2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

2018 Northeast Cohousing SummitRegister Now

September 21-23, 2018 Amherst, MA

This regional cohousing conference is for :

People that want to learn about cohousing,
how to create it, how to live it

Those that are forming a cohousing community,
whether you're just starting or already building

Residents who currently live in a cohousing community

Architects, developers, planners or other professionals
interested in creating communities



Bios: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

Alan O'Hashi, MPA, resides in Silver Sage Village cohousing in Boulder, CO and is a documentary filmmaker, screenwriter and seasoned storyteller. His latest, "The New Deal Artist Public Art Legacy just aired on Wyoming PBS. He's developing the Lincoln Court Mixed Use Intentional Community in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Annamarie Pluhar, M.Div, is the founder of Sharing Housing, Inc. a nonprofit 501©(3) whose mission is to promote the idea of shared housing for adults and provide
educational resources. An award-winning speaker, she is the author of Sharing Housing, A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates. She designs and delivers in-person workshops and on-line webinars to teach individuals and organizations the tools for effectively selecting a good home-mate. Her blog is at https://www.sharinghousing.com. The nonprofit organization is at https://sharinghousing.org. She is a graduate of Vassar College and has a masters in divinity from The Episcopal Divinity School. She lives in Vermont with one two-legged and two four-legged Housemates.

Carolyn Shapiro is an artist/education. She worked with her husband to establish White Pine Cohousing where she introduced the sociocratic method as the way to conduct cohousing meetings. She looks forward to sharing her experiences with how the sociocratic method works for White Pine and how it has helped members deal with difficult issues.

Catya Belfer is a founder and resident of Mosaic Commons, about an hour and a half East of Amherst. Catya works as a technical program manager and also builds websites for cohousing groups and others, including www.cohousing.org. She cooks for the community once or twice a month. She is passionate about building connections between people and has been involved in intentional communities since 1994. On the non-technical side, she is fascinated by how we build community through ritual, tradition, and song, though she’s not as good at singing and harmony as her kid.

Charles Durrett brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. He pioneered the cohousing movement in the U.S. and teaches architects and community leaders how to start successful cohousing communities around the globe.

David Berto created Housing Enterprises, Inc. 25 years ago to provide creative solutions to housing development and to preserve historic structures. Prior to this he was a nuclear engineer. Housing Enterprises, Inc. now has a staff of 4. Housing Enterprises assists small nonprofit groups and others in all aspects of developing and sustaining all types of affordable, mixed income and mixed use housing projects in Connecticut and other parts of the country. They work with each organization throughout all steps of the development process to create quality projects that strengthen neighborhoods and provide housing where families and individuals can feel proud to call home.

Debi Levine is a freelance instructional designer and professional facilitator with advanced graduate training in Social Psychology, People-Environment Studies, and Human Relations Training. Over the past 25 years, Debi has developed and led workshops on a broad range of management and professional development topics, and has consulted to several Cohousing communities on consensus-building and effective facilitation skills. Debi has an abiding interest in how the natural and built environments influence individual and interpersonal behavior, and how they can support health, healing, and a sense of “home.” She has been an active member of the Environmental Design Research Association, a board member of LivableStreets Alliance, a six-year resident of Cornerstone Cohousing in Cambridge, MA, and a former expatriate, having lived in Denmark for nine years – including in a variety of informal “living-together” housing situations.

Dyan Wiley is a founding member of Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community in Amherst MA. She was a key member of the Membership committee working to attract newcomers to their start-up community 25 years ago. She also served on the community’s Development Team, Facilitation committee, and kitchen design team. She has helped several other communities with their marketing and outreach efforts through trainings and informal consulting. For her day job, Dyan works full-time in the grants office at Mount Holyoke College and is a busy activist for immigrant rights.

Elizabeth Magill is one of the early members of Mosaic Commons Cohousing in Berlin, MA, and has been part of their conflict resolution (now called community support) team through its many changes. Liz also handles conflict and community in her "day job" is as a pastor in the United Church of Christ. When it's all too much she hides in her attic making quilts.

