laboratory, theatre stage, cinema, transportation vehicle, etc. It's also really tiny. Could this be a solution for an individual living space? All 6.5 billion of us could have our own living space? Be sure to see all the other photos. You'll be surprised to see what this tiny space contains.
Ann Zabaldo is a passionate promoter of cohousing. She was on the develoment team for Eastern Village in Silver Spring, MD and Takoma Village in Washington, DC where she lives. She serves on the Board for MAC.
See cool blog for Emerson Commons.