Cohousing Development: Perennial Potlucks or a Land Development Project?

Mike Ortosky, a founder of Earthwise Company, will be our Keynote Speaker at the National Cohousing Conference May 28-31 in Durham, NC. Mike and his associates are committed to initiatives that are based in the principles of environmental and economic sustainability and social equity. Mike shared these ideas with us recently:
There are two possible approaches to building a cohousing community: focus on land development process first, and community development second. Or, focus on community development first, and land development processes second. Historically, many cohousing communities did the latter...

A Toast For Fair Oaks EcoHousing!

Fair Oaks EcoHousing Support Pins
Fair Oaks EcoHousing Members with Katie of CoHousing Solutions & Richard Rozumowicz, President and Principal of Area West Engineers, Inc

On the night of April 13th, I had the pleasure of witnessing the joyful celebration after Fair Oaks EcoHousing received a unanimous (4-0) vote from the Sacramento County Planning Commission to approve all their project requests for development! This decision came on the heels of a number of successes for this 11-household strong cohousing group.

Senior Cohousing: Existing and In-Process Communities List

This is an evolving list of existing and in-process Senior Cohousing Communities; many prefer being identified as "adult-focused" or "communities for pro-active adults." Please share updates with Coho/US via
This list permanently resides at
Many thanks to Ann Zabaldo for initiating this list. Ann is with Takoma Village Cohousing in Washington, DC; and Principal of Cohousing Collaborative, LLC in Falls Church, VA, 703.688.2646

Benefits of the Conference, Even to a Veteran Cohouser!

I attended the Cohousing Conference in Seattle, WA in 2009 and had an amazing time. I'd been living in Cohousing for 6 years and thought I had a pretty good handle on the challenges and solutions for all the typical issues that come up in community. I was curious to see what other communities were doing, but fully expected the experience to reinforce my perception that I already know how it works.

You Take Care of Mom, but Who Will Take Care of You?

Grace Kim has written a great article that profiles how cohousing offers a good alternative to assisted living, or to continuing care facilities.
This was published in Blueprints for Senior Living – an online journal for the Design For Aging committee of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Grace will be presenting "Cohousing: A Sustainable Model for Living Independently" on Friday, May 15 at the AIA Convention in Atlanta.

Access to Financing & Affordable Models of Cohousing

In our quest to expand cohousing, Coho/US has long recognized two major challenges: (1) accessing financing and (2) creating more affordable models. This month, Coho/US made headway in addressing both, establishing a formal collaboration with Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing. Pooling our reach, credibility and knowledge will bolster our mutual efforts to develop and promote strategies to broaden access and affordability.
The impetus for collaboration is the development of a loan program, to increase access to financing for construction and expansion of cohousing communities. A loan program also provides the opportunity for individuals, foundations and public funding sources to invest in cohousing and promote our housing model. We have been in conversations since last fall with the National Cooperative Bank, a potential financial partner in this endeavor, and we may consider collaborating with foundations whose goals of sustainable communities mirror ours.

Facilitation Trainings on Tap

[Editor's note - come to Laird Schaub's Facilitation & Leadership intensive at the National Cohousing Conference]

A year ago I had breakfast with a friend in Michigan who had participated in my two-year facilitation training back in 2005-07, and she shared a story about how my program helped her professionally. She applied for a job in a large city that would require her to bring together various stakeholders who were not used to talking with each to make common cause. That meant setting up and running effective meetings, building trust to where people shared openly, and then assisting them to come to a united understanding despite substantive cultural and political differences. After wending her way through the application and interview process she became a finalist for the position.

Amazing Intensives at the National Cohousing Conference

In addition to a full range of sessions at the National Cohousing Conference, we are offering 1/2 day and full day "intensives" on specialized topics presented by cohousing experts. You can sign up for these separately, or in addition to registration.
Visit or download the program at
Consider these awesome offerings from our Cohousing Rockstars:

Creating More Affordability in Your Community: A Selection of Ideas

You’re probably tired of hearing about smaller units, standardization, simple unit plans, modest finishes, all with the goal of achieving more affordability. Well it’s true, these all help, but there are other affordability strategies that are based on interpersonal relationships, community, and trust, that can be just as effective, if not more so. The strategies outlined in the series to follow have been collected over the past 25 years of doing cohousing projects across the US and Canada. Many of the strategies outlined below are what I call “internal banking.” These internal banking relationships are magical when they happen, and it would seem they can only happen when there is a strong sense of community, and trust.


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