Pleasant Hill Cohousing
(Central Contra Costa County, California)

Our Vision and Community Framework

Consensus reached, Aug. 2, 2014

Vision: To create and live in a community that fosters harmony with each other, the larger community, and nature.

Community Framework

After more than a decade of living together in community, we have adopted this framework to reflect our experiences and our aspirations for our community.

We realize that connection and trust form the cornerstones of a vibrant community. We have chosen to live in an intentional community because we value connection with others. We see ourselves as an experiment in social change, with the potential to change the world for the better. For this experiment to succeed, we need commitment and participation. Our participation and our roles change as our lives change, but we choose to believe that we’re all doing the best we can.

We hold the following aspirations loosely, flexibly, knowing they are sometimes in tension with each other. Given a strong foundation of connection and trust, we can work creatively with these tensions as they crop up.

We aspire to:

  • Treat each other with respect, kindness and compassion
  • Trust our neighbors and assume good intent, just as we wish to be trusted that our own intentions are good
  • Create a culture where we feel emotionally and physically safe
  • Communicate clearly and openly, while being mindful of others’ privacy, feelings and needs
  • Create opportunities for people to connect and participate in meaningful ways, recognizing that the nature of people’s participation will change over time as their lives change
  • Do our part to care for the community’s property, financial security and social well-being
  • Limit our impact on the environment and our wallets, without sacrificing beauty or efficiency
  • Discern wisely between the common good and individual interests
  • Honor interactions among different generations and navigate collisions as they occur
  • Support one another in times of need through mutual care
  • Stay engaged through the ups and downs, the tensions and joys of community life
  • Support each other’s efforts in civic engagement
  • Engage with each other as a community on pressing social and environmental issues, seeking to learn from each other in this process. If consensus develops as a result of such engagement, we may respond as a community.

Living in cohousing can be messy and challenging. Our inherent diversity creates tensions and can be hard to weave into a cohesive cloth, but also can produce a stronger fabric. We hope this framework provides a useful lens through which to view and address future issues.