The story of Archive Cohousing: Q2 '19 - Q2 '21

Cohousing communities are typically composed of 4-30 small houses, 20-50 adults and their families, and one large common house, though many arrangements exist. Such a compound will help members foster deep friendships and alliances, make day-to-day life easier, and attract interesting people from around the world. It will also provide the scale for a variety of interesting projects and services, potentially including a sabbatical program, an artist- or scientist-in-residence program, a venture fund, onsite chef(s), a workshop, event and recreational spaces, and many others.


Q3 '16: Archive is founded with two of the four floors of our current building.

Q2 '18: Members begin researching harmonious coliving in one house by interviewing members of half a dozen other community houses and adopting their best practices.

Q3 '18: added the third floor, grew from 10 to 15.

Q1 '19: added the fourth floor, grew from 15 to 21.

Q2 '19: submitted an offer to buy the 5BR house next door (failed). Our letter to the owners describes our goals.

Q4 '19 Flock: an experiment in joining separate homes into one communal neighborhood. Developer log, source code. This project's success has validated further research into a distributed neighborhood design.

Q4 '19: surveyed our community to quantify interest in cohousing: 93% are a strong yes, 7% are a yes.

Q1 '20: hired Roger Studley as cohousing consultant, engaged on a weekly basis for 6 months to answer our many questions about financing, ownership, land acquisition, planning approvals, and other crucial details. By the end of our engagement we're ready to purchase land.

Q3 '20: the pandemic puts the cohousing project temporarily on hold.

Q1 '21: we're in our early 30s and feeling too old to live in an aging building in the Mission - start looking to upgrade our coliving space in SF.

Q2 '21: Archive decides instead to dissolve.

Project planning roadmap

Identify the Urban Village Working Group. Decide on the cadence of meetings, how to disseminate and collect information, and membership criteria.
Identify site criteria. Organized field trips will help.
Outline a capital formation strategy.
Identify the site and secure a purchase option. This takes the site off the market so we have time to work with an architect and secure planning approvals.
Work with an architect to secure planning approvals.
Win community support and close escrow on the site.
Finalize construction contract with a construction developer.
Move in!