California Cohousing Calendar

Click on the map below for upcoming events related to cooperative living and sustainable communities throughout the Golden State. For a list of events by region, see:

  • East Bay (Oakland/Berkeley/El Cerrito/Richmond/Pleasant Hill/Concord/Walnut Creek/Castro Valley/Hayward/Pleasanton)
  • SF Peninsula (Brisbane, Millbrae, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, Pacifica, Daly City)
  • San Francisco 
  • Sacramento Valley & Foothills (Sacramento,Davis,Fair Oaks,Nevada City,Grass Valley,Chico,Fresno)
  • North Bay & Beyond (Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt)

 

UPCOMING EVENTS 

  • Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 09:00 AM through February 21, 2017 · $245.00 USD · 16 rsvps
    East Bay Media Center in Berkeley, CA

    Sociocracy for Community (Berkeley/Oakland, February)

    diana_workshop_dg.jpgDiana's text, ripe for adaptation: Sociocracy is an effective governance and decision-making method I now highly recommend for intentional communities, It means “governance by peers or colleagues,” and is a system for organizing work and making decisions to guide the work. Sociocracy is  based on the values of transparency, equivalency, and effectiveness. When a community uses Sociocracy (and uses it correctly), they tend to get more done and enjoy more high-energy, effective meetings. In the US Sociocracy is sometimes called Dynamic Governance.

    diana_450_360_0.jpg“We’ve made more decisions in the past two months than we have in the past two years!”            —Davis Hawkowl, Pioneer Valley Cohousing, Amherst, Massachusetts

    “A visitor said she’d never seen a community meeting be so effective, efficient, and fun!”                     —Hope Horton, Hart’s Mill Ecovillage, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    “I would never have joined the community if we didn’t use Sociocracy! It’s our saving grace.”        —Kreel Hutchison, Baja BioSana Ecovillage, La Paz, Mexico

    “We have better follow-up to our decisions, and information flows better. Our meetings are faster and lighter and have a rhythm that feels satisfying. And at the end of our last meeting, we started dancing for joy!”  —Anamaria Aristizabal, Aldeafeliz Ecovillage, Colombia 

    The three-day introductory workshop covers the basics of Sociocracy and will enable your group to start a study circle or implementation circle to learn more about Socciocracy and begin implementing it in your group, assuming that your group decides to try it. Groups don't usually decide to replace their current governance and decision-making method with Sociocracy, but rather decide to try Sociocracy for a period of time such as 18 months to two years and see how they like it

    Sociocracy tends to to work well in a community when:

    (1) people understand it well (2) all members understand it, and (3) the group all of its eight parts.

    It tends not to work well when:

    (1) people understand it only partially, (2) some members understand it and others don’t, or (3) the group uses some but not all of its seven parts. Or — the worst — if the community misunderstands Sociocracy by viewing it through the lens of consensus, and inadvertently creates a Sociocracy-consensus hybrid. This doesn’t work as well as either Sociocracy or consensus and tends to generate confusion and frustration. 

    More about learning and using Sociocracy well:

    creating-a-life-together-cover_1.jpg(1) The group understands the need for ongoing training or periodic reviews, such as with an ongoing Sociocracy study group and/or an in-house coach. Or they have in-person or online consultations with a Sociocracy trainer. They use an outside Sociocracy facilitator when they can.

    (2) The group makes sure all members learn Sociocracy — especially new incoming people. The community doesn’t assume new folks will just “pick it up” by attending meetings; rather, training in Sociocracy is provided for new members before they have full decision rights in meetings Without training people tend to misinterpret Sociocracy through the lens of whatever decision-making method they are most familiar with, often consensus.

    (3) Group members who do not or will not learn Sociocracy for whatever reason nevertheless agree to support the group in using it, perhaps by signing a written agreement saying this and saying they promise to learn Sociocracy as soon as they can. And they agree not to interrupt or undermine the facilitator’s work of leading circle members through Sociocracy’s various meeting processes.

    (4) Since the eight main parts of Sociocracy work together synergistically to provide efficient governance and effective meetings, the group uses all seven parts.

