Sessions: 2017 National Cohousing Conference

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10 Years Later: Lessons Learned from a Senior Cohousing Community (Jim Leach, Annie Russell and Alan O'Hashi)

Presented by Jim Leach, Annie Russell and Alan O'Hashi

Session Description

What if 25 seniors from around the country met as total strangers and decided they wanted to live and age together in an intentional neighborhood? That's what happened 10 years ago when Silver Sage Village (Boulder, CO) became one of first senior cohousing communities in the country. Of the original residents, three have passed away, one has moved into a long-term Alzheimer's care facility and 50% of the homes have resold. Silver Sage Village resident and developer Jim Leach and former resident Annie Russell will be on hand to recount the "good, the bad, and the ugly" of Silver Sage Village experiences over the past 10 years. Panel moderated by Alan O'Hashi.

About the Presenters

Annie Russell has been helping cohousing communities in community development, marketing and sales for over a decade. Working for Wonderland Hill Development Community she developed a comprehensive community building process and a Find Your New Neighbors workshop to help communities learn about sales and marketing. She has also collaborated with Katie McCamant and Bryan Bowen. Annie was a founder and resident of both Wild Sage and Silver Sage in Boulder, CO.

Jim Leach is the president of Wonderland Hill Development Company and has lead the company in developing over 20 cohousing communities in Colorado, California, Arizona, and Washington. He is a builder with over 50 years experience in the design, construction and development of sustainable, planned neighborhoods. Jim and his wife Brownie live in Silver Sage Cohousing in Boulder, CO where they have been creatively participating in and learning about the senior cohousing living experience for the past ten years.

Alan O'Hashi, MPA, resides in Silver Sage Village cohousing in Boulder, CO. He's a seasoned cultural competency/conflict resolution trainer most recently at the "Dealing with Diverse Personalities" retreat in Arizona. He's developing the Lincoln Court Mixed Use Intentional Community in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

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A Natural Fit: Millennials in Community (Jas Darland and Jenny Godwin)

Presented by Jas Darland and Jenny Godwin

Session Description

Millennials, born in the late 1970’s to the early 2000’s, represent a growing demographic – and are motivated by values that resonate well with cohousing principles. Millennials like to create, grow and Do-It-Themselves, valuing experiences over stuff. Taking pride in being green and practicing conscious consumerism, they’re flexible in their workstyles and familiar with sharing rides, appliances and homes.

Millennials have grown up in a tech-enhanced world, finding news on Twitter, connecting with friends on Instagram and sharing political passions on Facebook. But that doesn’t mean this generation value face-to-face community building any less; in fact, it could be argued they crave it even more.

Are you seeking younger folks, or those with families, to join your community? How does cohousing resonate with millennials, strapped with student loan debt but ever-optimistic about the future? We’d love for you to join us as we explore the values that drive this generation, and challenges that may arise, all through a cohousing lens.

About the Presenters

Jas Darland is a current student of the 500 Communities Program, working to advance cohousing options in the Atlanta area. She is also the founder and director of The Garden School of Marietta, a progressive community of parents and educators who believe in preserving childhood, and providing space for students' highest selves to unfold. Jas is also a member of the Coalition to End Corporal Punishment in GA Public Schools, and the Atlanta-area EcoVillage Initiative. She enjoys gardening, fermentation, painting, and making music, and she holds an MA from Johns Hopkins that gathers dust inside while she goes out to play with her husband and two daughters.

Jenny Godwin is media leader for CoHousing Solutions in Nevada City. She also provides her outreach and writing skills to communities in formation, aiding with their recruitment, publicity and branding. She serves as part-time Outreach Associate for Coho/US, assisting with marketing, social media, blogging, Conference planning, and more. Her passions lie in sustainable communities, renewable energy, and working to meet challenges posed by climate change. She considers herself a cohouser-in-training.

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Aging In Cohousing: Does your Community Have a Plan? (Janice Blanchard and Raines Cohen)

Presented by Janice Blanchard and Raines Cohen

Facilitated Discussion Description

Community is something we do together, it is not just a container for Aging. This facilitated discussion will help communities establish an “Aging-In-Place” committee and handbook full of wisdom, advice and tools to inspire vibrant living and successful aging—together. We will talk about healthy aging opportunities and what happens when elders require more assistance. Every community plan must be grounded in the wishes and consent of the person(s) who will be receiving care, as well as those who are giving it.

The important thing is to start—and continue—the conversation in a way that works for your community. You will receive straightforward information and checklists to help guide these conversations; including how to get started, questions to ask, and where to find basic resources.

Presenters

Janice Blanchard, MSPH, is a gerontologist who is passionate about promoting a new paradigm of aging that values elders for their wisdom, experience and as vital members of their community. Distinguished for her seminal work in developing the concept and practice of Aging in Community, Blanchard is a contributing author and editor of the book, Aging in Community (2013) and a nationally sought after speaker, author and consultant on this and other aging issues. Her career in aging has spanned across the country and globe, for such diverse organizations as the University of Western Sydney, the Older Women’s Network, the National Governor’s Association Policy Academy and the National Center for Creative Aging.

Raines Cohen is a multi-tasking community organizers who has supported many cohousing neighborhoods at all stages of development. He has lived in two, advised several, and visited over 100 communities. He runs the world's largest cohousing MeetUp, East Bay Cohousing, with over 4000 members, and has over 5000 community seekers in his Cohousing California regional network. Raines has served on the Coho/US board, continues to serve as a Coho/US volunteer in responding to public inquiries, and helps with Coho/US social media.

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Attracting Diverse People to Cohousing (Crystal Farmer)

Facilitated by Crystal Farmer

Facilitated Discussion Description

In order for the cohousing movement to continue growing, established and forming communities must reach out to people of diverse backgrounds. In fact, diversity can enrich and sustain your community's life long after residents have moved in. In this discussion, we will explore markers of diversity and how to reach out to communities that have traditionally faced housing discrimination.

About the Presenter

Crystal Farmer is an organizer of Charlotte Cohousing Community, which is dedicated to creating multiple cohousing communities in the Charlotte, NC area. She is excited about creating communities that are welcoming and inclusive. She also owns Big Sister Team Building, which does mobile escape rooms and team building exercises for kids and adults.

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Challenges and Opportunities of Turnover (Pat Darlington and Kay Stewart)

Presented by Pat Darlington and Kay Stewart

Facilitated Discussion Description

Turnover in a cohousing community is inevitable--for many reasons, death, illness, not-so-great-fit, and just plain "movin'on." There are many implications of this reality and we will discuss some of the issues, dilemmas and solutions we have faced at Oakcreek Community. These include

*Seller Agreements
*Rental Agreements
*How are heirs informed of agreements for selling or renting homes
*Marketing the Community ("Why do we have to spend budget money marketing if all our homes are sold?")
*How do we orient new members
*How do we process the loss of members
*and more

About the Presenters

Pat Darlington and Kay Stewart - Pat and Kay were involved in the development of Oakcreek Community in Stillwater, Oklahoma from (before) the beginning of the project. Working closely with about 10 others (plus professionals), we bought property, designed, marketed, built and sold the first and only cohousing community in Oklahoma. Having lived in cohousing for 4+ years, we've made it through the honeymoon period and have begun, as a community, to work through the things we didn't think about when every fiber was bent on "getting this done."

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Choosing your Development Strategy (Katie McCamant)

Presented by Katie McCamant

Session Description

How do we actually get our project built? How have other groups done this? Should we self-development? Do we need a developer? What do developers do? How do we find one? What other professionals do we need? Katie McCamant, who has worked as an architect, project manager, development consultant, and developer with cohousing groups for the last 30 years will present how cohousing groups have gotten their projects built, outlining the pluses and minuses of different development scenarios, using real case studies of past and current projects to help participants evaluate the best way for their community to move forward.

About the Presenter

Katie McCamant of CoHousing Solutions is a licensed architect and coauthor of the authoritative book on cohousing, Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, which introduced this housing model to North America. Katie co-founded McCamant & Durrett Architects and The CoHousing Company with her husband, Charles Durrett, in 1987. Since then, Katie has designed and developed dozens of cohousing communities in the United States and Canada. Her new company, CoHousing Solutions, provides development and marketing consulting services to cohousing groups all over the country. Her expertise includes setting up project budgets, structuring financing, facilitating planning approvals, finding construction financing, contractor selection, construction management, marketing and membership processes, and community policy creation. She also works with groups to find appropriate development partners, and then assists in structuring those partnerships. Katie was a founding board member of The Cohousing Association, been recognized as a Dwell Leader by Dwell magazine, and in 2008 was named Developer of the Year by The Cohousing Association. Her projects have won numerous awards. Katie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at UC Berkeley and completed her graduate work at the Royal Academy of Art and Architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark. After living in Doyle Street Cohousing in Emeryville, California, for 12 years, she now lives at Nevada City Cohousing.

