Pathway for Prospective Members


If you think you’d like to live at Mountain View Cohousing Community, start getting to know us now!

Before you make a decision, we encourage you to develop a thorough understanding of what life would be like here. Contact us at
We welcome new residents who are well informed about MVCC and are eager to become active participants in the community.

We want you to understand what cohousing is about and what life here is like, so that you can be sure MVCC is a good match for you. Use the information to the right as a guide to help you explore whether you’d like to join us. Learn about cohousing  so you can understand the elements that are common to most cohousing communities and the benefits of this way of life. Explore the resources at the Cohousing Association of the United States (

Take a tour of the Mountain View Cohousing Community so you can see how the community is laid out, note the features of our common house and grounds, and get answers to your initial questions about what it’s like to live here. Information is periodically sent to people who have expressed interest in our community and have signed up for email alerts. Contact us to arrange for a visit.

Become familiar with:

  • How we govern ourselves, our system of governance and decision-making.
    We strive for consensus, listening to and discussing each other’s concerns until we find creative solutions to the challenges we face.
  • How the work gets done: our teams and tasks.
  • Read our governing documents so you are familiar with the bylaws, policies, and guidelines we’ve established for our community.
  • Attend social events, such as meals and TGIF, so you can meet your potential neighbors and talk to residents about their experiences living here.
  • Participate in our work activities, if you can, so you can see the various maintenance, cleaning, and gardening tasks we perform throughout the year and experience the satisfaction that comes from working together with friends.

Food for Thought:

Here are some topics to contemplate as you consider joining our community. Think about the questions below as you consider what it would be like to live here day-to-day. When possible, discuss the topics with current residents of MVCC to broaden and deepen your exploration.

  • What benefits do you hope to realize by living here?
  • What are your strengths? In what ways can you imagine contributing to meetings, meals, social events, and the work of the community?
  • What worries or concerns do you have about living here?
  • What are your thoughts about the consensus process and our practice of decision-making? Are you able to listen respectfully, state concerns constructively, and collaborate to find solutions?
  • Do you have concerns about our bylaws, policies, and guidelines, especially those related to participation, pets, and rentals?
  • How would you expect to navigate some of the common tensions of living in community (for example, maintaining positive interpersonal relationships and resolving conflicts, balancing other life demands with the responsibilities of participation)?

About Cohousing

Cohousing is a type of intentional community that harkens back to the days when people lived in “old fashioned neighborhoods.”  There’s an enthusiastic short introduction to cohousing in the 2017 TED talk by Grace Kim, How cohousing can make us happier (and live longer).

Cohousing residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhood. Neighbors know each other, celebrate together, share in activities of their choosing, watch out for each other and generally enjoy a lot of social interaction.  Typically, cohousing communities are environmentally aware and are committed to sustainability in their design and operation. The physical design encourages social interaction while also providing private, individual spaces. Common indoor and outdoor spaces become extensions of private homes.  

Six defining characteristics of cohousing are:

  • Participatory governance.
  • Shared common facilities.
  • Design to encourage neighborly interaction.
  • Management by the residents (their own homeowners’ association), not by an outside entity.
  • Non-hierarchical structure & decision making.
  • No shared community economy: income is not pooled.

Links: The Cohousing Association of the United States (CAUS) maintains a directory of cohousing communities, and provides information and services to those involved in cohousing at  The Fellowship for Intentional Community (>) also maintains a directory that includes many cohousing communities and others that operate similarly to cohousing.  Those seeking to sell their cohousing homes often can find buyers from lists of interested parties kept by their own cohousing communities, or through CAUS or FIC.  In addition, they can sell them through conventional local real estate channels.

Settings: Cohousing communities may be urban, small-town, or rural.  They may be built from the ground up, as Mountain View Cohousing Community was, or may be created by retrofitting existing buildings (e.g., apartment buildings, a cluster of single-family houses, or old warehouses) to create a cluster of individual  homes. There are typically 15-35 homes in a cohousing community.