                 “Rich in content and fun; I got more than I came for by a mile. I was able to immediately apply the clear explanation of measurement and evaluation to several proposals in my community.” —Barry Weinhold, The Villages at Crest Mountain, Asheville, NC, Sociocracy workshop, Earthaven Ecovillage, North Carolina, 2013

                  “Quite simply the finest workshop I've ever attended. You quickly cut to the chase, providing hours of practical answers, and all with a hilarious sense of humor.” —Dennis Gay, Sociocracy workshop, Champlain Valley Cohousing, Vermont, 2013 

                “It was a magical workshop! I feel such gratitude, and inspiration to go on investigating how Sociocracy can support our community.” —Malin Wik, Sociocracy Workshop, Ängsbacka Ecovillage, Sweden, 2013

               “So useful to apply Sociocracy to intentional communities. I also loved your “tell it like it is” style and your pacing, humor, clarity, focus. I absolutely got what I came for.”  —Paul Voss, Hart's Mill Community, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Sociocracy workshop, Earthaven Ecovillage, North Carolina, 2013

              “I was seeking a clear, well-researched comparison of consensus with Sociocracy — the pros and cons of each — and that’s what we got. Your presentation was fun, creative, focused, clear, and resourceful — especially how you stayed on track gracefully and managed distractions.”  —Mihaly Bartalos, Sociocracy workshop, Earthaven Ecovillage, North Carolina, 2013

                 “Invaluable in helping us fine-tune our Sociocracy process.”  —Randy Archer, Sociocracy Workshop, Champlain Valley Cohousing, Vermont, 2013

                   “Diana's Sociocracy workshop was FANTASTIC!  She truly is a master at taking complex material and making it simple, plus the way she engages workshop participants is brilliant. . . . she clearly is a master at putting together workshops, teaching, and facilitating.”   —Gaya Erlandson, co-founder, Lotus Lodge Community, NC. (Sociocracy workshop, Earthaven Ecovillage, March, 2012) 

    More about Sociocracy:

    Sociocracy has many parts, but in my opinion, the following eight parts are the minimum needed to provide checks and balances against any potential abuses of power. These seven parts work together synergistically, each mutually benefitting and reinforcing the others: (1) “double-linked” circles, (2) clear aims (ongoing objectives) for each circle, (3) feedback loops built into every proposal — and four meeting processes — (4) consent decision-making, (5) proposal-forming, (6) selecting people for roles (elections,) (7) role- improvement feedback, and (8) consenting to circle members). Here's a description of each:

    (1) Double-linked circles. Semi-autonomous, self-organized “circles” (committees, teams), organize work tasks, including administrative tasks and physical labor tasks. Each circle provides a specific, concrete function for the community; for example, Membership Circle, Finance Circle, Land Use Circle, and so on. Most circles are relatively small, with perhaps four to eight members.

    A central circle, called a “General Circle," coordinates all the other circles determining their areas of responsibility, aims, and budgets. The General Circle also provides longer-term planning for the whole community — coordinating and overseeing the work of the other, more specific and focused circles.

    “Double links” are two people who are each members of two different circles, and who convey information between the two circles. This ensures a direct, two-way flow of information circles, and helps all the various work areas of the community function smoothly and synergistically in relation with one another. 

    (2) Domain and aims. Aims (ongoing objectives) are what the circle produces and provides for the community. The aims of a Finance Circle, for example, with the domain of financial management for the community, would be to provide financial services, including, the work of paying the community’s taxes, utility bills, insurance premiums, and so on, and invoicing and collecting dues and fees from members. The aims of a community’s Promotions Circle, with the domain of community promotions and advertising, would be to provide the services of promotions and advertising in order to inform and inspire potential visitors, neighbors, and the general public about its mission and activities, and its specific work could be creating and managing the community’s website, blog, online newsletter, brochures, tours for visitors, and other tasks. Again, Sociocracy is about organizing work, and for intentional communities, this means providing a clear, effective system for doing this — and with clear domains and aims, everyone knows what each circle is doing and why they’re doing it.