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Cohousers in Politics (Eris Weaver)

Facilitated by Eris Weaver

Facilitated Discussion Description

How does local politics affect cohousing? How do cohousers affect politics? Presenter/instigator Eris Weaver has been pondering these questions since her appointment to the Cotati (CA) Design Review Board and subsequent run for City Council. During the development process she often viewed these entities as opponents or roadblocks…sitting on the other side of the dais has produced quite a different point of view! She now uses her insider knowledge to advise others on how best to work with the city. She’ll be joined by a panel of cohousers who hold/have held public office or run political campaigns. After each briefly shares their experiences and what they’ve learned from them, we’ll open it up for general conversation. Bring your questions and concerns!

About the Presenter

Eris Weaver is a founding member of FrogSong (Cotati, CA). As a facilitator, mediator and trainer, she’s worked for Cohousing Partners and consulted with two dozen cohousing communities in different stages of development. She’s served on the Board of the Cotati Chamber of Commerce and is Vice Chair of Cotati’s Design Review Committee. While her 2016 run for City Council was unsuccessful, she is proud to have been endorsed by both the North Bay Labor Council and North Coast Builders Exchange – two organizations who typically hold opposing views!
Email eris [at] erisweaver [dot] info

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Cohousing 101 (Grace Kim and Laura Fitch)

Presented by Grace Kim and Laura Fitch

Session Description

An ideal primer for newcomers to cohousing and first time conference attendees. You will learn about the common characteristics of cohousing and what makes it different from other types of intentional community, condominium, village, or suburb that came before it. You will get a glimpse of the diverse array of existing cohousing communities across the U.S. and learn what this neighborhood type offers to residents. You will get a crash course in the cohousing jargon and receive tips on how to make the most of your conference. Come hear from founders of cohousing communities, Grace Kim and Laura Fitch, who are also internationally recognized cohousing experts.

About the Presenters

Grace Kim is an architect and founding principal of Schemata Workshop – an 18-person practice in Seattle, WA with a passion for cohousing, affordable housing, transit oriented development, urban agriculture, place-making, and sustainable design. Grace is an internationally recognized expert in cohousing with a focus on urban communities and Common House Design. In April, Grace was in Vancouver, delivering a TED talk on cohousing as an antidote to isolation. She has written a Design Guide for the Cohousing Common House and has visited over 80 cohousing communities. Grace serves as the Chair of the Seattle Planning Commission and is also a co-founder of Capital Hill Urban Cohousing in Seattle, where she lives with her family.

Laura Fitch is a cohousing architect who has been working with communities across North America since 1990. In collaboration with Mary Kraus, she pioneered a distinctive participatory process for cohousing design. Laura has worked on programming, schematic design, and/or full services for over 2-dozen cohousing communities across the US and Canada. Energy efficiency, sustainable living, and good decision making process infuse all of her work with cohousing groups. In 2006, Fitch was given the Boston Architectural College’s “Distinguished Alumni Award”, stating “because of you, Laura, many people have found more neighborly and sustainable ways to live. Through your work, our world is a better place." Laura is a founder and 23-year resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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Community Meals Best Practices (Catya Belfer)

Presented by Catya Belver

Facilitated Discussion Description

Your common meals aren’t frequent enough, or not nearly enough folks attend those meals. Or the meals are too much work, or the record keeping is frustrating. It's hard to get new cooks! All those food sensitivities! How on earth do you know how much time it will take to bake a giant lasagne? How do I decide what equipment to invest in? Or there’s something else about your common meals that just doesn’t work as well you'd hoped it would. Bring those challenges to the clinic and we will aim to come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan. Although this discussion will focus on common meals systems in completed communities, those in developing groups will benefit too as they can learn how to avoid common pitfalls in designing a common meals system.

Bring a few copies of your community's favorite recipes to share, or email them to Cat beforehand! (catya [at] cohousing [dot] org)

About the Presenter

Catya Belfer is part of Mosaic Commons, about an hour west of Boston in Berlin, Massachusetts. Mosaic Commons has ~three meals a week usually with 20-40 people eating from our 34 households. Scheduling and assignments are planned out in two month blocks.

Cat works as a project manager and also builds websites for cohousing groups and others, including www.cohousing.org, the Cohousing Association of the US website. She is passionate about building connections between people and has been involved in intentional communities since 1994. On the non-technical side, she is fascinated by how we build community through ritual, tradition, song, and food! For more information, see http://www.catya.org.

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Community as an Economic Engine (Laird Schaub & Terry O'Keefe)

Presented by Laird Schaub & Terry O'Keefe

Session Description

In most communities the group confines its economic attention to making sure that members pay their HOA dues and there’s enough money in the budget. It could play a more dynamic role. In this workshop we’ll explore how communities could actively partner with residents to help them make money and improve the quality of their lives at the same time. While this is not an obligation, it is an opportunity. Community assets are often idle (think how frequently the lights are out at the common house), communities have certain market advantages that are not being developed (such as a pool of people with high communication skills eager for part-time work with flexible hours), and the community could encourage entrepreneurs among the membership to create jobs for the non-entrepreneurs. Economics is the poor stepchild of sustainability. Let’s change that!

About the Presenters

Laird Schaub lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing community he helped found in 1974. In addition, he served as the main administrator of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, a network organization he helped create, for the period 1987-2015. In addition to being an author and public speaker about various aspects of community, he's become an expert on cooperative group dynamics and has parlayed his passion for effective process into a consulting business. Over the last 30 years he's worked with more than 100 different groups—including 61 cohousing groups—many of them multiple times. His specialty is up-tempo meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict, and at the same time being ruthless about about capturing as much product as possible. In 2003, he pioneered a two-year training in Integrative Facilitation that he's delivered 11 times across the continent.

Terry O'Keefe is a North Carolina-based business writer and consultant. He is also the cofounder (with Laird Schaub) of C–Biz, a project that seeks to build stronger economies for intentional communities and cohousing groups. Terry brings almost 50 years of business experience to this project, including almost three decades of experience in high-tech marketing; several successful entrepreneurial ventures; and leadership of one of the West Coast's first green business networking organizations. He is also a popular business writer and speaker, and was a business columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times. Terry is also a former communitarian and a past member of the board of the Fellowship for Intentional Community.

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Conflict Resolution: Practice. Practice Practice (Alan O'Hashi)

Presented by Alan O'Hashi

Session Description

Do you have conflicts that arise in your community? Are you, sometimes, at the center of conflict like a lightning rod? Do you try to avoid conflict at all costs? You're not alone. In this workshop, One thing that we all have is a personality. At any given moment we each can be pleasant, a bit grouchy or indifferent, depending on the situation.
We all have different family backgrounds, come from different socio-economic cultures and everyone has different life experiences. In this workshop, I'll help you unpack your past histories and experiences to better know yourself and what has influenced you through your life and in so doing, learning some skills and techniques to better understand and know your family, friends and neighbors.
I'll also provide a way for you and your community to hold conflict participants accountable using a positive reinforcement / protective factor approach rather than a finger pointing / risk factor approach to conflict resolution.
We'll look at a cohousing case study, break up into groups and practice and evaluate a community conflict scenario.
My teaching style appeals to all learning styles - auditory, visual and hands-on. There will be a mix of film clips, exercises.

About the Presenters

Alan O'Hashi MPA lives in Silver Sage Village, Boulder CO. He resurrected his company, ECOS (Environmental and Cultural Organization Systems). after dusting off his cultural competency and diversity training hat. He has provided similar curricula to various groups including, violence against women prevention advocates, law enforcement, affordable housing administrative staff, child care providers, school educators. Most recently he presented at the "Dealing with Diverse Personalities" retreat sponsored by CoHoUS in Arcosanti, AZ.

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Creating Traditions, Celebration and Ceremony (Catya Belfer)

Presented by Catya Belver

Session Description

This pre-conference session on Thursday evening at 7:30 - 9:00 pm is free and does not require registration. Please join us!

This is a participatory workshop in creating traditions, celebrations, and ceremonies for your community.

How do we create traditions? How do we mark the major life events of our members; births, coming-of-age, marriages, deaths? How do we celebrate groundbreaking or community anniversaries? How about birthdays, new jobs, or people moving in or moving out? Because we come together in community from different cultural and religious traditions, we must choose our own traditions. As a group, we decide what to celebrate and what to do. Some traditions can be small rituals – lighting a candle at the beginning of a business meeting, for example, or taking a moment in silence at the beginning of a community meal. Some can be much larger!

This session will give you the tools to create something meaningful within your own group when you return. You'll practice in small groups with words, objects, song, candles, and more. Bring your creativity with you!

We'll also talk about how we can respectfully and inclusively celebrate our own traditions with the community.