Gabriel Mugar is a researcher and activist working at the intersection of technology, media, and community building. He is currently a Design Researcher at IDEO in Cambridge, MA. Until May of 2018, Gabriel was a research associate and affiliate faculty at the Emerson College Engagement Lab where he coordinated a national study on civic media practitioners and taught courses on qualitative research and digital media studies. Gabriel earned his PhD from the Syracuse University School of Information Studies where his dissertation research looked at the newcomer management strategies of digital participatory platforms and how newcomers negotiate such strategies. Gabriel’s recent work includes designing experiences to engage Boston Public School students in conducting research and writing for descriptions of historic locations in augmented reality games developed by Niantic, Inc. (makers of Pokemon Go), and researching Civic Media Innovation in the United States, published as a white paper for the MacArthur Foundation. Gabriel is the founder of the Transformative Culture Project, aBoston-based nonprofit that supports career development for young media professionals across southern
New England, and is an affiliate of the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard

Jana Lussier is a Head Cook at Pioneer Valley Cohousing. She has also cooked semi professionally at various restaurants in her former life. Now she is a licensed Acupuncturist.

Jerome Garciano is an attorney with a concentration on state and federal tax financing incentives affecting the built environment. His experience includes provided legal support for developers, syndicators, investors, non-profit sponsors, and government agencies in renewable energy and real estate developments using the historic, new markets, renewable energy and low-income housing tax credits. As a LEED, AP, he has also served clients utilizing energy efficiency and renewable energy tax incentives. An attorney at a major Boston law firm, he has also served as a finance project manager at The Community Builders, Inc., a national non-profit developer of affordable housing. Prior to that, Mr. Garciano was a financial analyst with Recapitalization Advisors, a nationally recognized real estate finance consulting firm, specializing in repositioning affordable multifamily housing assets. He is a CPA and has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University.

Jenny French and Anda French, AIA, are principals of French 2D, an architecture studio based in Boston. French 2D’s work combines architectural form-making with integrated art practice, and experimental collaborative methods in commercial, residential, and civic projects. French 2D works on housing and mixed-use with a focus on unconventional housing types that combine familiar ideas of home with more radical organizations and typologies. They focus on the ethos of compact living and shared resources in projects like the first all micro-unit building built in Boston. French 2D was one of five finalists in the 2013 Museum of Modern Art PS1 Young Architects Program in New York, and the firm was featured as Architect Magazine October 2017 Next Progressives. Jenny French is a Design Critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Anda French serves on the Board of Directors of the Boston Society of Architects.

Jerry Koch-Gonzalez is a founding resident at Pioneer Valley Cohousing, and has been
teaching sociocracy and Non-Violent Communications for many years.

Karen Gimnig is a certified professional facilitator with Imago Relationships International. She believes that every decision to be made and every conflict that occurs is an opportunity to increase the sense of community in cohousing. She is passionate about sharing the tools that help communities take advantage of these opportunities to experience deeper relationships and greater joy. She brings experience from her own cohousing community as well other other communities, the board of Coho US, and other non-profit organizations. Feel free to contact her with questions at gimnig [at] gmail [dot] com or 678-705-9007.

Laura Fitch is a founding principal with Fitch Architecture & Community Design in Amherst, Massachusetts and a 24-year resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing. Fitch specializes in energy-efficient building design for homes, commercial properties, 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, principal of Fitch Architecture & Community Design, Inc., can be contacted at lfitch [at] facdarchitects [dot] com. 413-549-5799

Lyons Witten, 24-year resident, chairman of the Buildings Grounds Circle and a member of the Finance Circle of Pioneer Valley Cohousing (Amherst, MA), will present useful information on how to keeping your community running smoothly. From fascinating meal sign-up sheets to complicated replacement reserve spreadsheets, he has helped run a tight ship through the quagmire of cohousing!
Email: lyons [at] cohousing [dot] com

Mary Kraus, AIA, LEED BD+C is a cohousing architect and facilitator who has worked with over two dozen communities in the US and Canada over the past thirty years. She was a founding board member of the Cohousing Network (now Coho US). She lives at Pioneer Valley Cohousing, the first cohousing community in the eastern US, where she can be found preparing dinner in the common house kitchen with her cook team.

Nubanusit Neighborhood & Farm has 29 families in a rural cohousing community on 113 acres in Peterborough, NH

Rev. Dr. Betsy Waters — a workshop leader, coach and a church consultant, pastor, past school psychologist and teacher, facilitator and process leader at Mosaic-Commons. www.renewingchurches.com

Richard Wilber has a B.A. in Fine Art, worked as a computer programmer, and is now retired. He is an amateur woodworker and has recently received a Permaculture Design Certificate, skills that will come in handy in the Rocky Corner cohousing community. He believes that living in community and designing the landscape using permaculture principles are important for the health of our planet. He is hoping that Rocky Corner can set an example in living the change we want to see, and that others will be inspired to do something similar.

