Group Formation and Growth

Experience indicates that in order to foster a sustainable community spirit, a core group of future residents needs to be involved from the beginning of the process. This core group provides continuous feedback and input on what the collective is willing to commit to during the development of the cohousing community, and for the ongoing operational needs of the community once built.

Ottawa Cohousing will help you to find and form your core group. 

In considering which households may make for a good match, we look at the following key criteria:

  • Personal budgets, financial limitations and capacities

  • Type of community desired

  • Key tolerances and intolerances

  • Preferred types of amenities to be shared

  • Common values and interests

  • Healthy diversification


There are other considerations, (matchmaking is a nuanced art), but as much as Ottawa Cohousing can anticipate and preselect optimal matches, it will be up to each individual to affirm and commit (or not) to an Affinity Group, should they so choose.  Beyond the Seed Meetings, our Speaker & Social series provides additional opportunities to get to know others on the Intake Roster.

“Social Connectedness is not the cherry on the cake, it is the cake itself” 

- Pattti Rios, architect and urban studies for "Happy Cities"


We guide each Affinity Group through the process of design and policy-making during which members discuss and decide how they are going to live together; e.g. pets or no, who takes care of whom, format of common meals, shared resources, and so on, respecting privacy and personal space. During this period, Affinity Groups will determine their legal structure and financing. 

The membership of the Affinity Group may change.  In fact, chances are someone may need to bail before construction is complete, or the opportunity arises at the last minute to add a new household or two that are a perfect fit.  Buy Ins and Buy Outs are a common occurrence when forming a built community over a span of several years. 


Ottawa Cohousing guides the consideration of all foreseeable situations.  Each Affinity Group will collectively determine what rules and protocols they will follow consistently to deal with change.

TIMING: Working through the 11 group meetings may take approximately 6 to 9 months total, depending on the groups availability and speed at which they can collectively learn and prepare.  At the end of this period the community will have a community manifesto to guide them and the fundamental skills needed to move successfully forwards together as a collective.

We guide our Affinity Groups through the development process that is required for any new housing.  We will be your liaison with the Project/Construction Manager and the required experts involved.  We assist our clients to find suitable financial and legal help.  Rosaline J Hill Architect Inc will provide the design and work with each group to make sure it is right.

Established Cohousing Groups

Do you have your own Cohousing Group already assembled?

Super! Ottawa Cohousing can help you develop your cohousing community and advise you on any considerations you may have missed.  If you are looking for more members we may have suitable households within our Intake Roster.