About the Presenter

Catya Belfer is part of Mosaic Commons, about an hour west of Boston in Berlin, Massachusetts. Catya works as a project manager and also builds websites for cohousing groups and others, including www.cohousing.org, the Cohousing Association of the US website. She is passionate about building connections between people and has been involved in intentional communities since 1994. On the non-technical side, she is fascinated by how we build community through ritual, tradition, and song. For more information, see http://www.catya.org.

Additional Information

This pre-conference session is offered on Thursday, May 19, from 7:30 - 9:00 pm and does not require registration. Please join us!

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Creating your Community - Marketing and Membership Development (Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris

Presented by Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris

Session Description

This session builds on our work over the past dozen years as members, consultants, and interviewers of successful, aspiring, and unsuccessful cohousing groups and seekers of same. We will combine interactive demonstrations, group exercises, and open discussion to help participants consider their own community action plans to fill their community with the right people. Partnership-based development practices can cut years off the time from conception to move-in.

The Session will look at different real estate market and development scenarios, the known characteristics of current cohousers, and ways to build relationships face-to-face, through regional networks, and through social media platforms.

We will provide a framework of best practices and examples and tools for:
**Creating a successful core group: Self assessment of skills and gaps - Winkling out unsaid assumptions in your vision and values
**Key partnerships as part of your core team
**The need and value of a business plan (with examples)
**Building a sense of community while maintaining viability / feasibilty
**Growing a more diverse cohousing movement, both racially and economically
**Transparency and accountability tools: Listening to and engaging stakeholdres
**Staying in front of multiple audiences of potential members at low cost with social media and CRM
**Video, VR, and storytelling: getting beyond the press release
**Cooperation through regional and national networks & making the most of Coho/US
**Messaging and marketing materials: exercises with different audiences and media
**Building trust and shared leadership and collective capacity
**When (and how) to play, inform, commit, let go

About the Presenters

Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris are multi-tasking community organizers, a husband-and-wife team who have supported many cohousing neighborhoods at all stages of development. They have lived in two, advised several, and visited over 100 communities. They run the world's largest cohousing MeetUp, East Bay Cohousing, with over 4000 members, and have over 5000 community seekers in their Cohousing California regional network. They have served on Coho/US and FIC national boards and helped with the website and social media.

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Cutting Edge Resiliency in Cohousing (Bryan Bowen, Jenny Godwin & Ma'ikwe Ludwig)

Presented by Bryan Bowen, Jenny Godwin & Ma'ikwe Ludwig

Session Description

So you’ve built this green community, now what? Many cohousing groups place sustainability considerations front-and-center, incorporating green features in their construction and development process. But what happens after the groundbreaking, the grand opening? Based on a recent survey of cohousing communities, we’ll report on what communities are doing right now to combat climate change, and highlight climate leaders in the cohousing world. You’ll gain an understanding of potential practices your own community can incorporate, and perhaps you’ll have a suggestion to add to the mix too!

About the Presenters

Bryan Bowen is a Colorado-based architect and principal at Caddis Architecture who designed Germantown Cohousing in Nashville, and is a leader with Memel.Global, the first cohousing community in Africa. Since 1995, Bryan has been dedicated to the design of neighborhoods and eco-buildings, all with the vision of making baby steps towards a sustainable permaculture planet. Bryan maintains community involvement through layers of volunteerism and sits on the Wild Sage Cohousing HOA board, where he lives with his family. In addition to his niche in cohousing, his work includes single family homes, eco-retrofits, multifamily housing, mixed-use projects, community planning, and commercial work.

Jenny Godwin is media leader for CoHousing Solutions in Nevada City. She also provides her outreach and writing skills to communities in formation, aiding with their recruitment, publicity and branding. She serves as part-time Outreach Associate for Coho/US, assisting with marketing, social media, blogging, Conference planning, and more. Her passions lie in sustainable communities, renewable energy, and working to meet challenges posed by climate change. She considers herself a cohouser-in-training.

Ma’ikwe Ludwigis the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit, and the Sustainable Communities Director for Commonomics USA’s Materialized Empathy project. She has done sustainability education work for over 25 years, and combines that experience with over 2 decades of intentional community living to create wholistic, practical education experiences. Maikwe also teaches group dynamics (including facilitation, cooperative leadership and consensus), and is a climate change activist. In 2007, she published her first book, Passion as Big as a Planet, which looks at the intersection between spiritual development and effective ecological activism. She is currently working on starting a new community in Laramie, Wyoming.

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Designing and Planning for Urban Cohousing (Joren Bass & Grace Kim)

Presented by Joren Bass & Grace Kim

Session Description

As many cities across the US experience an influx economic growth and opportunity, they are also experiencing the effects of densification. Often both positive and negative, population growth and the resulting densification has a very real influence on housing options and affordability.

Living in urban neighborhoods can also offer amenities and services not easily accessible for more rural communities. Urban site constraints and the tradeoff between neighborhood amenities community amenities are all part of the programing and architectural puzzle urban cohousing communities must navigate.

This session will examine how two communities navigated the design and programing decisions to create each of their recently completed projects. Both in cities that are experiencing amazing urban growth, Seattle and Portland. Learn about the changes and opportunities designing urban cohousing from Capital Hill Urban Cohousing founder Grace Kim and PDX Commons project manager Joren Bass.

About the Presenters

Grace Kim is an architect and founding principal of Schemata Workshop. Grace is an internationally recognized expertise in cohousing with a focus on Common House Design. She is a frequent presenter at senior housing and affordable housing conferences. She has written a design guide for cohousing common spaces and has visited over 80 cohousing communities. Grace is founder of Capital Hill Urban Cohousing in Seattle, where she lives with her family.

Joren Bass is a licensed architect and project manager for Urban Development Partners, the development partner for PDX Commons.

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Emotional Resilience (Jerry Koch-Gonzalez)

Presented by Jerry Koch-Gonzalez

Session Description

Have you had the fight about outdoor cats? Resiliency and sustainability are not just about green buildings and taking care of the land. It is also about taking care of ourselves and each other. Living together in community means we make so many decisions that we inevitably disagree and get mad at each other. How we treat each other in disagreements is the difference between a community we love living in and one that has us wondering about moving out. What happens when you are triggered? Do you tend to fight, flee or freeze? In this experiential workshop we will use the approach of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to practice the power of deeply listening to our needs and the needs of others so that we can find our loving voice and stay present and engaged in the chaos of daily life with each other. We will also briefly review a variety of practices that can strengthen the emotional capacity of a community such as heart circles and restorative circles. How we are collectively with the little things and big things of life creates the culture of our communities. Let’s build communities we want to live in!

About the Presenter

A certified trainer of Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance and Nonviolent Communication, Jerry specializes in governance, decision-making, communication skills, and conflict resolution (“everyone matters, all needs matter”). He co-founded the nonprofit Sociocracy For All (SoFA), The Sociocracy Consulting Group, and New England NVC. Jerry is a founding member of 22-year old Pioneer Valley Cohousing, which uses Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance.

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Endless Meetings or Efficiency in Design Decision-Making – The Workshop Approach (Mary Kraus)

Presented by Mary Kraus

Session Description

How can a group get the most out of their architect’s time and expertise?
How can design meetings be run efficiently, minimizing stress while creating a supportive environment where each member's voice is heard?
Mary Kraus will describe the participatory design approach that she and Laura Fitch evolved over decades of working with cohousing groups - a process centered around a series of weekend programming and design workshops on the topics of cohousing site, common house and units. She will explain why she thinks this is a win-win approach for architect and group with details and hands-on facilitation exercises.

About the Presenter

Mary Kraus is a cohousing architect who has been working with communities across North America since 1990. In collaboration with Laura Fitch, she pioneered a distinctive participatory process for cohousing design. She has served on the boards of the Cohousing Network and the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Mary lives at Pioneer Valley Cohousing, the first cohousing community completed in the eastern US (in 1994) – lending daily personal insight to her work with cohousing groups. mary [at] marykrausarchitect [dot] com

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Financing your Cohousing Development (Katie McCamant)

Presented by Katie McCamant

Session Description

Got a $10 million project on your hands? Where the heck does all that money come from? In this session, you’ll come to understand the basics of real estate financing and how communities fund their developments from start to finish. Learn the ins and outs of money matters from a guru of cohousing budgets, Katie McCamant.

About the Presenter

Katie McCamant of CoHousing Solutions is a licensed architect and coauthor of the authoritative book on cohousing, Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, which introduced this housing model to North America. Katie co-founded McCamant & Durrett Architects and The CoHousing Company with her husband, Charles Durrett, in 1987. Since then, Katie has designed and developed dozens of cohousing communities in the United States and Canada. Her new company, CoHousing Solutions, provides development and marketing consulting services to cohousing groups all over the country. Her expertise includes setting up project budgets, structuring financing, facilitating planning approvals, finding construction financing, contractor selection, construction management, marketing and membership processes, and community policy creation. She also works with groups to find appropriate development partners, and then assists in structuring those partnerships. Katie was a founding board member of The Cohousing Association, been recognized as a Dwell Leader by Dwell magazine, and in 2008 was named Developer of the Year by The Cohousing Association. Her projects have won numerous awards. Katie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at UC Berkeley and completed her graduate work at the Royal Academy of Art and Architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark. After living in Doyle Street Cohousing in Emeryville, California, for 12 years, she now lives at Nevada City Cohousing.