Origins: Cohousing originated in Denmark over 30 years ago and has grown quickly. Worldwide, there are hundreds of cohousing communities, as the concept expanded into the U.S, Canada, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and elsewhere.  In the United States, over 160 established cohousing communities (plus 135 forming groups) now span 35 states.

The cohousing concept was brought to the United States in the 1980’s by husband-wife team Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett, who now head a full-service architectural firm, The Cohousing Company (  Chuck Durrett, a prize-winning architect, has designed at least 50 cohousing projects across the country and has authored or co-authored a number of books on the subject.  Katie McCamant specializes in guiding aspiring cohousing groups through the funding and development process. They themselves live in cohousing.

About Mountain View Cohousing Community (MVCC)

MVCC was designed to promote a sense of neighborliness, at the same time recognizing and respecting the need for privacy and individuality.  It has 19 upscale, energy-efficient, privately-owned condominium homes plus 6,000+ s.f. of shared space, including a common house with facilities for entertainment, exercise, group dining and crafts. There is underground parking and a workshop, guest quarters, open space, over 20 fruit trees, food and flower gardens and a historic 1885 farmhouse. All buildings are energy efficient with universal design (i.e. meet ADA accessibility requirements). The entire community is smoke-free, inside and out.  All homes have full kitchens, living rooms, laundry connections, and private exterior balconies or patios.

MVCC is located within walking distance of Castro Street, the major downtown thoroughfare of Mountain View, with its many restaurants and other amenities. In addition, the CalTrain station, Light Rail station, and bus service, and El Camino Real are all close by. The award-winning Farmers Market is held every Sunday morning year-round. Our 1.1-acre property is also close to Landels elementary school and park, and to the Stevens Creek Trail (walking and biking) that runs northward to San Francisco Bay.  

What does it mean to be part of our communuty?

Vision Statement.   We have come together to create a caring, egalitarian, environmentally sustainable, health-promoting, and fun-filled community built on trust and mutual respect where we can enjoy the benefits of aging in community.  We are committed to nurturing our growth as individuals, as a community, and as participants in our neighborhood and beyond. While acknowledging that each of us holds dear our personal views and beliefs, we are united and guided by our shared core values and goals.

CORE VALUES we aspire to

  • Participate in and support community.
    • Share in meals, creativity, play, fun, and laughter.

    • Share the responsibility for the governance and maintenance of the community
    • Accept responsibility and follow through on commitments
    • Help to create and aesthetically pleasing, inviting, and safe place to live.
  • Practice good communication skills:
    • Listen to understand, speak with candor and honesty, maintain open minds, consider the interests and feelings of others.
    • Practice thoughtfulness, patience, and willingness to compromise.

    • Maintain openness and transparency in community decision-making.
    • Consider the needs of the community, and accept decisions that we may not have foreseen or advocated.
    • Make decisions by consensus, giving each household an equal voice and drawing on everyone’s knowledge and strengths.
  • Balance community and privacy.
    • Respect each other’s personal choices and needs for activity, rest, and quiet.
Promote health, growth, and individual worth
    • Optimize our ability to age well in community through a culture of supportive relationships.

    • Be responsible for our own health care and personal care needs.
    • Recognize and honor the unique ways in which members think and contribute.
    • Maintain positive relationships with each other in spite of differences of opinion; trust that others’ intentions are good.
    • Value our differences in age, background, religion, politics, sexual orientation, skills, interests, physical ability, economic circumstance, ethnicity, etc.

    • Encourage celebrations of diverse traditions and explorations of the spirit.

    • Open ourselves to the process of personal growth.
    • Cultivate life-long learning and mindfulness.
    • Live in the present and respond with curiosity to our life experiences.


MVCC is a self-governed community. Unlike other communities, decisions are made by us, not for us or to us. The work, as well as the fun, is our responsibility. Every member of our community is expected to participate in the ongoing work of our community, at a level realistic and reasonable for their interests and abilities.  