Ross Harpestad is a resident of Mosaic Commons, about an hour and a half east of Amherst. He cleans up after meals three to four times a month as well as performs the monthly meals accounting and the every-other-month meals scheduling process. Ross works as a Senior Software Engineer and Analyst for a large for-profit that designs financial software geared towards schools, cities and counties governments. He grumbles a lot and has been involved with Mosaic Commons since 2009.

Ruth Neeman AIA, Principal, Director of Senior Environments Design Studio – LWDA Inc.is a registered architect with more than 30 years of experience in planning, design and research focusing exclusively on environments that enable elders and support independence and aging with dignity. Her project experience includes new construction and renovations of Independent Living Communities, traditional and memory supportive Assisted Living facilities, Long Term Care centers, short term rehabilitative care units, as well as community based day centers. E-mail: rneeman [at] lwda [dot] com

Samantha Bernstein’s childhood summers were spent in a co-housing “situation” in Otis, Massachusetts that was founded by all four of her grandparents. She has a BA in Anthropology, a BS in Nursing, and an MA in American Studies, and is currently working on her MS- Nursing at University of New Hampshire. Sam became academically interested in co-housing and voluntary simplicity during college and her master’s thesis “Buy Less, Be More: The Transcendentalist History of Anti-consumerism” devoted an entire chapter to cohousing. She moved into Nubanusit Neighborhood and Farm with her family in 2015 and has recently moved out of the ‘hood.

Shelly Parks left a nationally recognized sales and marketing career in the retirement living industry to focus on sharing her professional skills and experience with cohousers. Shelly completed the 500 Communities Program in 2017 and is now an affiliate of Cohousing Solutions. She is also a member of Skagit Cohousing, a developing community in Anacortes, WA. To learn more about Shelly and her work, go to her website: www.covisionconsulting.com

Stowe Farm Community will have 11 families when complete, it has 8 families now.in a rural cohousing community on ~80 acres in Colrain, MA

Zachary Belfer-Shevett grew up in community and now attends Hampshire College here in Amherst. They are a dedicated musician who plays guitar-like instruments and have sung in a variety of choruses, and are an avid contra dancer. Zachary recently finished a course in Ethnomusicology.


Details: Location, Parking, Food: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

Summary of Details:


Friday Pre-conference Intensives held at Pioneer Valley Cohousing -
120 Pulpit Hill Road, Amherst, MA 01002

Friday Welcome Reception followed by Cohousing 101 public Presentation held at University of Massachusetts Campus Center Auditorium-
1 Campus Center Way Amherst, MA 01003

Saturday conference sessions held at University of Massachusetts Campus Center -
1 Campus Center Way Amherst, MA 01003

Sunday tours - Various locations, we will provide maps, addresses and times that various communities will be welcoming conference attendees to their community for a tour. (Transportation is on your own)


Pioneer Valley Cohousing parking space is free but limited, PLEASE consider carpooling
120 Pulpit Hill Road, Amherst, MA 01002

University of Massachusetts Campus Center
1 Campus Center Way Amherst, MA 01003

$1/per hour, after 5pm on Friday
$6.50/full day, when checking in at registrations on Friday/Saturday you will receive a discount pass to use at the payment kiosk when leaving the garage

Registration Check In:

please remember to check in at registrations

730am-9am Friday at Pioneer Valley Cohousing location

530pm-630pm Friday at UMass location

7am-12noon Saturday at UMass location

Program :

All Saturday sessions will be at the UMass location
click here or see attachment for program


All intensives will be held at the Pioneer Valley Cohousing location

There is still some availability to add on an intensive, to do so click here and enter the word Only when registering for only an intensive


You may still register for a tour if you have not already done so, click here and enter the word Only when registering for only a tour

click here or see attachment for schedule
click here or see attachment for map

Please remember that Transportation and Food will be on-your-own for the day of Tours. We will provide maps, addresses and times that various communities will be welcoming conference attendees to their community for a tour.