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For Earth and Neighbourhood – Using natural building materials in community-scale construction (Robin Allison)

Presented by Robin Allison

Session Description

Is it possible to use sustainable building materials in cohousing and still stay affordable? Does the group consensus process inevitably lead to compromises in green building decisions, or can it enable more courageous choices than a single household would consider? How much risk should a cohousing group take in trying less standard construction methods in order to build green?

These and other conundrums were faced by Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, a 32-home cohousing community in Auckland, New Zealand. A fundamental part of our vision was to build to the “highest practical standards of sustainable human settlement”. The rammed earth walls, solid timbers, natural oils and paints and other sustainable materials have created a beautiful and healthy neighbourhood.

However natural building materials are more typically used by owner-builders who are willing to experiment and live with the consequences. Applying these same materials and systems to higher density multi-unit developments built by contractors in a profit-driven environment raises different issues and challenges.

We need to make buildings that foster the health and well-being of both the people who occupy them and the global ecosystems of which they are part. We offer our mistakes, successes and learnings in the hope of encouraging the wider use of natural building materials and systems in cohousing projects.

About the Presenter

Robin Allison ran her own sustainable architecture practise before founding Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, New Zealand's first cohousing neighbourhood. Earthsong demonstrates leading-edge sustainable design with intensive community involvement, and was a finalist in 2009 in both the World Habitat Awards and UN Habitat Awards. As the Development Coordinator, she drove the development process from inception to completion of construction. She now consults, runs workshops and supports other community projects throughout New Zealand.

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Getting Competitive Mortgages: First Step Project Approvals (National Condo Advisors)

Presented by Orest Tomaselli and Darlene Shannon

Session Description

The session will answer the question many communities ask, “Should our community obtain FHA, Fannie Mae and VA project approval.”

The session will focus on:
** Importance of agency approvals
** Impact on the community
** What is required
** Obtaining financing
** HELP! What to look for when hiring a professional to assist with the process

About the Presenters

Orest Tomaselli is Chief Executive Officer/President at National Condo Advisors. Orest is a knowledgeable consultant providing solutions for the condo and co-op industry that includes premier builders, developers and government agencies. With more than 25 years’ experience he has successfully identified the need to assist and educate developers, lenders, property managers and homeowner associations regarding the complexity of project review and necessity for project compliance. As a direct result of his knowledge regarding the ever changing condominium and cooperative market trends and his dedication to clients, NCA has grown to become one of the nation’s leading project consultant firms. His areas of expertise include condo reserve compliance, non-warrantable financing, lender portfolio, VA, Freddie Mac, FHA & Fannie Mae project approval.

Darlene Shannon is Chief, Business Development Officer at National Condo Advisors. Darlene has more than 30 years’ experience with the federal government and the mortgage industry. She served as a federal employee with the Rural Housing Service (Rural Development Manager) and with the Department of Housing and Urban Development /FHA (Technical Branch Chief). At both federal agencies she managed a staff of underwriters, appraisers and construction analysts. During Darlene’s 11 year tenure with FHA, her responsibilities included managing a staff of underwriters and appraisers. Her main responsibility was managing the condominium processing team for projects within the Philadelphia Homeownership Center’s geographic jurisdiction and the national contract for condominium project approval.

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Getting the Work Done (Lyons Witten)

Presented by Lyons Witten

Session Description

How do you get all your community work done? Each cohousing group needs to decide what tasks to include in community work, what system to use to connect each member with their tasks, how to organize meals work in particular, and whether and how to enforce work agreements. In this session, I will explore a wide range of work systems used by existing communities, as well as presenting a framework for understanding the many facets of community work. I will illustrate the breadth of work taken on by most cohousing communities using a “work budget” matrix that can be adjusted to fit your specific community, and will present useful information on how to actually keep your community running smoothly.

About the Presenter

Lyons Witten, 20-year resident, chairman of the Buildings Grounds Circle and a member of the Finance Circle of Pioneer Valley Cohousing (Amherst, MA), will present useful information on how to keeping your community running smoothly. From fascinating meal sign-up sheets to complicated replacement reserve spreadsheets, he has helped run a tight ship through the quagmire of cohousing!

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How Our Resale & Rental Team Rebooted Workshare, Reinvigorated Our Community & Raised $40,000 for Capital Improvements (Ann Zabaldo)

Presented by Ann Zabaldo

Session Description

Resales going so fast you can't keep track of who's on first?
Resales of homes without community input into who is buying into the community?
Sellers making record profits but not a penny comes to the community?
Resentment building?
Or, uh-oh ... unsold homes?
Fewer and fewer people showing up for work days?
More people doing less or nothing at all?
I am presenting an in-depth case study of how the Resale & Rental team at Takoma Village in Washington, DC turned around this entire scenario while earning $40,000+ for our Capital Improvements budget. Come hear how we did it! Handouts. Plenty of time for Q&A.

About the Presenter

Ann Zabaldo is a pioneer professional in the cohousing movement. She specializes in outreach education, marketing, and fueling the fires of burning souls. She was a consultant to Eco Housing Corporation for the development of award-winning Takoma Village Cohousing in DC and Eastern Village Cohousing in Silver Spring, MD. She is was also a finance partner for Liberty Village Cohousing near Frederick, MD. Ann is past-president of the Cohousing Association of the US, and a founding board member of Mid Atlantic Cohousing Association, a regional non-profit. She is a certified facilitator for the McCamant & Durrett Senior Cohousing Workshops.

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If It Doesn’t Work Socially, Why Bother? (Charles Durrett)

Presented by Charles Durrett

Session Description

Across the globe, we seek ways to make neighborhoods more conducive to living lighter on the planet and being happier. We yearn to let our kids play with the neighbors knowing they are safe. New and “innovative” solutions are trying to solve the senior housing challenge, only to fail due to lack of buy-in from the community. Charles Durrett says, “Forget trying to reinvent the wheel. The answers do exist – it’s a matter of addressing our social beliefs and asking if they will bring us happiness.” Durrett will explain the importance of being authentic and listening to the community when addressing senior and intergenerational housing. He will also explain why crafting a well-fitting glove in a facilitated process is one of the keys to success.

Please read through Happily Ever Aftering in Cohousing before this session. Copies will be available at the conference bookstore.

About the Presenter

Charles Durrett, with his wife Kathryn McCamant, introduced the concept of cohousing to the U.S. with their book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves . They coined the word “cohousing” for which they are credited in the Oxford English Dictionary. Charles recently authored, Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living-The Handbook. The latest edition is Creating Cohousing, Building Sustainable Communities. He has written several other books on cohousing, including Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living—The Handbook.

Durrett and his team at The Cohousing Company/McCamant & Durrett Architects have designed more than 50 cohousing communities in the United States and around the world, including Muir Commons in Davis, California, the first cohousing community in North America. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Architecture, and a many other publications. He lives with his wife, Katie, in Nevada City, California, where he primarily designs model communities and comfortable homes, including the 34-home cohousing community in which he lives.

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Integrating Farming and Gardening into Co-Housing (Nola Hitchcock Cross, Sam Hitchcock Tilton, Bill Hartzell)

Presented by Nola Hitchcock Cross, Sam Hitchcock Tilton, and Bill Hartzell

Session Description

This workshop addresses the spectrum of gardening and farming activities in relation to co-housing/eco-villages. The participatory discussion will include examples of involving farming and gardening with co-housing: from contracting with farmers or co-housing members to farm within co-housing to raised bed allotments, from raising food for common meals to commercial enterprises, from an orchard commons to a co-operative orchard to involve the outside community with co-housing. Nola and Sam will share conversations they have had with farmers and co-housing communities across the country about each party's needs and share successful and not-successful examples. Bill will share his experience managing a Christmas Tree farm at Hundredfold Farm Cohousing near Gettysburg.

This workshop will consist of a presentation including pictures, followed by questions and interactive discussion where participants can share lessons learned and gain from shared experiences.

About the Presenters

Nola Hitchcock Cross is an attorney who has formed several housing and other cooperatives. She is a founder of Riveredge Housing Cooperative, a forming member of the Waldo Intentional Sustainable Community, and part of the 500 Communities Program with Co-Housing Solutions. She also manages Cross Law Firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Bill Hartzell - Since 1997 Bill has been intimately involved with the creation of the first cohousing community in Pennsylvania - The Hundredfold Farm Community. With 20 plus years of cohousing experience, his passion for and belief in the importance of community has only deepened. Bill is past Board President of Coho/US. Seven Springs Tree Farm is a separate Pennsylvania Limited Liability Company owned and operated by the members of the Hundredfold Farm (HFF) Cohousing Community.

