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Christine Hernandez is a proud sister of UNITE HERE! International Union, where she learned to strategize, organize and mobilize. Since moving to the Bay in 2010, she has applied these skills to advance the right to self-determination through her work in job training, food sovereignty and housing justice. In September of 2015, Christine, emboldened by desperation, took possession of a vacant property in East Oakland, to secure housing for her family of 6. In June of 2020, their continued fight and struggle for housing culminated into a rent strike and the collective purchase of a 7 unit house with family, friends, neighbors and the Bay Area Community Land Trust.
Now with secure and affordable housing, and a first hand understanding of the significant impacts of being unhoused and the existing structures that consistently prioritize profit over people and planet, Christine is dedicated to working in collaboration, to create opportunities and expand access, so that others might also secure and maintain this basic human right. She is equally dedicated to the disruption and interference of efforts to displace and dehumanize her comrades and neighbors. Because Christine recognizes that the law has a profound impact on every aspect of life, she is committed to contributing to efforts that make the law accessible to everyone and is delighted to be advancing that objective, as an apprentice with the Radical Real Estate Law School, at the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
Christine is a mother of four, grandmother and gardener.
Ann Zabaldo, Executive Director of Mid-Atlantic Cohousing (MAC), has worked in the cohousing field for more than 30 years, first as a volunteer, then as a member of the development team for Takoma Village Cohousing in Washington, DC, where she has lived for 20 years and Eastern Village Cohousing in Silver Spring, Maryland. She has consulted with many start-up cohousing communities helping them get on the road to building their dream community. The vision of MAC is “Everyone Living Next to Someone Who Cares About Them”. MAC educates and informs beginning groups on designing their pathway to living in cohousing, while also providing “How to Live in Community” services to the many built communities in the DC region.
Betsy Morris is a community organizer and cohousing Coach co-organizing Cohousing California, part of Planning for Sustainable Communities. With her husband Raines Cohen, at Berkeley Cohousing, she helps people find and form and live well in relationship to one another. She has served on the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) board, trained as an EcoVillage Ambassador, visited and advised many communities, and lived in two. She holds a Masters and Doctorate in City and Regional Planning.
Bryan Bowen is an architect, cohousing nerd, and lover of community-based sustainable design. Bryan grew up in a passive solar home in an artists’ community at the foothills of the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA with minors in art and anthropology in 1995, and has been a practicing architect for about 25 years. Clients comment on his ability to distill the chaos of development and construction in a logical and insightful way, creating a bubble of calm around their process.
Caddis Collaborative was founded by Bryan in 2002. Caddis is a multidisciplinary design collaborative that explores ways of living more lightly upon our earth in beautiful, healthy environments. A leader in sustainable design, Passive House, net-zero homes, urban infill, and livable communities, Caddis applies sophisticated design and creative solutions to every project. Caddis has become a well-respected national cohousing expert, creating beautiful, innovative, highly functioning communities.
Bryan has lived in Wild Sage Cohousing in Boulder with his wife and two boys since 2004. His home and EV’s electricity are provided 100% by the sun, and his family tries hard to keep a light footprint. Bryan loves life in cohousing and revels in the simple benefits of community – friends right outside the front door, casual interactions, great food, a rich life for his kiddos, but mostly happy hours and time in the wood shop. Website
Charles Durrett, with Kathryn McCamant, introduced the concept of cohousing to the United States with the seminal book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. 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, The Senior Cohousing Primer: Recent Examples and New Projects, Happily Ever Aftering in Cohousing: A Handbook for Community Living, and State-Of-The-Art Cohousing: Lessons Learned from Quimper Village.
Durrett and his team at The Cohousing Company 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, The Guardian, Architecture, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and many other publications.
Charles Durrett has received numerous awards, which include the World Habitat Award presented by the United Nations, the Silver Achievement Award for Active Adult Community by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 50+ Housing Council, the Silver Energy Value Housing Award by NAHB, the Mixed Use/Mixed Income Development Award presented jointly by the American Institute of Architects and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and a recipient of the Global Over 50’s Housing/Healthcare award. He was also recently declared as a “visionary of the Sierras” by the Sierra Business Council, and the International Property Awards.
Durrett regularly gives presentations on cohousing to interested citizen groups. He has spoken before the United States Congress twice, has been featured on the Commonwealth Club, and has lectured at scores of universities. He lives in Nevada City, California, where he primarily today consults on model communities and comfortable homes, including the 34-home cohousing community in which he lives.
Crystal Byrd Farmer
Crystal Byrd Farmer is a North Carolina native active in the cohousing and polyamorous communities. An engineer turned educator, she speaks and writes about ways communities can be more welcoming to people of all kinds of backgrounds. Crystal is the website editor for Black & Poly, an organization promoting healthy polyamorous relationships for people of color. She also serves as a board member with the Foundation for Intentional Communities. Her book The Token: Common Sense Ideas for Increasing Diversity in Your Organization is out now. Crystal is passionate about encouraging people to change their perspectives on diversity, relationships, and the world.
Geraldine (Dene) Peterson is the founder of Elderspirit Community in Abingdon, Virginia which has been in existence for 15 years and received extensive publicity in the national press. She introduced the concept of Senior Cohousing to Cohousing USA in 1997. Today, 30 senior cohousing communities have been built in different states. Dene graduated with a B.A. degree from Loyola University in Chicago and a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She also attained a Housing Development Finance Professional certificate from the National Development Council. Dene is a Purpose Prize Fellow and Cohousing USA Life-Time Achievement Award recipient.
