It has oft been said that “the only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask”. No fear of any stupidity in our early exploration around co-housing! We have so many questions!
As we read and learn about successful co-housing models from other communities, the wisdom of seeking expert advice keeps coming up. From architects and developers to contractors and legal experts, there are professionals whose input can be valuable at all stages of a co-housing endeavor.
- who are the “experts” in these fields in our community?
- how much does it cost to seek this advice?
- do we know which questions to ask of these professionals to maximize their usefulness?
- are there specific qualifications, characteristics or experience we desire of the experts we consult?
- are we prepared to sift and sort the advice we receive?
REFINING OUR VISION
With each discussion, we have been learning more about our membership and what we see as our needs and preferences for co-housing. Along the way, we continue to refine what will eventually be our shared vision. Questions are helping us to do this, and we’re learning there really aren’t any “wrong” questions.
- have we clearly established our priorities and non-negotiables?
- do we have a shared vision about the essential ingredients of co-housing?
- are we talking openly and honestly about the things will require flexibility and compromise?
- does everyone fully understand how co-housing will work, and what will be required of them as a participant?
- have we identified deal-breakers and plan B items that keep us within our established parameters?
Here’s a whole category of questions that are both important and easily forgotten – the “what-if” questions. These can support and encouragement brainstorming, reveal hidden gems of wisdom, prompt other vital questions, and point to crucial planning considerations that might otherwise have been missed.
- what if one of our group drops out during this process?
- what if we can’t agree on a vision that suits everyone?
- what if we encounter unexpected snags once we have committed to a model/project?
- what if prices go up beyond our reach?
No doubt there are many, many questions remaining to be asked, and certainly many answers yet to be secured. In this process of asking and wondering, however, we are finding valuable insights for moving forward. Indeed, this process is a vital part of the intentional community we hope to build together, where interaction is among what we hope will be many shared benefits. So long as we continue to ask questions, seek answers, and discuss our findings openly, we can expect to serve the process well.