Sam Hitchcock Tilton has worked for and owned vegetable farms of various sizes. He has served as the Farm Manager and Educator for an educational farm and also writes a monthly column for
Vegetable Grower's News, for which he visits and speaks with many farmers. He is a Master's student of Horticulture at Michigan State University.

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Interpersonal Conflict: When to Intervene and When to Let Go (Ronnie Rosenbaum & John Rymers)

Facilitated by Ronnie Rosenbaum & John Rymers

Facilitated Discussion Description

All co-housing communities have some level of interpersonal conflict. Join in a conversation, sharing our collective knowledge and lessons learned. We will explore aspects of this issue that include: when should these conflicts and their resolution be limited to the individuals involved versus when are they the responsibility of the community; what are effective intervention strategies; how do power inbalances come into consideration; and what are the consequences of accepting and living with these conflicts.

About the Facilitators

Ronnie Rosenbaum, MS has lived in a multi-generational cohousing community since 1997 and is a resource for other intentional communities. She consults and facilitates about a variety of topics, such as developing inclusive yet efficient processes, decision-making, managing conflict, and improving communication. In addition, as a mediator, collaborative divorce facilitator, parenting coordinator and conflict coach, Ronnie assists families in the resolution of issues including those related to divorce, parenting, and aging.

John Rymers, MA, LPC
John has been living at Highline Crossing Cohousing Community since its inception in 1995. John has witnessed the good the bad and the ugly of forming and maintaining a cohousing community and has been involved for 20 years in nurturing and supporting the community culture at Highline Crossing, one of the oldest cohousing communities in Colorado. Professionally, John is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a trained mediator providing dispute resolution services in the domestic relations and elder care arenas.

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Is it Cohousing ? – Group Participation Game – Voice your Opinion

Facilitated by Ty Albright

Facilitated Discussion Description

Want to participate is a “game show” type experience? What makes a community cohousing vs. something else? During this session we will consider different types of developments with different scenarios and ask “is it cohousing?” We hope this will be a fun event; all participants will be asked to quickly vote their opinion (there is no “right” answer) and explain what set of characteristics are necessary for something to be cohousing. We hope to use the feedback from this event to collect data and report back to others what cohousing people think. Can you arrange a bunch of mobile homes around a community fire pit and call it cohousing? Come and find out.

About the Presenter

Ty Albright resides in Dallas Texas and is a long time real estate professional seeking to bring cohousing to Texas. He is on the Board of Directors with the Cohousing Association of the US, and is a Certified Cohousing Consultant having participated in Katie McCamant’s 500 Communities Program. Ty provides real estate development project management services and is a Licensed Texas Real Estate Broker. Ty is an Artist, Gardener and Theologian. Ty’s many pastimes include ranch land restoration into biodiverse and sustainable grasslands for organic beef production using rotational grazing strategy.

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More Than Cohousing (Laura Fitch, Steven Ablondi, Ty Albright and Bryan Bowen)

Presented by Laura Fitch, Steven Ablondi, Ty Albright and Bryan Bowen

Session Description

Together we will explore how cohousing is providing more than just housing and how it is influencing other housing sectors. Specifically we will look at supportive housing models for seniors, veterans, foster children, as well as adults with autism. We will show how cohousing is influencing the affordable housing sector and transforming a small village in South Africa. We will also look at how otherwise traditional cohousing is doing more in terms of saving farms, open space, supporting on site enterprises.

This session will give you a perspective on how cohousing is more than just a nice place to live. It could and should be a model on how we can address huge social and environmental issues one neighborhood at a time. You’ll come away wishing there were more cohousing communities in this world and hopefully inspired to advocate for them!

About the Presenters

Laura Fitch is a cohousing architect who has been working with communities across North America since 1990. In collaboration with Mary Kraus, she pioneered a distinctive participatory process for cohousing design. Laura has worked on programming, schematic design, and/or full services for over 2-dozen cohousing communities across the US and Canada. Energy efficiency, sustainable living, and good decision making process infuse all of her work with cohousing groups. In 2006, Fitch was given the Boston Architectural College’s “Distinguished Alumni Award”, stating “because of you, Laura, many people have found more neighborly and sustainable ways to live. Through your work, our world is a better place." Laura is a founder and 23-year resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Steven Ablondi - As a founder of Memel.Global, Steven is creating senior cohousing as a promoter and developer in Memel, a town in the Drakensburg mountains of South Africa. He feels much can be done to reduce the amount of time necessary to create cohousing communities and has purchased land, received municipal permits and planted organic gardens and orchards for clusters of homes to be built with natural materials and using alternative energy. Steven has had field assignments with the United Nations in Cambodia, Bosnia and Angola. He is a graduate of the Northfield Mt. Hermon School, Wesleyan University and Vermont Law School. He makes his home with his wife on Lake Champlain in America and in the Memel Drakensburg in South Africa.

Ty Albright resides in Dallas Texas and is a long time real estate professional seeking to bring cohousing to Texas. He is on the Board of Directors with the Cohousing Association of the US, and is a Certified Cohousing Consultant having participated in Katie McCamant’s 500 Communities Program. Ty provides real estate development project management services and is a Licensed Texas Real Estate Broker. Ty is an Artist, Gardener and Theologian. Ty’s many pastimes include ranch land restoration into biodiverse and sustainable grasslands for organic beef production using rotational grazing strategy.

Bryan Bowen is a Colorado-based architect and principal at Caddis Architecture who designed Germantown Cohousing in Nashville, and is a leader with Memel.Global, the first cohousing community in Africa. Since 1995, Bryan has been dedicated to the design of neighborhoods and eco-buildings, all with the vision of making baby steps towards a sustainable permaculture planet. Bryan maintains community involvement through layers of volunteerism and sits on the Wild Sage Cohousing HOA board, where he lives with his family. In addition to his niche in cohousing, his work includes single family homes, eco-retrofits, multifamily housing, mixed-use projects, community planning, and commercial work.

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Net Zero Energy & Energy Positive Cohousing (Mary Kraus)

Presented by Mary Kraus

Session Description

Cohousing Communities can be designed and built - and lived in - to produce more energy than they consume. This presentation will focus primarily on Village Hill Cohousing, a 32-unit community planned for Northampton, MA. The homes and common house at Village Hill Cohousing are designed to a high standard of energy-efficiency, with photovoltaic systems to offset on a yearly basis the energy used to heat, cool, ventilate, produce hot water, and run lighting and appliances. The overall energy picture includes photovoltaic-clad carports with the option of plug-in stations for electric vehicles. Additionally, the location on a bus route and within walking distance of a vibrant downtown provides the opportunity for a low transportation footprint. The presentation will also outline other sustainable strategies explored for this project, including the Living Building Challenge "Petal Certification". As a second example, we will look at a net zero energy retrofit at Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, MA, as a way of illustrating changes that can be employed to bring existing communities to net zero energy.

About the Presenter

Mary Kraus is a cohousing architect who has been working with communities across North America since 1990. In collaboration with Laura Fitch, she pioneered a distinctive participatory process for cohousing design. She has served on the boards of the Cohousing Network and the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Mary lives at Pioneer Valley Cohousing, the first cohousing community completed in the eastern US (in 1994) – lending daily personal insight to her work with cohousing groups.
Email mary [at] marykrausarchitect [dot] com

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Nurturing Community Bonds Through Sharing Circles (Joe Cole)

Presented by Joe Cole

Session Description

Successful groups have strong interpersonal bonds and a high level of emotional resilience that allows them to navigate the challenges of building community. How did they get there? Just as communities give time and attention to building and maintaining their physical infrastructure, it’s essential for groups to nurture their cultural and emotional infrastructure as well. Sharing Circles are a highly effective meeting format for strengthening interpersonal bonds and building emotional resilience. In a Sharing Circle, members can check in about what’s going on in their lives; reflect together on significant dates and anniversaries; share appreciations for one another; and process conflict and difficult emotions with one another. In this session, we will experience a Sharing Circle together, and we will explore the many ways the Sharing Circle format can be used in small and large-group settings to expand our interpersonal connections, build group resilience, and deepen our sense of community.

About the Presenter

Joe Cole is a Facilitator and Consultant for communities and non-profit organizations. Joe has trained in Integrative Facilitation with Laird Schaub and Ma'ikwe Ludwig, and in World Work with Arnold and Amy Mindell. Joe has a Ph.D. in Philosophy, and is a Visiting Instructor at UNC-Greensboro and N.C. State University. He was one of the original residents of Pacifica Cohousing Community, and is a member of Hart’s Mill Ecovillage, a community forming in Orange County, North Carolina.

