Pre-Conference Intensives

On Thursday and Friday before the National Cohousing Conference we are offering the following intensives ranging from full to half days. Intensive timing will be from 8:30-12:00 pm for the first session and from 1-4:30pm for the second session (full days will follow this schedule with a break for lunch between sessions). Tours, networking and other activities will also be happening on these pre-conference days. Visit the schedule page to see the sample timeline for what will be offered.

Thursday – August 25

Full Day Sessions ($150)
8:30-4:30 (lunch 12-1)

Consensus 301: Rx for Groups Struggling with Making It Work Well 
Laird Schaub

Although consensus—in one flavor or another—is the most popular form of decision-making in cohousing, many groups struggle to make it work well. How can so many well-intended people have so much trouble?  This intensive is devoted to people who live in such groups (and those who would rather know the potential dangers ahead so that they might be better navigated), helping them understand the causes of the most common trouble spots and the way through them.
 We will explore:

Additionally, there will be plenty of opportunities to raise questions specific to your group, so that your particular needs can be addressed. This course offers Rx for groups that are ailing, and the doctor is in!

Cohousing 101 Launching Your Cohousing Community Day 1
2 Full Days – $300 (Optional 1-Day Only $150)
Erik Bonnett & Mathilde Berthe

What is Cohousing, why it is meaningful, and how do we go about creating our own community? This 2-day intensive will use discussion, presentation, participatory activities and reflection. It will give you the foundational knowledge of cohousing design, development, and living to be ready to take full advantage of the national conference, and get you on your way to making your ideas and dreams into reality. Participants will be able to:

Half Day – Thursday AM ($75)

Secrets of Successful Cohousing Marketing
Shelly Parks

You have a cohousing dream, and you need more people who will share your dream to make it a reality. Where do you find the people and how do you capture their attention? In this fun and informative intensive, Shelly Parks of CoVision Consulting, will share her tips on the best ways to market your community. Topics covered will include: Understanding the difference between marketing and sales and why this is important. How to create a message and a compelling “brand.” How to create a Strategic Marketing Plan and what analytics to track to understand if your marketing is working. What is a realistic budget and where will you get the best bang for my buck? Topics covered will be applicable for groups just forming and for those needing to get a recruitment boost.

Resilient Design
Bryan Bowen 

Beyond solid approaches to energy efficiency and sustainability, Resilient Design means strategically making our communities more capable of recovering quickly from acute difficulty as well as gracefully adapting to chronic stressors. This intensive will be a close, practical look at current thinking around Resilience and how it applies to the scale of communities we most commonly build in Cohousing. 

We will look at several examples from different US climate regions, each of which is exposed to specific climate-change related risks. 

We will also review the most achievable energy efficiency/sustainability measures we’re using on projects around the county to show how we can construct these new communities with the least amount of embodied energy and to use the least amount of operational energy. 

In Colorado, Boulder’s Resiliency Strategy was developed in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities. We will review this as a framework for how to evaluate your own project site and region as well as discussing what they might have missed in their analysis. 


Aging in Community : Secrets of Living Well Together
Raines Cohen

Whether or not your cohousing neighborhood is (or plans) to be intergenerational or senior-focused, you need to be preparing for members getting older — it’s a natural part of all our lives (and a good sign that you are keeping neighbors around a long time). By consciously approaching aging and building collective community consciousness about it, you can make it much more likely that you and your neighbors will be able to not just stay in their homes longer, but also help everyone, from birth on up, experience longer, healthier, richer lives.


While many traditional approaches to “Aging in Place” focus on the “deficits” and physical, social, financial, and mental challenges of aging, cohousing neighborhoods are full of opportunities for “positive aging” where our unique lives as elders and age diversity can become a strength and bring intergenerational opportunities and support you can’t find anywhere else, that’s what makes Aging in Community so much more powerful and meaningful, something to be embraced, not postponed, avoided or tolerated.


