Cohousing pioneers coming to Northfield!

Buffalo Commons Cohousing is thrilled to be bringing nationally renowned cohousing pioneers Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett (of CoHousing Partners and McCamant & Durrett Architects) to Northfield for two cohousing educational events.

The Cohousing Association of the United States describes cohousing as

“a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods.

Cohousing residents are consciously committed to living as a community. The physical design encourages both social contact and individual space. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to extensive common facilities such as open space, courtyards, a playground and a common house.”

The first event with Chuck and Katie, the evening of November 7th (at the Grand Event Center, 316 Washington Street, Northfield; 6:30 p.m. start; $12 at the door–$7 for students– includes free food and music), is an introductory slideshow drawing on their 20 years of experience designing and developing some of the most sustainable neighborhoods in the United States. The evening will begin with a reception featuring local foods (chicken from Finca Mirasol; veggies from local CSAs, bread from Brick Oven Bakery, and cheeses from Shepherds’ Way Farms) catered by Just Food Co-op and music by The Zillionaires at 6:30. The slideshow, with Q and A time, will run from 7:00 to 8:30. The Zillionaires return to the stage from 8:30 until 10:00. A cash bar will be open throughout. Whether you’re a cohousing newbie or veteran, this promises to be a fun and informative evening!

The second event is an intensive two-day Getting It Built Cohousing Workshop (Saturday November 8th, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday November 9th, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). This workshop (a variation of which I attended in California in September) is an invaluable resource for early-stage groups seeking to understand the fundamentals of the cohousing development process. While portions of the workshop will focus specifically on development of Buffalo Commons Cohousing in Northfield, the curriculum is directly applicable to development of other cohousing communities, and individuals from other areas/communities nationwide are encouraged to attend.

Katie and Chuck will focus on the nuts and bolts of cohousing development, providing a comprehensive overview and a roadmap for forming communities. As background, we encourage participants to have read the book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves and to have visited or toured completed cohousing. We encourage early registration, as class size will be limited.

Curriculum will cover the following:

The Development Process

  • The role of the developer and ways to partner
  • Typical development stages and timelines

Land Search & Acquisition

  • Evaluating sites for feasibility
  • Making a purchase offer
  • Partnering with brokers, master developers and others

Financing

  • Typical development costs
  • Roles of community members and outside investors
  • What can you afford?

Design

  • Best practices from Denmark to America
  • The “Common House Game,” a learning exercise

Working Together

  • Making decisions and working with consensus
  • Building a strong group to get the work done

Participants will receive a binder with supporting materials; coffee, tea and snacks will be available in the mornings and lunch will be provided on Saturday. To register, fill out and submit the form on the second page of the informational flier found here.

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