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Power and Leadership (Laird Schaub)

Presented by Laird Schaub

Session Description

One of the primary challenges of cooperative groups is how authentically they work with power and leadership. In this workshop we’ll explore how power is distributed in groups (hint: it’s always uneven); what can be done to flatten how power is distributed; how power can be used well (as medicine) or poorly (as poison); why it’s crucial that groups are able to discuss openly the perception that power is being misused (though rarely do); why we desperately need leaders in cooperative groups (yet tend to stack the deck against them); and why it’s crucial that groups define healthy models of leadership (but usually don’t).

About the Presenters

Laird Schaub lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing community he helped found in 1974. In addition, he served as the main administrator of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, a network organization he helped create, for the period 1987-2015. In addition to being an author and public speaker about various aspects of community, he's become an expert on cooperative group dynamics and has parlayed his passion for effective process into a consulting business. Over the last 30 years he's worked with more than 100 different groups—including 61 cohousing groups—many of them multiple times. His specialty is up-tempo meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict, and at the same time being ruthless about about capturing as much product as possible. In 2003, he pioneered a two-year training in Integrative Facilitation that he's delivered 11 times across the continent.

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Preparing for Climate Change in Community (Herb Simmens & Bryan Bowen)

Presented by Herb Simmens & Bryan Bowen

Session Description

Cohousing communities have the opportunity to play an important role in helping to mitigate climate change, in addition to creatively working to minimize the impacts of climate change on our communities and the larger region. One potentially powerful way is through the divestiture of our reserve funds from investments in fossil fuels. Hear how one community became a national pioneer in divesting its reserves.

About the Presenters

Herb Simmens, a resident of Eastern Village in Silver Spring Maryland for over 8 years, most recently owned a wellness center in Washington, DC. He previously led a non profit focused on climate change, was the head of the planning office for the state of New Jersey for 10 years, and taught urban planing and design at several colleges and universities. He published a book on climate change earlier this year (2017) entitled A Climate Vocabulary of the Future.

Bryan Bowen is a Colorado-based architect and principal at Caddis Architecture who designed Germantown Cohousing in Nashville, and is a leader with Memel.Global, the first cohousing community in Africa. Since 1995, Bryan has been dedicated to the design of neighborhoods and eco-buildings, all with the vision of making baby steps towards a sustainable permaculture planet. Bryan maintains community involvement through layers of volunteerism and sits on the Wild Sage Cohousing HOA board, where he lives with his family. In addition to his niche in cohousing, his work includes single family homes, eco-retrofits, multifamily housing, mixed-use projects, community planning, and commercial work.

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Replacement Reserves: Taking the Worry Out of your Community’s Financial Future (Lyons Witten)

Presented by Lyons Witten

Session Description

A real-life DIY cohousing Replacement Reserves (RR) Spreadsheet will be used to explain the benefits of Replacement Reserves, how to manage the multitude of potential items needing replacement (someday), how Replacement Reserves are funded, what big-ticket items cannot be included in Replacement Reserves and how to manage those expenses. Those who do not have such a spreadsheet can use this example to set up their own. This is a “living DIY model” that should be reviewed each year by the Finance team/committee. Having said that, and shown how to use the “living model”, it may be that some/most communities would want to hire a consultant to help them fill in the categories, costs, and life-expectancy of each item in the RR model. This session will provide insight for either way the DIY RR model is used.

About the Presenter

Lyons Witten, 20-year resident, chairman of the Buildings Grounds Circle and a member of the Finance Circle of Pioneer Valley Cohousing (Amherst, MA), will present useful information on how to keeping your community running smoothly. From fascinating meal sign-up sheets to complicated replacement reserve spreadsheets, he has helped run a tight ship through the quagmire of cohousing!

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Resilience, Co-benefits, and Cohousing (Jessie Kome)

Presented by Jessie Kome

Session Description

In plain English, resilience is the ability to withstand chronic stress and extreme events, bounce back, and even thrive. Experience and recent literature tell us that social cohesion has as powerful a role in community resilience as does design for earthquakes, floods, fires, or climate change, or economic stresses, or disability. So, designing homes or a neighborhood to provide not only shelter but the co-benefit of social cohesion supports individual and neighborhood resilience. This session will share practical resilience concepts and approaches for cohousing communities in any stage.

About the Presenter

Jessie Handforth Kome is a member of Eastern Village (Silver Spring, Maryland).

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Resilient and Sustainable Community: Insights from the Cohousing Research Network

Presented by Angela Sanguinetti and other researchers

Session Description

Cohousing researchers from different academic fields will present research on cohousing as resilient and sustainable community. The presentations will include: (1) an introduction to the concepts of resilience and sustainability from the relevant academic perspectives, (2) discussion of aspects of cohousing that align (or do not align) with these concepts, and (3) research conducted that explains how cohousing is (or can be) resilient and sustainable. Presentations to be followed by Q and A.

The Presenters

Presenters:
• Betsy Morris, Ph.D. “Governance in Cohousing and Other Community Living Arrangements.”
• Chuck MacLane, Ph.D., Social Science Research Consultant: "Social and Structural Attributes of Resilient Cohousing Communities"
• Fiona Patterson, DSW, Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Vermont: "Multigenerational Living in Cohousing as Resilient and Sustainable Housing"
• Heidi Berggren, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth: “Cohousing and Resiliency in Political and Civic Engagement”
• Nancy Francis, M.S. Psychology, J.D., M.S. Gerontology, University of NC Wilmington. "Aging in place in cohousing: relying on community care during age-related long-term health needs."
• Robert Boyer, Ph.D. Department of Geography & Earth Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "Who is interested in Cohousing in the USA?: Results of a National Survey on Cohousing and the Sharing Economy."

Facilitator: Angela Sanguinetti, PhD, CRN Director, Coho/US Board Member, UC Davis Postdoctoral Researcher

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Retreats, Renewal, Results! (Eris Weaver)

Presented by Eris Weaver

Facilitated Discussion Description

Both before and after move-in, community retreats can help improve communication skills, heal conflict, and deepen relationships. We'll talk about different types of retreats, clarifying retreat objectives, logistics, and planning for success!

About the Presenter

Little did Eris Weaver know that cohousing would lead to a new career! A founding member of FrogSong (Cotati, CA), Eris is a facilitator, mediator and trainer known for clarity, forthrightness, and humor. Eris has worked for Cohousing Partners and consulted with two dozen cohousing communities in different stages of development. She is past president of the Coho/US board and a popular professor in the Conflict Resolution program at Sonoma State University. She is the author of “The Art of Apology: A Workbook for Resolving Conflict and Improving Relationships” and “Let's Talk About Money: A Conversation Guide for Intentional Communities.” Possessing zero tolerance for boring meetings, unnecessary conflict or wasted time, her motto is “Don’t work at it, play with it!”
Email eris [at] erisweaver [dot] info

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Retrofitting Existing Neighborhoods: The N Street Model (Cohen & Sanguinetti)

Presented by Kevin Wolf & Angela Sanguinetti

Session Description

In this session we will identify the important similarities and differences between an N Street-type retrofit cohousing community that grows over time and a developed cohousing community where residents move in all-at-once. Some of the topics we will explore are: principles and goals, consensus-based processes, financial impacts including who can participate and live there, how to get started and acquire property and homes, and what they look like and how they change over time.

From our session and your input, we hope to put together a document that helps new retrofit cohousing efforts get started. We would also like to identify retrofit cohousing communities that are in various stages of development, and create a master list of these communities that can be used to track their growth over time.

About the Presenters

Raines Cohen is a multi-tasking community organizer who has supported many cohousing neighborhoods at all stages of development. He has lived in two, advised several, and visited over 100 communities. He runs the world's largest cohousing MeetUp, East Bay Cohousing, with over 4000 members, and has over 5000 community seekers in their Cohousing California regional network. He has served on the Coho/US and FIC national boards and helped with the website and social media.

Angela Sanguinetti is an environmental psychologist, and a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Davis, where she leads the Consumer Energy Interfaces Lab. Dr. Sanguinetti led a group of cohousing researchers and professionals in conducting a national survey of cohousing residents in 2012. She is a pioneering member of the Cohousing Research Network (CRN) and has published academic research about cohousing and intentional communities. Dr. Sanguinetti is interested in creative ways to bring the spirit of cohousing to the mainstream. Her research has identified common activities that are critical to achieving the personal, social, and environmental benefits of cohousing; examined accessibility of retrofit cohousing; and experimented to determine influences of message-framing on perceptions of and attitudes toward the concept of cohousing. Personally, she aspires to create and live in a retrofit cohousing community.

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Senior Cohousing: Starting a new community in your city or town (SAGE Cohousing International)

Presented by SAGE Cohousing International

Session Description

Senior Cohousing fulfills the needs of our aging population better than any other option. But how can one person—even a small group—turn their dreams into reality? During this session, you will receive expert advice and learn proven techniques to help you get a senior cohousing community started in your city or town. You will meet others who have successfully created their own communities and realize that if they can do it you can do it too. We will examine the social and economic benefits of aging together, but mostly, we will study the challenges most new groups encounter; securing a site, building a committed core group, and zoning and planning. Participants will come away from this presentation with a clear idea of the key first steps to getting going.