Those registered for Friday Intensives will be served a simple delicious lunch

The Friday Welcome Reception for all conference attendees will be offered beverages and light appetizers

Saturday will include a continental style breakfast; morning and afternoon beverage breaks; catered lunch of soup and salad; and a barbecue catered informal dinner (with vegan and gluten free options)

For meals on your own click here for a restaurant list, though there are many more!

Documents: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

Documents are attached below:



Intensives: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

5 Simple Tools - Friday Pre-conference Intensive with Karen Gimnig

Simple tools for growing community relationships can have a surprisingly big impact. Participants will learn and practice 5 simple tools that increase connection and make conflict more productive and more easily resolved in any community. These tools will help forming communities build deeper connections faster, increasing commitment and easing disagreements. In communities that are already living together, these tools will broaden the sense of connection increasing engagement and satisfaction with meetings, community work and decision-making. These tools range from validation without agreement to sentence starters that make it easier for listeners to take in what is being shared. While the tools are simple enough to learn easily in a half day intensive, They may take some practice to master. We'll spend most of our session understanding why they work and practicing so that each participant finishes the session with tools ready to use in their home community.

Cohousing Site Design – From Rural to Urban to the Truly Tiny Site - Friday Pre-Conference Intensive with Mary Kraus, Anda French, Jenny French & Gabriel Mugar

How do cohousing groups translate their goals into a site design? How do their solutions vary according to whether they are in a rural, small-town, or urban locale? What if they are in a highly dense environment where space is at a premium? And, how do you work through the organization of these sites with attention to spaces of sharing with equitable and inclusive goals? This hands-on intensive will mirror the participatory design process used to create cohousing, and will delve into creative living solutions for particularly tight sites. In addition to presentations on cohousing site design and case studies of dense urban living, you will be working directly on to-scale models to generate site plans. Following break-out groups at different densities, we will evaluate the designs together, discuss what makes for a successful design that supports community, and note how the same fundamental goals are reached in different ways depending on the nature of the site. (Feel free to bring a base plan of your site – at 1” = 20’ for a rural site or 1” = 10’ for an urban site.)

Common House Design Workshop - Friday Pre-conference Intensive with Laura Fitch

The Common House is the heart of every cohousing community. How can you design your common house to enhance your community? What spaces should you include? What spaces can be combined to achieve economy? What will your kitchen and dining room feel like? How will kids and adults enjoy the building simultaneously?

This workshop will answer these and many other questions. We'll begin by taking you on a virtual tour of many successful common houses and point out what works about them. Then participants with engage in a hands-on exercise that will allow you to start thinking about spatial relationships and design!

This activity will give you first-hand experience of the participatory design process typically used to create cohousing. Participants will work together to create several common house designs, which we will evaluate together. In so doing, you will develop an understanding of what makes for a successful common house. Participants can also bring drawings of their own projects currently under design for further development and review.

Dynamic Governance / Sociocracy - Friday Pre-Conference Intensive with 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, including 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. And we will practice the facilitation skills that make equality possible. 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. Sociocracy has been successfully practiced at Pioneer Valley Cohousing for the last five years.

Food, Friends, Foe: cooking & eating together at Cohousing - Friday Pre-Conference Intensive with Jana Lussier, Laura Fitch and Carrie West

Interested in learning more about menu planning for diverse eating needs, explore the culture of eating together, how to organize meal sign ups/payment AND cook fun appetizers together that will be served at the conference ? Then join Jana, Laura and Carrie, 3 members of Pioneer Valley Cohousing for this intensive!

Got Conflict? - Friday Pre-Conference Intensive with Elizabeth Magill

When people hang out with other people, conflicts arise. Even in cohousing. Maybe especially in cohousing. This workshop will explore how to put together a community support or conflict resolution team, who should be on the team, and how to work as a team. Then we will get into the tough stuff--what are personal conflicts, community conflicts, and when does the personal become a community issue? When is information private and when is it not? What happens when some people see ordinary tension and others see violence? Liz will provide a short introduction to family systems theory but the majority of the discussion will be on the specifics of cohousing. Bring questions or challenges you have faced or just come to be part of the discussion.