Jim Leach is president of Wonderland Hill Development Company and has led the company in developing over 20 cohousing communities in Colorado, California, Arizona, and Washington. He is a builder with over 50 years of 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 10 years.
Katie McCamant, who has worked as an architect, project manager, development consultant, and developer with cohousing groups for the last 35 years, as well as owning and living in 4 different homes in two different communities. As a development consultant, she uses this experience to assist forming communities across North American create their communities.
Since obtaining her Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech, Kristen Uitto has assembled over fifteen years of professional experience in residential buildings at all cost levels, including single-family, multi-family, affordable housing, and cohousing. While at Caddis, she has broadened her experience to include deep energy-retrofits, eco-tenant finishes, and community master planning. Her passion for building science and sustainable design led to becoming a LEED-AP and Certified Passive House Consultant. She is also a licensed architect in Colorado and Pennsylvania. Now a partner at Caddis, Kristen is well-trained in the art of bringing quality design work into clear and accurate construction documents, and is a skilled communicator in working with clients and coordinating consultants and trades. Her strong design sense and technical expertise enables her to carry a project through from concept design to construction. Kristen is committed to a small eco footprint and lives in a walkable neighborhood in Boulder with her husband and three young daughters. She enjoys exploring this beautiful region with her family.
Laura Fitch is a founding principal of Fitch Architecture & Community Design in Amherst, Massachusetts and a 27-year resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing. Fitch specializes in cohousing and smart growth communities. She has worked on programming, schematic design, and/or full architectural services on over thirty cohousing communities across North America for which the firm has received numerous awards.
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 can be contacted at email@example.com.
J.D. from University of Wyoming College of Law, Co-Chair of Southeast Wyoming Democratic Socialists of America, member of Solidarity Collective, an anti-capitalist commune outside of Laramie, and a member of its media cooperative, Solidarity House. A former board member of the Public Banking Institute and former policy director at Commonomics U.S.A.
Cohousing Coach. Cohousing California regional organizer. EcoVillage Ambassador. Aging-in-Community author. Community Connector. Matchmaker. Faciliator. Group Works Card Deck team.
Bob is a founding member of Nyland cohousing. He and his wife Colette have lived there since 1993. Bob is founder and President of Support Financial Services, which has provided supplemental financing to a number of the cohousing projects that were developed by Jim Leach / Wonderland.
Stephen Eckert is a registered architect with 20+ years experience in residential design and construction. Before joining Caddis in 2018, Stephen was principal at Eckalizzi design and a part time adjunct teacher at the University of Colorado, School of Environmental Design. Stephen spearheaded a course in design/build for five summers at the Lama Foundation in Taos, NM, where he facilitated the design and construction of four unique cabin/tiny homes and one shower facility. In private practice he has worked on projects ranging from single family homes to multifamily projects. A passion for affordable housing lead Stephen to serve five years as a board member for Boulder Housing Partners, the local housing Authority.
Stephen brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to Caddis. He was a founding member of Wildsage cohousing, and recently completed a gap year around the world with his family. He is eager to put what he learned to practice in Caddis’s projects. Stephen believes in the power of good design, community, and sustainability to transform our world.
Ty Albright is an artist, gardener, and theologian with 30+ years’ experience in commercial real estate, most of it with GE Capital Commercial Real Estate. Details here: www.linkedin.com/in/tmalbright
Now retired from his corporate real estate job, Ty is working to bring cohousing to Texas. He lives in Carrollton (Dallas), Texas. Ty is a graduate of Katie McCamant’s 500 Communities program and is a trained Cohousing Development Professional. He works as a real estate project manager for various projects and does small all-equity development. He is happy to share his experience and expertise to help and coach people who seek real estate advice. He is also a licensed Texas Real Estate Broker.
Ty understands alternative housing solutions and living strategies including the emerging “downshifting” and “right shifting” lifestyle choices. Since retirement Ty has worked on the restoration of multiple historical buildings in Dallas Texas (Tylerstation.com) and Sulphur Oklahoma – recognition for these projects include 2016 winner of the Dallas Business Journal “Neighborhood Impact Deal of the Year” award, and winner of the 2017 CLIDE (Celebrating Leadership in Development Excellence) Award for Sustainable Development from NCTCOG (North Central Texas Council of Governments) and the 2017 Greater Dallas Planning Council Urban Design Awards; recognizing excellence & leadership in urban design in the Dallas area and the 2020 Preservation Dallas; Historical Preservation Achievement Award.
In recent times Ty has been working on the development of an 8 home Pocket Neighborhood is rural (Sulphur) Oklahoma which includes the goals of building quality homes with an affordability strategy and community focus strategy, providing community impact by providing local employment / training, discovering challenges / obstacles, and collecting data to demonstrate the feasibility of an all-equity development model that could be replicated by others. The first home is now complete and Ty is able to share his experience of what actually occurred, lessons learned and mistakes.
Yoomie Ahn has worked in affordable housing development and finance in Northern California and Virginia in varying roles (as an attorney, project manager, investor, lender, and affordable housing fund manager) for over 20 years. She has visited 18 intentional communities throughout the United States and she believes that neighborhood identity and inclusion are essential for civic engagement and esprit de corps. She has been instrumental in the founding of three intentional community groups, including the Gratitude Ecovillage group seeking to develop a Passive House or Net Zero Energy 15 to 25 unit multi-family building on a microgrid in Alexandria, Virginia. She graduated from Cornell University and Berkeley Law, works for LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), and lives in Arlington, Virginia.