Mission & Vision

Our Mission:

Our mission is to form a cohousing community in or near Harrisonburg which values social and environmental sustainability. We want a deeper relationship with neighbors and a lighter footprint on the earth.

Our Vision:

Our vision is to form a community of neighbors interested in knowing each other on a deeper level than typical North American neighborhoods. We value our privacy, but recognize that our western culture and lifestyle isolate us from each other and make it challenging to build meaningful long-term relationships with those around us. In building this neighborhood, we want to recapture aspects of a traditional village: knowing each other’s names, eating some meals together, sharing and celebrating life together with planned and spontaneous gatherings. In addition, our group strives to live more simply and more lightly on the earth.

Relationships:

We want to celebrate life together by:

  • Eating some meals together
  • Having fun, playing, laughing
  • Creating community rituals and celebrations
  • Nurturing all of our community, including our children and elders
  • Working together on neighborhood projects
  • Offering vegan/vegetarian options at most/all meals, and making an effort to accommodate other dietary needs

We strive to have honest, open and respectful relationships with each other by:

  • Addressing conflicts in a timely manner
  • Respecting privacy while showing neighborly concern
  • Committing to grow in group process/conflict resolution skills
  • Using clear, caring, open, and honest communication and avoiding gossip
  • Making neighborhood decisions using a modified consensus method
  • Valuing and respecting our diversity

Environmental Sustainability/Earth Care:

We strive to use our resources wisely to care for the earth by:

  • Simplifying our lifestyles
  • Sharing tools and equipment
  • Recycling
  • Growing some of our own food
  • Supporting buying local, organic food
  • Requiring organic gardening methods in our neighborhood
  • Sharing knowledge and skills

Development/Building:

We plan to include the following concepts in our site selection and building process:

  • Have approximately 20-25 households (with and without children) participate in the planning process for the community and their own individual dwellings.
  • Build a neighborhood in which private dwellings have all the features of conventional homes, and in addition residents have access to shared facilities.
  • Design so the physical layout encourages a sense of community (i.e. clustered dwellings facing each other across a pedestrian street or courtyard, with cars parked on the periphery.)
  • Build generous shared facilities (common house with kitchen/dining area/etc.) and open space to accommodate common activities and encourage social interaction.
  • Build affordable dwellings, i.e., build some dwellings which cost no more than 30% of median area income to cover mortgage and utilities.  (Examine the option of rental units and other ways to have affordable housing such as federal housing money, grants, and other means.)
  • Build 1- and 2-story dwellings (single family, duplexes, etc.) situated along pedestrian lanes and squares.
  • Build for minimum energy consumption.
  • Build relatively small dwellings that can be (if possible) easily modified and added to as needed.
  • Emphasize ecological design, renewable resources, and low toxicity materials. (Choose sustainably harvested and local building resources when financially feasible.)
  • Choose a location close enough to the center of Harrisonburg to make its resources easily accessible.
  • Build several dwellings that are handicap accessible and suit aging-in-place.
  • Explore the possibility of building renovation.
  • Design for beauty.

Community Non-Negotiables:

  • Have green space for children and adult activities and play.
  • Have private and neighborhood space for vegetable and flower growing.
  • Allow enjoyment of pet companionship and require responsible animal ownership as outlined in a pet policy.
  • Prohibit smoking unless a smoking policy provides specific, limited exceptions.
  • Have a firearm policy that requires firearms to be safely locked up and a firearm registry to be kept.

Adopted: November 2013