Being a Member
We are building a diverse community that uses clear communication and consensus decision-making to promote cooperation.
In the current planning phase, members of the New Plymouth Cohousing group get together once a week for a general meeting. These meetings will be less frequent once we are living in the community.
In addition, we have “focus groups” in legal processes and documents, financial management and marketing/membership. These focus groups can involve additional meetings, outings and individual work.
During other phases of the project (construction, living in the community) there will be other areas that we will have focus groups for too, such as maintenance of shared buildings and gardens, coordination of the common house, administration, etc.
Discussion, Decision Making and Action Planning
We use a powerful but simple system using Coloured Cards for facilitating discussion and making decisions. This coloured cards method has been used at Earthsong Cohousing Community and allowed a group of ordinary people to create a major innovative housing development.
We use consensus, which is a very inclusive form of decision-making. The coloured cards system ensures everyone’s voice is heard, and we always strive to find an agreement that is acceptable to everyone.
If consensus is not reached after two meetings, and the proposal is considered both important and urgent, the decision can be made by a 75% majority vote of people eligible to take part in the decision-making.
Following our Communication Agreement enables us to discuss matters in an efficient, honest and respectful way.
While we value the personal freedom of our members, we also acknowledge that the success of our cohousing community depends on the willingness of every member to participate, ideally in a way that matches each individual’s interests and skill set.
Once we are living in our cohousing neighbourhood, we will need to take care of the shared gardens and facilities, carry out administration, coordinate shared meals in the common house, etc. The time required from each member to do these shared tasks will be determined at a later stage, but based on the experiences of other cohousing communities, we expect it will be around two hours per week.