How To Tell Your Community Story - Friday Pre-Conference Intensive with Alan O’Hashi

Are you starting a cohousing community and want to know where to start? Some will say tie up the land first, which is true. Some will say have a meeting to get people interested, which is true. Some will say, get an architect, which is true.
We're here to tell you that overlaying the mechanics of cohousing, is a "story." It's about coming up with a good story that grabs the imagination. As a storytelling case study, we'll use the intentional creative West End Neighborhood in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We'll start out with a primer in storytelling and how to push out your story to a particular audience.
COHOUSER (musing with a smirk) Oh, that's nothing...anyone can write, Why do I need to pay $65 to write and use facebook?
We all like a good book or movie, but the reason your imaginations are captured and attention paid to the action on the big screen or on the written page is because of the story - there are good ones and not so good ones.
The same holds true when you're attracting people to be interested in joining your cohousing community - what's your catch?
You'll learn how to structure your story - what is the premise; how does your story start in Act I? What happens in Act II? How does your story end in Act III?
You'll put your pen to pad or your fingers to keyboard and begin outlining your community story - writing it from the inside out.
We'll help you craft your "elevator speech" summarizing your story so it is quickly understandable and then provide you some low / no cost ways you can get your information out there to your targeted market through online media.
Having a compelling online media presence is increasingly important. It’s crucial to outline who you hope to attract to your community, so your message reflects that. We’ll outline tools and best practices for finding your future neighbors via your website, newsletter, facebook, twitter and Meetup pages, as well as Coho/US’s resources.
This involves telling not just the "how" of cohousing but also the "why". Why is this lifestyle for me? What benefits will cohousing bring to my life – whether I’m a pro-active senior, young family or single person seeking more community in my life?
My teaching approach appeal to all learning styles - auditory, visual and hands-on, so there will be plenty of activity and film clips to go along with our talking heads.

Let’s Launch – Fueling your Membership Recruitment with Successful Marketing (and Sales) - Friday Pre-Conference Intensive with Shelly Parks

Whether you are just beginning to form your group, need to re-energize your efforts, or you
just need those last few members, this intensive will give you tried and true marketing and
sales tools to ensure your community’s launch. Topics covered will include a broad range of
best practices including how to create a strategic marketing plan and how to turn interested
people into committed members.

Senior Cohousing 101 - Friday Pre-Conference Intensive with Charles Durrett

Join architect and author Charles Durrett for this “Senior Cohousing 101” intensive. In this pre-game show, you will learn why senior cohousing is such a big deal today and how to get them started. Become aware of current challenges, including the influx of an aging society, and learn why cohousing is a successful model to combatting this challenge. Learn how you can become the tipping point in your area, becoming an active voice for seniors in local government and culture (Spoiler alert: It’s actually not that difficult.)


Program: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit


Sessions: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

Affordable Cohousing, Including Affordable Farming – Lessons Learned and Being Learned at Rocky Corner, Bethany CT - Saturday Session with David Berto, Richard Wilber & Jerome Garciano

Rocky Corner is the first cohousing community in Connecticut. It is being developed by Green Haven, Inc., which is a local group who got together to create this community that they then want to live in. Construction is underway at this time. The community is located on an abandoned dairy farm of 33 acres in close proximity to New Haven, CT. With clustering of the buildings, most of the property is preserved as farmland. The goals of this project include creating a vibrant cohousing community in a rural setting, with a wide range of affordable units for a wide range of income diversity, and creating an effective and affordable approach to utilizing the remaining farmland. All of these goals presented large challenges but are being accomplished. Development of a cohousing community in this rural setting inherently had initial challenges of high land costs, zoning and town approvals, and creating of water, septic, road access and fire safety. The community of 30 homes and families will have 13 of these at reduced prices that are affordable to purchasers in a range of limited incomes. With the relatively small farm area, alternatives are being evaluated to determine the best ways to effectively utilize this area for ongoing and productive agriculture. An initial detailed evaluation was undertaken by a permaculture expert to define the best uses in the different locations throughout the site. Alternative uses are then being defined and evaluated to best align with the soil characteristics and local interest. Uses include community supported agriculture, community gardens, fruit and nut trees, eggs, small animals, coppice, and other uses as they are identified.

Affordable Co-housing: The Sharing Housing Option - Saturday Session with Annamarie Pulhar

Many people who see the benefits of co-housing and would like to live in such a community can’t afford it. The costs of land and new construction mean that only the affluent can comfortably commit to joining a co-housing communities. But what if people agreed to buy in together to live under one roof? Or an owner opens his/her house to a home-mate? How might that simple idea make it possible for the less than affluent to participate in co-housing communities? How does this impact the community?
This Think Tank will explore the how shared housing can be incorporated into co-housing communities. Lead by Annamarie Pluhar, author of Sharing Housing, A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates and President of Sharing Housing, Inc., it will begin by identifying the barriers and opportunities to implementing this idea. Small groups will then discuss how those barriers can be overcome.