Calderon Homeowners’ Association (HOA)

Community Business Meetings.  Management of our community is through our Calderon Homeowners Association (the HOA).  Every household (i.e., every owner) is a member of the Board of Directors of the HOA (the BOD). Community business meetings are held at 7PM on the second Thursday of each month. All members are strongly encouraged to participate in these monthly meetings. Working together in community business meetings sets the course of our community, builds a stronger community, and enables more inclusive decisions.

Consensus. Our group makes significant decisions by consensus, which is different from “majority rule.”  We do not vote; we discuss a topic until issues are understood by all, all concerns have been expressed and resolved. Although this method of decision making may not be the most efficient, it is the most inclusive. Consensus has been successfully used by MVCC for every decision since its inception.  

How the work Gets Done

Teams. Much of the work of our community is done by Teams.  Every adult member of the community is expected to serve on at least one of our Teams.  The current working teams are

  • Come Together (social activities)
  • Best Practices (how we live together)
  • Interiors (oversight of interior common spaces and meals)
  • Information Technology
  • Legal & Finance
  • Landscaping
  • Marketing & Membership
  • Safety & Maintenance

There is also a Coordination Team (made up of representatives of each of the eight working teams) and an Architectural Review Committee (as required by the CC&Rs) for regulating alterations to homes.

Social Activities

Common meals.Common meals are the heart of every cohousing community. By regularly breaking, and baking, bread together, we build bonds with each other through conversation and the sharing of our work and our lives. It’s work and play and feeding each other. It’s why we’re doing cohousing.

We have dinners twice a week - meat meals are Mondays at 7; fish or vegetarian on Thursdays at 6 (or 5:30 before a Community Business Meeting). While attendance is optional, every individual is expected to participate in community meals, both as a diner and as part of a meal team.

Other social activities. Every Friday late afternoon we have an informal impromptu gathering, dubbed TGIF. We bring snacks to share and enjoy each other’s company. In warmer spring, summer and fall Sunday evenings, we gather around the fire pit.

We also have many activities throughout the year, such as holiday decorations, after-Thanksgiving leftover potlucks, Halloween events, New Years party, etc. Members are encouraged to take initiative in planning social activities.

How to Learn More About Our Community

Thinking about purchasing a home here at MVCC?  We can help!

First steps:  

Want to learn more?
  • Request a small group meeting of members for an informal chat.
  • Ask for our handouts on resources (how to find out more about cohousing, consensus, etc.); sustainability; cohousing and MVCC history; our business practices and how we communicate; a short list of questions you might want to consider; our vision and values statements, and more.  

For a serious deep-dive, ask for a mentor:
A mentor is a member who can answer your questions one-on-one, set up small group meetings so you can meet more members in a more intimate setting than a common meal,  and extend invitations to any of the following you’d like to attend.

  • A common meal (meals are at the heart of our community, and we’d be pleased to welcome you as our guest).
  • A business meeting.
  • Our weekly TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday) event.
  • A team meeting, should one you’d like to attend be scheduled in the near future.
  • A garden work day, should any be scheduled in the near future.
  • Our community-wide work day (held twice a year).
We really recommend attending a common meal and a business meeting, if possible.

Things to think about and perhaps discuss with members:

  • If you have ever lived in a group living experience, what did you like about the experience? What did you dislike?
  • What qualities do you look for in people you would like as your neighbors?
  • How do you expect cohousing will change your daily life?
  • What are your main misgivings about joining a cohousing project?  
  • How would you describe your communication style, both interpersonal and in a large group setting?  Have you had any training or do you use a particular practice to help you communicate more effectively?
  • When living closely with people, conflict inevitably arises.  What have been the most effective ways you have dealt with such conflicts and difficult situations?
  • Do you have any concerns about your ability to fully participate in a cohousing community?
  • How would you see yourself contributing to this community?
  • What did you notice about the business meeting (if you came to one)?