    Aims are not goals, which have a beginning and end. Rather, aims are ongoing and continuous. Aims are crucial because when circle members make proposals, object to proposals, and resolve objections to proposals they do so based on how the proposal may or may not support the specific aims of their circle. 

    (3) Feedback Loops. Engineers and inventors use the three steps of feedback loops to create and test their ideas. First they create a design or plan. Next they implement their design by creating a prototype in order to try out the design. And lastly they measure and evaluate the prototype in order to learn how it works in real-life circumstances. Then they may revise their design, based on what they learned in their measurements and evaluation, and create a new prototype.

    Feedback loops are built into Sociocracy too, because the wording of every proposal includes criteria for how it will later be measured and evaluated for effectiveness after it is implemented, and dates of upcoming meetings in which these evaluations will occur. Criteria for measuring proposals can include “how much” and “how many” questions. Criteria for evaluation are more subjective, and might include questions such as “Do we like it?” “Is it working well?” “What do community members say about it?” and so on.

    After each evaluation circle members can keep the implemented proposal as it is or change it as needed or even dismantle it (if possible). So when circle members are creating or considering a proposal, they know that, depending on the proposal, they may later be able to keep it, change it, or throw it out. Thus no proposal or decision has to be perfect, but only “good enough for now” and “safe enough to try.” This flexibility reduces the fear of making a mistake or of failing to create a “perfect” proposal where they’ve thought of everything. Because using feedback loops takes the pressure off circle members to “get it right,” meetings tend to be much more relaxed than when using consensus, since in consensus it is difficult to change a decision once it’s finally been decided. 

    (4) Consent Decision-Making. This meeting process includes checking in with each person in the circle, called a “round.” After a round to answer clarifying questions and a round hear quick reactions, there’s a round to hear whether each circle member consent to the proposal or objects to it. Objections indicate the proposal needs more work. Circle members resolve objections by modifying the proposal and then doing another consent round. These two steps — consent rounds and modifying any objections — are alternated until there are no more objections — which means the circle has consented to the latest modification of the proposal.

    When Consent Decision-Making is practiced correctly, no member of a circle can stop their circle from approving a proposal because the proposal violates the person’s own personal values or lifestyle choices. Objections to proposals are a necessary and desirable part of Consent Decision-Making and are not blocks or vetoes. As noted above, the checks and balances provided by the seven parts of Sociocracy — including that when a circle has clear aims no one can object for personal reasons, which helps prevent power abuses in decision making. Thus in Sociocracy there is no “personal blocking” or implied or actual “threats to block.”  

    (5) In Proposal-Forming, circle members draft one or more proposals about an issue that relates to the circle’s area of responsibility and aims. 

    (6) In Selecting People for Roles (elections), circle members choose people for specific roles in their circle, and their choices are based on the specific responsibilities and qualifications for each role rather than on whether or not they like the person or other personal reasons. Related to this is the process, Consenting to Circle Members.

    (7) Consenting to Circle Members. People choose other members of their circle based on the person's willingness and having enough time to do do the tasks of the circle, and their ability to work cooperatively. 

    (8) In Role-Improvement Feedback, circle members give feedback — what’s working well, what may need improvement — to other circle members relative to how they are fulfilling the specific responsibilities of the role. 

     

  • Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 10:30 AM · 7 rsvps

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing Site Tour

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing

    Learn about greater Sacramento's second cohousing project, which will break ground in the next year in Fair Oaks (18 miles east of downtown Sacramento) on a lovely piece of land close to the American River Parkway and Fair Oaks Village. The project will include 30 homes, a large common house, and many other shared amenities. The design is similar to Nevada City Cohousing. Visit www.FairOaksEcoHousing.org to learn more.

    There will be discussion about cohousing and our cohousing project in particular followed by a tour of the site where we will be building our cohousing community. There will be an optional lunch afterwards at the Siam Patio Restaurant. We can carpool to the site. The tour will be led by future residents of Fair Oaks EcoHousing.

