We are 3 months into starting a cohousing community in western MA. We will soon be discussing how we will make group decisions. Consensus and sociocracy seem to be common strategies in cohousing and other intentional communities. Which do you recommend?
“Consensus or Sociocracy?” Is the Wrong Question
(But there are no dumb questions. This one is a very good question and one we hear frequently.)
Sociocracy and consensus are not opposite things.
… Read More . . . “Consensus or Sociocracy?”
- Consensus is
Some successful cohousing meal programs require participation by either cooking, preparing, or cleaning once every few weeks. (No one is required to eat.) But other communities that require participation in meal support still have meals infrequently.
A successful program averages 3-4 meals a week and their success is often attributed to organization and leadership. This statement is typical of those programs:
… Read More . . . “Cohousing Meal Programs and Leadership”
We have a “meals boss” role, the Scheduler. Meals usually a major reason for
I highly recommend Donnella Meadow‘s little book, Thinking in Systems: A Primer (Chelsea Green 2008). It’s short, fun, and to the point. No math or physics required. Recommended for everyone, literally.
In clear, humorous, commonplace situations, Meadows explains the use of systems analysis and how it can be applied in both large-scale and individual problem solving. She moves from simple to more complex examples ultimately explaining the complex ways that feedback loops are used … Read More . . . “Thinking in Systems by Donnella Meadows”
As is true with all governance changes, it is easier to begin with sociocracy than to switch midstream. Communities tend to stick with “the devil they know” rather than take a chance on a new one, but more and more and more communities are switching full scale or adopting some of the principles and practices.
Except for those who have switched to sociocracy, cohousing communities use full group consensus as their primary method of … Read More . . . “Switching to Sociocracy in Cohousing Communities”
Jerry Koch-Gonzalez is a certified sociocracy consultant and partner in the Sociocracy Consulting Group. His focus is individual and organizational development in governance, decision-making, communication skills, and conflict resolution. His career has been in organizing, educating, and consulting for social justice.
The approaches he uses are sociocracy/dynamic governance, Non-Violent Communication and Mediation, Restorative Circles, and Transformational Mediation. The organizations with which he has worked include Movement for a New Society, the National Coalition Building … Read More . . . “Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Massachusetts, US”
Burlington Cohousing East Village adopted sociocracy in 2013. About their community from their website:
The mission of Burlington Cohousing East Village is to sustain our community strengths and to create and share better ways to live as neighbors – towards a way of living that welcomes diversity and fosters social connection, affordable living, environmental stewardship, and a smaller ecological footprint.
Contributing to this mission are the following values:
… Read More . . . “Burlington Cohousing East Village, Burlington, Vermont”
- We participate in the urban