We’ll look at examples from many different kinds of communities that have successfully laid the groundwork, share what we’ve seen in (or anticipate in) our own cohousing, and together help each other create a plan and path to take home. Join us for lively discussion, role-playing, and simulations, plus sharing of established and home-grown resources to bring back to our communities and a network to support each other in continued connection.


This workshop is based on proven techniques from:


Plus personal experience working with elders in cohousing and the larger community, as a Gray Panthers group leader.

Learn more about this intensive and the concepts, people and programs behind it:

Half Day – Thursday PM ($75)

Interest to Commitment: Secrets of Securing your Equity Members 
Shelly Parks

You’ve captured their attention with successful marketing, now what? In this session, Shelly Parks of CoVision Consulting will share her wealth of information on the best ways to convert someone who has expressed interest in your community to a committed equity member. Topics covered will be: How to engage an interested person and keep them coming back for more. How to create a membership path and what should you do to help people stay on the path to commitment. Why and how to manage your interested people using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. How to avoid the most common mistakes cohousing communities make in their membership recruitment process. Topics covered will be applicable for groups just forming and for those needing to get a recruitment boost.

Common House Design
Grace Kim

While the Common House serves as a multifunctional building in service of a variety of community functions, the careful design of this building is essential in fostering and supporting communitas (the spirit of community). Architect Grace Kim is internationally known for her research and design of cohousing common houses and will share the key strategies for designing yours. She will share the patterns of successful Danish common houses and how to develop a building program that is unique to each community. This session is open to forming groups as well as existing groups who have not yet built their common house. 

Friday – August 26

Full Day Sessions ($150)
8:30-4:30 (lunch 12-1)

Cohousing 101 Launching Your Cohousing Community Day 2
2 Full Days – $300
Mathilde Berthe

What is Cohousing, why it is meaningful, and how to create your own community. This 2-day course will use discussion, presentation, participatory activities and reflection. It will give you the foundational knowledge of Cohousing design, development, and living to be ready to take full advantage of the national conference.

The Cohousing Development Process: Lessons from 30 Years in the Trenches
Katie McCamant

This workshop will introduce participants to roles and responsibilities of various players during the development process: Who does what and when do we need them. How long will it take (walking thru a typical development timeline). Do we need a developer? How to get the highest value out of your consultants. What is the groups most valuable work during each phase. How do we raise the money?



Facilitation Hearing, Valuing, and Integrating the Wisdom of Objections
Ted Rau

Healthy group process requires differing opinions from time-to-time. Too often, however, differing opinions lead to a polarizing pattern in which neither side feels heard. Through presentation, group reflection and role plays, we will practice un-doing that pattern and explore several methods to improve listening, shared exploration and concrete solutions.  Topics include:

The workshop will draw from reflective listening, sociocracy/Dynamic Governance, and Nonviolent Communication to strengthen a facilitator’s ability to guide a group from objection to an improved proposal that works for everyone. The main goal is for people to be excited in their next meeting when someone objects!


Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance: A Practical Introduction
Jerry Koch-Gonzalez

Sociocracy is an increasingly popular governance and decision-making method based on the values of transparency, equivalency, and effectiveness. Through verbal, visual, and hands-on physical demonstrations and practice exercises, we will demonstrate the consent decision-making process, proposal generation, and selection of people to roles. We will explore organizational structures for cohousing communities and the feedback processes that keep communities from getting stale. The workshop is for people interested in the basics of a method that can help generate a greater sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and goodwill in the community. Participants will leave with a big picture of the possibilities, practical tools to start using right away, and a vivid experience of what a sociocratic group feels like.


Half Day Sessions AM ($75)

Seniors in Cohousing: Lessons Learned
Dyan Wiley

ƒWe will explore the benefits and challenges from the perspective of seniors who are living in cohousing.   We’ll consider some of the differences between senior cohousing vs living in a multi-generational community and how features of each may appeal to you (or not).  

Join us to consider the benefits of…

And some challenges…

 Explore this and more of what living in cohousing offers seniors.

Thanks to our Conference Sponsors!