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing Members 

    Look for cohousing buttons, banners, or signs, or a bunch of enthusiastic people looking for new neighbors to join them in co-creating their future homes. Use your RSVP comments here for carpool coordination/invitation.

    Meet at 10:30 AM.

  • Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 01:00 PM · 14 rsvps

    POC Quarterly Feb

    Save the Date! Note that this is a POCSHN event that we are cross-listing, but East Bay Cohousing / Cohousing California is not organizing it. Please self-select appropriately before RSVPing.

    Learn more on the POCSHN MeetUp: 
    https://www.meetup.com/People-of-Color-Sustainable-Housing-Network/events/235666213/

    POCSHN_potluck.jpegCome meet other like-minded people of color seeking intentional community! This is a chance to find out more about the network's goals and strategies, get updates on projects and resources, and learn about opportunities to become involved.

    12 - 1:        New member orientation

    1-2:30        Potluck, introductions, and updates on projects, resources, and ways to get involved

    2:30-3       Tour of SOL (Sustaining Ourselves Locally housing collective),                                     http://oaklandsol.weebly.com/

    We look forward to meeting you!  
    Casey, Desi, Lailan, Lina, Marissa, Sasha, and Tavi

    About the group:  

    This is an umbrella resource group for people of color who are interested in living in an intentional community together. Out of this larger group, the hope is for smaller, core groups to emerge and start meeting, getting to know each other and exploring shared values, with the ultimate goal of living together. The inspiration for this meetup is a Rastafarian concept, livity, shared by Diana Marie Lee (

    http://sweetlivity.com

    ), meaning “your entire way of life is your medicine.” We will serve as a hub to connect people of color (poc) who are interested in investing in, buying, or renting-to-own cohousing in the East Bay. We will also create a network of people of color interested in starting or moving into poc-owned homes and other creative living arrangements, as well as connect more people of color to established cohousing and coops in the SF Bay Area. It’s quite possible that gardening and living together and building community together is the most radical work. –Adrienne Marie Brown

  • Sunday, March 05, 2017 at 01:30 PM · 5 rsvps
    Pleasant Hill Cohousing in Pleasant Hill, CA

    Pleasant Hill Cohousing Tour

    Raines says: This regular monthly community tour and open house of the East Bay's biggest and most "suburban" cohousing neighborhood, Pleasant Hill cohousing, the only "new-build" classic cohousing community in the region, the largest in the East Bay, and a lovely community.

    Note that this is not an official MeetUp run by East Bay Cohousing, but we will pass along RSVPs that come in here, and you can use this event listing to coordinate carpooling, bike riding, and the like.

    Normally the first Sunday of the month, the January tour will take place the second Sunday to avoid New Year's Day.

    Visit Pleasant Hill Cohousing's page on the EBCOHO MeetUp for more info, links, and current openings.

    If you need to cancel your reservation, or decide not to go, please let Pleasant Hill's volunteer tour guide know as soon as possible!

     

    Individual Homes

    There are 32 units, grouped in various configurations ranging from 2-6 homes per building. The buildings were constructed with wood framing, stucco outer walls, and corrogated metal roofing. The smallest units are 640 sq ft one-bedrooms; the largest are 1579 sq ft four-bedrooms.

    Each home has its own kitchen. The homes are owned individually as condominiums, with some rentals.

    Common Areas

    Our 3,835 sq ft Common House contains a kitchen, dining room ("great room"), sitting room, laundry, kids room, teens/older kids room, crafts room, guest rooms, and bathrooms.

    The Common House is the only building in the project that has air conditioning. However to minimize the use of air conditioning, the building also has a cooling tower with large fans that can be used in the evening to pull cooler air into the building and push hot air out.

    Other common facilities include swimming pool, hot tub, play area, workshop, bike shed, organic garden, and granite boulders from original site - both decorative and used by children for climbing.

    Location

    We're conveniently located near Highway 680 and public transportation, with easy access to Walnut Creek, shopping, and recreation.

