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.