**Those interested in getting personalized attention and practicing what is discussed should sign up for the Friday Full Day Intensive, Senior Cohousing: A Roadmap to Starting a New Community (Charles Durrett & SAGE Cohousing International)

About SAGE Cohousing International (SCI)

SCI is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to promoting cohousing that is designed to inspire vibrant living through connected communities of adults age 50+. SCI works with leaders and communities to bring ingenuity, curiosity and on-demand creativity into senior housing, making it possible for older adults to age in place successfully.

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Starting a Community? How to Tell your Cohousing Story (Alan O'Hashi & Jenny Godwin)

Presented by Alan O'Hashi & Jenny Godwin

Session Description

FADE IN:
NASHVILLE CONFERENCE ROOM, DAY
Are you starting a cohousing community and want to know where to start? Some will say tie up the land first, which is true. Some will say have a meeting to get people interested, which is true. Some will say, get an architect, which is true. We're here to tell you that overlaying the mechanics of cohousing, is a "story." It's about coming up with a good story that grabs the imagination. As a storytelling case study, we'll use the intentional creative community starting in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

We'll start out with a primer in storytelling. "Oh, that's nothing...anyone can write," you may be musing, but it's not as easy as you may think. We all like a good book or movie, but the reason your imaginations are captured and attention paid to the action on the big screen or on the written page is because of the story - there are good ones and not so good ones.

The same holds true when you're attracting people to be interested in joining your cohousing community - what's your catch. You'll learn how to structure your story - what is the premise; how does your story start in Act I? What happens in Act II? How does your story end in Act III? You'll put your pen to pad or your fingers to keyboard and begin outlining your community story - writing it from the inside out. We'll help you craft your "elevator speech" summarizing your story so it is quickly understandable and then provide you some low / no cost ways you can get your information out there to your targeted market through online media.

Having a compelling online media presence is increasingly important. It’s crucial to outline who you hope to attract to your community, so your message reflects that. We’ll outline tools and best practices for finding your future neighbors via your website, newsletter, facebook, twitter and Meetup pages, as well as Coho/US’s resources. This involves telling not just the how of cohousing but also the why. Why is this lifestyle for me? What benefits will cohousing bring to my life – whether I’m a pro-active senior, young family or single person seeking more community in my life?

Our teaching styles appeal to all learning styles - auditory, visual and hands-on, so there will be plenty of activity and film clips to go along with our talking heads.

FADE OUT:
THE END

About the Presenters

Alan O'Hashi MPA lives in Silver Sage Village in Boulder, CO. In his multi-dimensional life he's provided extensive training and facilitation for a variety of nonprofits. He is a newspaper journalist turned documentary filmmaker and screenwriter and works with groups and organizations to help them tell their stories better. As if he doesn't have enough to do, Alan is organizing an intentional creative community in Cheyenne, Wyoming and using that as a case study for this workshop.

Jenny Godwin is media leader for CoHousing Solutions in Nevada City. She also provides her outreach and writing skills to communities in formation, aiding with their recruitment, publicity and branding. She serves as part-time Outreach Associate for Coho/US, assisting with marketing, social media, blogging, Conference planning, and more. Her passions lie in sustainable communities, renewable energy, and working to meet challenges posed by climate change. She considers herself a cohouser-in-training.

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Starting an urban senior housing project - the story of PDX Commons (Lew Bowers)

Presented by Lew Bowers

Session Description

This session will tell the story of how PDX Commons was created; the key steps taken over the last 4 years, the key lessons learned, how we created the development team, how we attracted new members, how we accomplished the financing, found a site. The larger goal is to help develop a model of cohousing development so that new groups have a road map that they can customize for their specific circumstances. PDX Commons was a totally member-driven project, but I would not recommend that model for future urban projects. It takes too long and requires that the initial members have too much development knowledge. PDXC should be ready for move-in in April of 2017 so it will a new and current story to tell. The presentation will be primarily by me, but I hope to have additional members participate and/or have UDP and Katie participate. So, not a panel presentation but their might be multiple coordinated presenters.

About the Presenter

Lew Bowers - My wife and I are the founding members and "burning souls" of PDX Commons. Prior to that I had a career working in municipal urban development projects, most recently I ran the downtown projects for the Portland Development Commission. I have in the past worked in a cooperative supermarket and worked for the National Coop Bank setting up the California regional office in 1980.

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Sustaining Relations in Cohousing: Community Life Committee (David Entin)

Presented by David Entin

Facilitated Discussion Description

How do cohousing communities sustain and enhance social relationships among residents over time? One way is having a Community Life Committee with this responsibility. The Community Life Committee of Rocky Hill Cohousing has offered events around major holidays, periodic "dinners by sixes," outside facilitators to address concerns such as participation and engagement, two retreats a year, and other efforts to resolve conflicts and promote relationships. This can be a lead-off for a facilitated discussion for communities to share what they are doing to promote and sustain social relationships, including what has been successful and what has not. The focus will be on an exchange of useful ideas.

About the Presenter

David Entin has had two careers: in community development and anti-poverty work and in higher education administration. He was one of the founders of Rocky Hill Cohousing and served for four years of the Board of the Cohousing Association. of the United States. He is retired and currently is president of the Rocky Hill Cohousing Board of Trustees and a member of the Community Life Committee.

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The Appropriate Developer - and How to Avoid Those that are Not (Charles Durrett and Dale Joel)

Presented by Charles Durrett and Dale Joel

Session Description

A cohousing group recently reached out to me with news that no one should have to go through. They hired a developer who, unfortunately, was unskilled in creating cohousing. This developer has now taken $500,000 dollars from the group and produced nothing tangible for them. A more deliberate process has proven successful – we’ve helped to create over 50 cohousing communities and have inspired many more – in part, because we took groups through the process. It’s not about recreating the wheel; it’s about creating a neighborhood where people know, care for, and listen to each other. During this presentation, Dale Joel (developer and future cohousing resident) and I will highlight examples of projects that have failed, dissecting the specifics elements (how the dollars were collected and spent) to understand what went wrong. We will then take you through successful models, describing why these communities work so well. Finally, this presentation will prepare you to be a savvy consumer, should your group choose to work with a developer.

About the Presenters

Charles Durrett, with his wife Kathryn McCamant, introduced the concept of cohousing to the U.S. with their book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. They coined the word “cohousing” for which they are credited in the Oxford English Dictionary. Charles recently authored, Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living-The Handbook . The latest edition is Creating Cohousing, Building Sustainable Communities. He has written several other books on cohousing, including Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living—The Handbook. Durrett and his team at The Cohousing Company/McCamant & Durrett Architects have designed more than 50 cohousing communities in the U.S. and around the world, including Muir Commons in Davis, Calif, the first cohousing community in North America. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Architecture, and many other publications. He lives with his wife, Katie, in Nevada City, California, where he primarily designs model communities and comfortable homes, including the 34-home cohousing community in which he lives.

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The Triple Play: integrating Development, Marketing, and Community Building (Annie Russell & Jim Leach)

Presented by Annie Russell & Jim Leach

Session Description

Community is the secret sauce that adds real value to every aspect of your cohousing community. To realize that value, building your community, not just your buildings, needs to be baked into every aspect of your development process. Jim Leach, Annie Russell, and Katie McCamant pioneered this integrated approach to development more than a decade ago and have proved its value many times over. Learn how this process of integrating design, development, sales and marketing and community building can help your community be more fun for early members, and more valuable and attractive for potential buyers.

You will be energized by ideas, and supported by tools you can begin to use right away. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers from these experienced professionals that can be applied to your project immediately. Learn from these professionals who have successfully built 22 communities how to get the most value for your community while avoiding common pitfalls.

About the Presenters

Annie Russell has been helping cohousing communities in community development, marketing and sales for over a decade. Working for Wonderland Hill Development Community she developed a comprehensive community building process and a Find Your New Neighbors workshop to help communities learn about sales and marketing. She has also collaborated with Katie McCamant and Bryan Bowen. Annie was a founder and resident of both Wild Sage and Silver Sage in Boulder, CO.

Jim Leach is the president of Wonderland Hill Development Company and has lead the company in developing over 20 cohousing communities in Colorado, California, Arizona, and Washington. He is a builder with over 50 years experience in the design, construction and development of sustainable, planned neighborhoods. Jim and his wife Brownie live in Silver Sage Cohousing in Boulder, CO where they have been creatively participating in and learning about the senior cohousing living experience for the past ten years.