    Pleasant Hill, population 32,000, is located 30 miles east of San Francisco, 4 miles north of the I-680/Hwy 24 interchange. Mostly a residential community with scattered retail/commercial areas, it is bounded by the cities of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Concord, and Martinez. Pleasant Hill has recently (2000) redeveloped its downtown to create a contemporary shopping district just blocks from the site. In addition, an abundance of good restaurants and shops are within easy driving distance. The city has good recreation programs for all ages and regional walking/biking trails traverse it.

     

    Iron Horse Trail

    A walking and biking trail - the Iron Horse Trail (so named because it's on the old Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way) - runs alongside the site and connects to the Pleasant Hill BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station (~1 mile) and downtown Walnut Creek (~4 miles). The 24-mile trail goes north-south from Concord to Dublin and connects to several other trails that traverse the county making for great biking opportunities.

    A neighborhood park is located just the other side of Fair Oaks Elementary School adjacent to the site. Briones Regional Park and Mt. Diablo State Park are located nearby providing numerous opportunities for hiking and recreation. There are several health clubs in Pleasant Hill including the YMCA.

    Diablo Valley Community College and JFK University are located in Pleasant Hill, and there are several city and county adult education programs in the area.

    There are multiple venues nearby for movies, theater, music and other performing arts including the Dean Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, the Willows Theater Company in Concord, and the Concord Pavillion.

    There are farmers markets in Pleasant Hill (May-Nov) and Walnut Creek (year-round). Several community members participate in a CSA farm, Terra Firma Farms, with a weekly delivery of locally grown organic fruits and vegies made even more convenient because we are the drop site. 

  • Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 10:30 AM · 6 rsvps

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing Site Tour

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing

    Learn about greater Sacramento's second cohousing project, which will break ground in the next year in Fair Oaks (18 miles east of downtown Sacramento) on a lovely piece of land close to the American River Parkway and Fair Oaks Village. The project will include 30 homes, a large common house, and many other shared amenities. The design is similar to Nevada City Cohousing. Visit www.FairOaksEcoHousing.org to learn more.

    There will be discussion about cohousing and our cohousing project in particular followed by a tour of the site where we will be building our cohousing community. There will be an optional lunch afterwards at the Siam Patio Restaurant. We can carpool to the site. The tour will be led by future residents of Fair Oaks EcoHousing.

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing Members 

    Look for cohousing buttons, banners, or signs, or a bunch of enthusiastic people looking for new neighbors to join them in co-creating their future homes. Use your RSVP comments here for carpool coordination/invitation.

    Meet at 10:30 AM.

  • Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 10:30 AM · 6 rsvps

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing Site Tour

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing

    Learn about greater Sacramento's second cohousing project, which will break ground in the next year in Fair Oaks (18 miles east of downtown Sacramento) on a lovely piece of land close to the American River Parkway and Fair Oaks Village. The project will include 30 homes, a large common house, and many other shared amenities. The design is similar to Nevada City Cohousing. Visit www.FairOaksEcoHousing.org to learn more.

    There will be discussion about cohousing and our cohousing project in particular followed by a tour of the site where we will be building our cohousing community. There will be an optional lunch afterwards at the Siam Patio Restaurant. We can carpool to the site. The tour will be led by future residents of Fair Oaks EcoHousing.

    Fair Oaks EcoHousing Members 

    Look for cohousing buttons, banners, or signs, or a bunch of enthusiastic people looking for new neighbors to join them in co-creating their future homes. Use your RSVP comments here for carpool coordination/invitation.

    Meet at 10:30 AM.

  • Sunday, April 02, 2017 at 01:30 PM · 5 rsvps
    Pleasant Hill Cohousing in Pleasant Hill, CA

    Pleasant Hill Cohousing Tour

    Raines says: This regular monthly community tour and open house of the East Bay's biggest and most "suburban" cohousing neighborhood, Pleasant Hill cohousing, the only "new-build" classic cohousing community in the region, the largest in the East Bay, and a lovely community.

    Note that this is not an official MeetUp run by East Bay Cohousing, but we will pass along RSVPs that come in here, and you can use this event listing to coordinate carpooling, bike riding, and the like.

