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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)

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 helping them understand the causes of the most common trouble spots and the way through them.

Cohousing 101 Launching Your Cohousing Community Day 1
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.

Half Day – Session 1 ($75)

Cohousing Member Recruitment Part 1
Shelly Parks

You have a cohousing dream, and you need people to join you to make your dream a reality. But where do you start? In this fun and informative intensive, Shelly Parks of CoVision Consulting, will share her secrets and tips on successful community member recruitment. Topics covered will include: What is the difference between marketing and sales and why is this important? How does my community create and message a compelling “brand”? How to create a Strategic Marketing Plan and a sales process. What are the most common mistakes cohousing communities make in their recruitment? How to retain members once they are on board? And more. Topics covered will be applicable for groups just forming and for those needing to get a recruitment boost.


How to Be a Cohousing Architect
Grace Kim

As evidenced by the birth of the cohousing movement in the US, Architects are often the visionary leaders who inspire groups to action. However, there are too few architects to grow the cohousing movement. In this workshop, current cohousing architects will help the next generation of architects prepare to successfully engage with their future clients. This session is intended for architects only.

Resilient Design
Bryan Bowen

Hear about what’s happening now in the movement and how it can inform your communities development; from Passive House to Living Building Challenge. We’ll talk through the basic strategies of sustainability as they relate to your forming community, explain all of the various rating systems like LEED, LBC, or Passive House, and look at case studies of completed projects. Expect a lot of dialog as well as a detailed presentation. 


Aging in Community
Raines Cohen

Whether your cohousing neighborhood is or plans to be intergenerational or senior-focussed, you need to be planning on getting older – it’s a natural part of all our lives. By consciously approaching the issue and building collective 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. We’ll look at communities that have successfully laid the groundwork and help all participants come up with a plan and path to take home for their communities.

Half Day – Session 2 ($75)

Cohousing Member Recruitment Part 2
Shelly Parks

Description coming soon!

Common House Design
Grace Kim

The Common House is the heart of every cohousing community – and it should be designed to foster and support communitas (or 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.

Introduction to Sociocracy for Cohousers
Diana Leafe Christian

An overview of the basics of sociocracy as it can be practiced in cohousing, with one interactive exercise to demonstrate sociocracy’s Proposal-Forming process, including adding Feedback Questions to each proposal to later measure and evaluate the proposal after its implemented. Slide show presentation of how the Feedback Questions process works. Brief description and overview of the Consent Decision-Making process that a circle (committee) does to consider and decide each proposal they create (either right away, or in their next meeting).


Friday – August 26

Full Day Sessions ($150)

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.

Development for Whatever is Needed
Katie McCamant

Description coming soon!

Productive Conflict
Karen Gimnig

Conflict is part of living in community, the question is how to do it well. We know what happens when conflict goes badly. In this full day session we’ll build strategies and skills for creating connection and growth in spaces of conflict. We will explore what each of us brings to conflict, the strategies we use, and how we can change the patterns that have been painful in our past. We’ll also look at ways to support each other when conflict comes to community. The primary methods used and discussed in this session are based in Imago Relationship Theory.


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. In this workshop, we will un-do that pattern and practice several methods to improve listening, shared exploration and concrete solutions in role plays. – What do I say/do when someone objects? – What can the group learn from an objection? – How can we move forward and make a decision? The workshop will draw from reflective listening, sociocracy/Dynamic Governance, and Nonviolent Communication to strengthen all facilitator’s ability to guide a group from objection to an improved proposal that works for everyone. My 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 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 going 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.