Community & Business [ was Site Plan

Sharon Villines

On May 27, 2020, at 10:45 PM, maxeem <maxeem@...> wrote:

Not sure if this helps but when I visited Moora-Moora (a cohousing community with several sub-villages, I guess sometimes called an ecovillage?) they expressed some dissatisfaction with the amount of turn-over. It seemed it was losing investors (i.e. residents) faster than it was gaining them. Even as slowly as the time it takes for younger generations to move out and not return.

First problem is probably referring to community members as "investors.” The feel is not the same as other cohousing community websites. The stress isn’t on community, and the pages on the vision, mission, etc are more institutional. They don’t invite people to come and make a home. 

While most cohousing communities share the same values and a large percentage of residents work in non-profit and social activist groups, the community itself is focused on the community. There are communities that have tangential businesses — cheese making, Christian Retreat House, Recreation Cabins, gardens, etc. — most seem to have found that it is better if there is a clean division between the two. They are still in the same place with lots of involvement  of many members but the finances and legal status are separate. 

That way mayhem in the community or economic downturns in the business don’t drain each other’s energy or finances. There be influences and concerns, certainly, but the purpose (vision, mission, aim) of each entity is not the same.

Cohousing communities often have a shared interest but there is no allegiance to a cause or ideology expected. Everyone is expected to respect each other. One community encouraged new members that shared a common interest in yoga and meditation, for example. Ours is taking on a serious interest in cooking and baking — just because 3 or 4 serious cooks have moved in. They host group baking sessions and special meals. One had prizes for the people who found a bean in their quiche.

One thing that maybe could have helped in such a case may be to have one sharehouse, not necessarily among the single-family homes but a part of the community. That is, a big place with people sharing close quarters. It's my preferred community style and it's sometimes not present in otherwise great communities that have a very imposing entry price for hard working community members, besides any additional HOA type agreements. This would have given me a home, given potential new friend(s) an entry point, allow some renters, and create a sub-culture that is exciting, multicultural and hopefully blends naturally with a welcoming invitation to any privileges made available for long-term stayers. Some of the short-term folks ending up becoming long-term folks, ideally, I guess.

Many cohousing communities in the US are considering this, if only to allow younger people to join cohousing. The problem has been that communities had to build themselves and there was no money to build one’s own home and to build another building too. Many have developed without a common house because they couldn’t afford it. It might be 5-10 years before they can finance it.

It may not apply to what you're discussing, but just thought I would toss in the idea about what replenishes my sense of community.

I think this is a very good description of the purpose of cohousing:  “to replenish one’s sense of community.” This is what is missing from the Moora-Moora website. Another purpose that many have adopted is “to create an old-fashioned neighborhood."


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