    Normally the first Sunday of the month, the January tour will take place the second Sunday to avoid New Year's Day.

    Visit Pleasant Hill Cohousing's page on the EBCOHO MeetUp for more info, links, and current openings.

    If you need to cancel your reservation, or decide not to go, please let Pleasant Hill's volunteer tour guide know as soon as possible!

     

    Individual Homes

    There are 32 units, grouped in various configurations ranging from 2-6 homes per building. The buildings were constructed with wood framing, stucco outer walls, and corrogated metal roofing. The smallest units are 640 sq ft one-bedrooms; the largest are 1579 sq ft four-bedrooms.

    Each home has its own kitchen. The homes are owned individually as condominiums, with some rentals.

    Common Areas

    Our 3,835 sq ft Common House contains a kitchen, dining room ("great room"), sitting room, laundry, kids room, teens/older kids room, crafts room, guest rooms, and bathrooms.

    The Common House is the only building in the project that has air conditioning. However to minimize the use of air conditioning, the building also has a cooling tower with large fans that can be used in the evening to pull cooler air into the building and push hot air out.

    Other common facilities include swimming pool, hot tub, play area, workshop, bike shed, organic garden, and granite boulders from original site - both decorative and used by children for climbing.

    Location

    We're conveniently located near Highway 680 and public transportation, with easy access to Walnut Creek, shopping, and recreation.

    Pleasant Hill, population 32,000, is located 30 miles east of San Francisco, 4 miles north of the I-680/Hwy 24 interchange. Mostly a residential community with scattered retail/commercial areas, it is bounded by the cities of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Concord, and Martinez. Pleasant Hill has recently (2000) redeveloped its downtown to create a contemporary shopping district just blocks from the site. In addition, an abundance of good restaurants and shops are within easy driving distance. The city has good recreation programs for all ages and regional walking/biking trails traverse it.

     

    Iron Horse Trail

    A walking and biking trail - the Iron Horse Trail (so named because it's on the old Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way) - runs alongside the site and connects to the Pleasant Hill BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station (~1 mile) and downtown Walnut Creek (~4 miles). The 24-mile trail goes north-south from Concord to Dublin and connects to several other trails that traverse the county making for great biking opportunities.

    A neighborhood park is located just the other side of Fair Oaks Elementary School adjacent to the site. Briones Regional Park and Mt. Diablo State Park are located nearby providing numerous opportunities for hiking and recreation. There are several health clubs in Pleasant Hill including the YMCA.

    Diablo Valley Community College and JFK University are located in Pleasant Hill, and there are several city and county adult education programs in the area.

    There are multiple venues nearby for movies, theater, music and other performing arts including the Dean Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, the Willows Theater Company in Concord, and the Concord Pavillion.

    There are farmers markets in Pleasant Hill (May-Nov) and Walnut Creek (year-round). Several community members participate in a CSA farm, Terra Firma Farms, with a weekly delivery of locally grown organic fruits and vegies made even more convenient because we are the drop site. 

  • Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 09:00 AM · 115 rsvps

    National Cohousing Open House Day 2017

    National Cohousing Open House Day:April 29Many of the Golden State's cohousing neighborhoods will be participating in the second annual National Cohousing Open House Day, on Saturday, April 29.

    We'll include a directory here, tour opportunities, related events, virtual tours, and more. Sign up for updates.

    http://www.cohousing.org/openhouse2017

  • Friday, May 19, 2017 at 09:00 AM through May 22, 2017 · 218 rsvps

    National Cohousing Conference (Nashville)

    2017 National Cohousing Conference in NashvilleCohousing California is a proud sponsor of the 2017 National Cohousing Conference, to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, this May. Join us there as part of the California delegation to learn all about creating and living in community.

    Meet our member communities like Fair Oaks EcoHousing, currently under development East of Sacramento.

    Learn from experienced communitarians and community organizers and community developers.

    This page will feature highlights of the California contributions to the conference.

    RSVP here if you're going, but to register or learn more on the 2017 National Cohousing Conference website:

    http://www.cohousing.org/2017