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. Consensus is… Read More . . . “Consensus or Sociocracy?”
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:
We have a “meals boss” role, the Scheduler. Meals usually a major reason for… Read More . . . “Cohousing Meal Programs and Leadership”
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 to… 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 who lives in Amherst MA. He was one of the founding partners of the Sociocracy Consulting Group. Then with Ted J. Rau, he became a co- founder of Sociocracy for All (SOFA) and the Sociocracy Academy. His focus is individual and organizational development in governance, decision-making, communication skills, and conflict resolution. His whole career has been in organizing, educating, and consulting for social justice in one forum or… 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: We participate in the urban… Read More . . . “Burlington Cohousing East Village, Burlington, Vermont”
Sociocracy is a governance method based on collaboration, self-organization, and distributed authority. It is designed for transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability. Democracy values freedom and equality but doesn’t have a governance structure guaranteed to ensure them. A Sociocratic Democracy uses the methods of sociocracy to achieve the values of democracy creating a practical and effective way to organize. This site is about sociocracy and the ways in which it can help democracy achieve its highest goal: freedom and equality for all, finally.