FYI - Who We are Not
Please don’t confuse us with a similarly named group. There is another small group of expats led by one of our former volunteers. They hope to create a small social circle of expats living somewhat near each other on Crete. That group plans to buy scattered prebuilt homes that happen to be for sale at the moment. They will forego having the generous cohousing Common House where meals are routinely cooked together and shared. A Common House is a defining feature of cohousing, and decades of studies demonstrate that without a Common House and an adequate number of adults, the aspiration to routinely cook and eat together usually fades quickly. They will also forego the researched architectural design such as homes close together with common land surrounding, lack of cars, and all other cohousing design elements that also defines cohousing and which ensures successful long-term communities. They do not plan for sustainable living eco-friendly features important for climate change and which are central to our project as well as to cohousing's dedication to living lightly on the land. The group has little experience with cohousing in theory or practice. Although we have similar names, we have little in common and are not affiliated in any way with “Greece Cohousing Community.”
In general, when investing your money to enjoy cohousing and eco villages, it is far safer to invest in a community design that studies, empirical data, and professionals indicate will be successful in achieving the friendly, mutually supportive, and high quality and low impact lifestyle that are the defining features of cohousing. There are, for instance, Danish and U.S. studies indicating how many adult residents are ideal both for making decisions easily within community and for making long-lasting and deeper friendships among your neighborss. These studies as well as the seminal book on Cohousing by Charles Durrett indicate that number hovers around 20-50 adults, one of the reasons we chose 33 homes for our village
More important still is a dedicated space for community and a design that nurtures connection. The Common House is an essential element of cohousing, and cooking and eating together in the Common House is the secret sauce that makes cohousing communities so successful. People who eat together regularly have a far greater chance or forming more meaningful and supportive connections.
Our approach is designed to protect our investment and produce genuine and long-term cohousing success. We are informed by the Charles Durrett and Katie McCament book on cohousing that defined the design movement and developments that were successful in Denmark and became successful in North America. We also have members who live in cohousing and ecovillage and others who have very significant experience with cohousing.
It is useful to research the bona fides of a community calling itself cohousing by asking about the physical design and the social design (see below). It is also useful to know the level of knowledge, background, and character of the founder and group members. A recommendation from this founder's former cohousing community, Touchstone, is available to demonstrate character and fitness for this founder. The letter can be found here.
The questions below are helpful to ask when evaluating a community and determining whether it has the best chances to succeed socially and long-term.
1. Has the project founder attempted a cohousing project in the past, and if so, what was the result?
2. Does the cohousing project founder have relevant experience living in cohousing? Does the project founder have experience living in Greece?
3. Has the founder had any experience developing a project or business in Greece?
4. Have any members of the founding group experience living in cohousing?
5. Does the community have a Common House? Attempts to short-change the Common House often lead to weak community over time and can sometimes cease to be the investment people imagined.
6. Is the group engaging in participatory design process and creating their own village in a way that captures their values? We plan not only to have wonderful community spaces outside our door but also to infuse our values into the community choices. We will have many eco-friendly features such as photovoltaic cells, use of permaculture and regenerative agriculture, and water harvesting. This experience of the participatory design process creates the foundation for the community of people.
7. Does the policy for completed community management include a non-hierarchical decision-making structure such as consensus or sociocracy? Is there evidence of training and commitment to that decision-making methodology? We plan to train in and use consensus sociocratic decision-making to ensure we model other ecovillages and cohousing communities that thrive.