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Three Aspects of a Healthy, Thriving Community (Diana Leafe Christian)

Presented by Diana Leafe Christian

Session Description

Through lively verbal and visual presentations and small group interactions, workshop participants will better understand the three aspects of a healthy, thriving cohousing community — creating “community glue,” good process and communication skills, and effective project management, and the mutually reinforcing, mutually beneficial relationships between them. We’ll look at a fourth, foundational aspect of a thriving community that underlines and benefits the other three (having it tends to help people feel great; it’s lack tends to erode well-being.) By making sure these three (actually, four) aspects of healthy community stay in balance, we generate much more harmony, trust, and connection. We’ll look briefly at “structural conflict,” the “Visionary/Idealism – Practical Experience Scale Over Time,” the benefits of learning Nonviolent Communication and the Restorative Circles process, and what can sometimes go wrong in cohousing communities with consensus. We’ll end with a brief overview of two different methods I highly recommend: N St. Consensus and Sociocracy. And . . . we’ll have lots of fun. ;)

About the Presenter

Author of Creating a Life Together and former editor of Communities magazine, Diana speaks at conferences, offers consultations, and leads workshops internationally on the tools and processes to create successful new cohousing communities, helping communities thrive, and Sociocracy for effective governance and decision-making. She’s led workshops at many Coho/US conferences (and in 2013 was the keynote speaker for the annual conference of the UK Cohousing Network. She lives at Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina. http://www.DianaLeafeChristian.org

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What Does it Cost to Live in Cohousing? (Dowds, Lazar, Villines, and Sanguinetti)

Presented by Philip Dowds, Peter Lazar, Sharon Villines and Angela Sanguinetti

Session Description

Cohousing is sometimes represented as an inexpensive or economical way to live, but — is it true? The cost of developing cohousing is much analyzed, but the cost of living in cohousing is less well documented. Coho/US is conducting a research program intended to come up with some specific numbers, and a better understanding of how different communities collect and spend common funds. Panel presentations will rely in part on this recent research conducted jointly by Coho/US and the Cohousing Research Network (CRN); time will be managed to allow explorations of questions from the floor. The panel will be moderated by Angela Sanguinetti PhD, Director of CRN.

Pay Now (Philip Dowds • Cornerstone Village, Cambridge, MA). Like other condos and HOAs, cohousing will have a program of annual fees and expenditures. From one community to the next, the per-unit cost of this annual budget can vary by a factor of five or more. Phil will look at the factors that can drive the annual budget up or down, and provide some real-life numbers and budget options that can help all communities plan and manage their operating costs.

Pay Forward (Sharon Villines • Takoma Village, Washington, DC). Cohousing communities own an extensive commons requiring, at irregular intervals, major re-investments — everything from fire alarm upgrades and roof replacement, to re-surfacing the driveway. Expenses like these often add up to thousands of dollars for each unit. Figuring out when these capital replacements will occur, and what they’ll cost, is part of the challenge; deciding how (or if) to save ahead, accumulating money in a capital replacement reserve savings account, is the other part.

Pay Less (Peter Lazar • Shadowlake Village, Blacksburg, VA). Cohousing is not your grandfather’s condo. Intentional community provides opportunities for sharing and collaboration that can and do offer significant benefits for the finances of member households.

About the Presenters

Angela Sanguinetti is an environmental psychologist, and a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Davis, where she leads the Consumer Energy Interfaces Lab. Dr. Sanguinetti is a pioneering member of the Cohousing Research Network (CRN) and has published academic research about cohousing and intentional communities. She is interested in creative ways to bring the spirit of cohousing to the mainstream. Her research has identified common activities that are critical to achieving the personal, social, and environmental benefits of cohousing; examined accessibility of retrofit cohousing; and experimented to determine influences of message-framing on perceptions of and attitudes toward the concept of cohousing. Personally, she aspires to create and live in a retrofit cohousing community.

Sharon Villines lives at Takoma Village Cohousing in Washington DC where she served on the facilities team for ~10 years, using studies to manage the facilities and long term planning. She is involved in the reserve study process in her community and has done extensive reading and research. While teaching at SUNY Empire State College, Sharon served on the President's Council on Budget and Planning and in the process of designing several new facilities.

Peter Lazar is President of Coho/US and active in the cohousing movement, giving talks on the subject and leading tours. He and his wife, Molly, are founders of Emerson Commons Cohousing, which is working to build a 26 home cohousing neighborhood near Charlottesville, Virginia. For the past 11 years, Peter, his wife, and their two daughters, aged 12 and 14, have lived in Shadowlake Village Cohousing in Blacksburg, Virginia. On the work-front, Peter is an award-winning technology entrepreneur, and has been involved in the Web since its inception. He received an MS in Computer Science from the University of Virginia in 1993.

Philip Dowds is an off-the-clock architect, recently specialized in healthcare and eldercare design. In 2007, he and his wife Susan moved to Cornerstone Village Cohousing (Cambridge, MA; 32 units; opened in 2001), where they each remain active participants in many aspects of community life. He believes that community life runs better when approached in a more businesslike manner, and understands that his view is a minority one. Phil also serves as Treasurer of the Board of Coho/US.

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What's Your Community's Green Footprint? (Bryan Bowen & Ma'ikwe Ludwig)

Facilitated by Bryan Bowen & Ma'ikwe Ludwig

Facilitated Discussion Description

"What's Your Community's Green Footprint" will be a dynamic dialog in which you can share your communities ideas and best practices, learn about metrics that will help you test your own performance, and have questions thought through by the group.

About the Facilitators

Bryan Bowen is a Colorado-based architect and principal at Caddis Architecture who designed Germantown Cohousing in Nashville, and is a leader with Memel.Global, the first cohousing community in Africa. Since 1995, Bryan has been dedicated to the design of neighborhoods and eco-buildings, all with the vision of making baby steps towards a sustainable permaculture planet. Bryan maintains community involvement through layers of volunteerism and sits on the Wild Sage Cohousing HOA board, where he lives with his family. In addition to his niche in cohousing, his work includes single family homes, eco-retrofits, multifamily housing, mixed-use projects, community planning, and commercial work.

Ma’ikwe Ludwigis the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit, and the Sustainable Communities Director for Commonomics USA’s Materialized Empathy project. She has done sustainability education work for over 25 years, and combines that experience with over 2 decades of intentional community living to create wholistic, practical education experiences. Maikwe also teaches group dynamics (including facilitation, cooperative leadership and consensus), and is a climate change activist. In 2007, she published her first book, Passion as Big as a Planet, which looks at the intersection between spiritual development and effective ecological activism. She is currently working on starting a new community in Laramie, Wyoming.

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When the Developer Leads the Way (Linda Herman, Jim Leach & Eric Cress)

Presented by Linda Herman, Jim Leach, Eric Cress

Session Description

As groups form to create a cohousing community, a big question to answer is - do you need a developer? And a separate but related question is - can you build a successful cohousing community if the project is developed by a developer, not the community? In this session, we will examine 3 different cohousing project scenarios in which developers were involved: A) Phoenix Commons in Oakland, CA in which the developer initiated and developed the project, B) Silver Sage in Boulder CO, in which the developer obtained the land and developed it with the community (a hybrid approach), and C) PDX Commons in Portland OR, in which the community hired a fee developer to develop the project with them. We will look at each project individually, exploring each projects' process and role of the developer and the community. This promises to be a lively and informative presentation and discussion.

About the Presenters

Linda is the principal and owner of Linda Herman Consulting, a development consulting firm that provides the expertise to plan and manage the development process for mission-driven organizations, non-profits, and cohousing communities. Unique in the industry, Linda blends a designer’s sensibility with a project manager’s pragmatism. Her responsibilities on projects include client relationships, goal setting and visioning, team selection, development of the master budget and schedule and management of the entire project process. LHC recently completed the 41 unit senior co-housing Phoenix Commons in Oakland and is working on an innovative model for senior cohousing coupled with residential care. Linda is a Certified Senior Cohousing Facilitator, LEED Accredited Professional, and Allied member of the American Institute of Architects.

Jim Leach is the president of Wonderland Hill Development Company and has lead the company in developing over 20 cohousing communities in Colorado, California, Arizona, and Washington. He is a builder with over 50 years experience in the design, construction and development of sustainable, planned neighborhoods. Jim and his wife Brownie live in Silver Sage Cohousing in Boulder, Colorado where they have been creatively participating in and learning about the senior cohousing living experience for the past ten years.

Eric Cress, Urban Development+Partners
An engineer and designer by training, Eric is drawn to innovative new ideas that make our communities better places to live. At UD+P, Eric concentrates on acquisition, development, finance, and property management. He oversees budgets and the acquisition-to-construction phase of new projects, and he initiates loans for our private real estate funds. Before UD+P, Eric was a project manager at Pacific Bay Investments in Berkeley, California. Prior to that, Eric managed engineering projects for Cypress Semiconductor, Maple Optical Systems, Leapfrog Toys, and the National Science Foundation. Eric holds eight patents and has published several papers related to this work. He earned an MBA with a focus in real estate finance from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, as well as BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University.

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