Age-Friendly is Human Friendly - The Appropriate Environment Supports Purposeful Living at Any Age 
- Saturday Session with Ruth Neeman

Environments that support healthy aging are residential, inviting and are desirable for all, at any age. Universal Design, that is based on principles of equitable use, flexibility and adaptability, simplicity and clarity, perceptible information, tolerance for error, low physical effort, and appropriate accommodation for a variety of abilities – dovetails beautifully with the Cohousing focus on community, interdependence, friendship, accommodation and support.

A Taste of Dynamic Governance / Sociocracy - Saturday Session with Jerry Koch-Gonzalez

Looking for an effective way to make decisions? Check out this taste of sociocracy, an increasingly popular governance and decision-making method based on the values of transparency, equivalency, and effectiveness. We will have an appetizer of the basic principles. We will gorge on two main courses: a hands-on experience of organizational structure that maximizes participation and empowerment, and a real consent decision-making process of selecting someone to a role. We will close by looking at the dessert menu of the ways feedback keeps a community yummy!

Cohousing Bridging Cultural Divides: Is Valuing Diversity Worth the Brain Damage? Saturday Session with Alan OHashi

Getting along with one another and valuing differences are important skills when joining the American version of cohousing. We're raised to be individuals but at the same time identify with a group. Can cohousing resolve this paradox? In this workshop, participants will be led through a personal journey about how their pasts inform the present and how to move into the future as they create their communities or get to know one another in established communities. When we intend to build a harmonious community, it is sometimes challenging to create a collaborative environment with people who are so different from us. “If only they would understand things the way that I do,” we say to ourselves. “If only.”
Creating community takes commitment. Things do not always turn out the way that we personally envisioned them. Conflicts arise from differences. Feelings are hurt. And yet, we strive to live in communities where people are able to work out their differences and build towards a better whole. This workshop will address these issues for people who are committed to living in successful and diverse communities. Participants will learn skills to assist their forming and existing communities function more efficiently by getting to know their neighbors better using a simple planning strategy to move forward.

Getting the Work Done - Saturday Session with Lyons Witten

How do you get all your community work done? Each cohousing group needs to decide what tasks to include in community work, what system to use to connect each member with their tasks, how to organize meals work in particular, and whether and how to enforce work agreements. In this session, I will explore a wide range of work systems used by existing communities, as well as presenting a framework for understanding the many facets of community work. I will illustrate the breadth of work taken on by most cohousing communities using a “work budget” matrix that can be adjusted to fit your specific community, and will present useful information on how to actually keep your community running smoothly.

Growing Your Group - Saturday Session with Dyan Wiley

Explore the many ways that successful cohousing communities have marketed and promoted their community and the benefits of cohousing. Consider strategies to attract and retain interest and participation -- orientation/meet and greet sessions, local news stories, special events, e-newsletters, and social media tools. Understand the importance of good communication skills, being comfortable with conflict, and other factors contribute to building the social fabric of your membership as you build the physical structures and policy agreements that will support your community over time.

If It Doesn’t Work Socially, Why Bother - Saturday Session with Charles Durrett

Across the globe, we seek ways to make neighborhoods more conducive to living lighter on the planet and being happier. We yearn to let our kids play with the neighbors knowing they are safe. New and “innovative” solutions are trying to solve the senior housing challenge, only to fail due to lack of buy-in from the community. Charles Durrett says, “Forget trying to reinvent the wheel. The answers do exist – it’s a matter of addressing our social beliefs and asking if they will bring us happiness.” Durrett will explain the importance of being authentic and listening to the community when addressing senior and intergenerational housing. He will also explain why crafting a well-fitting glove in a facilitated process is one of the keys to success.

Living and Farming in Community - Saturday Session with Nubanusit Neighborhood & Farm and Stowe Farm Community

Nubanusit Neighborhood & Farm (NN&F) and Stowe Farm Community (SFC) will present and discuss the joys, benefits, challenges, and options of farming in community. The presentation will include information about several other agricultural cohousing communities in the northeast region. Join us as we share stories and lessons learned – and learning!

Meals 3 Times a Week - Saturday Session with Ross Harpestad & Catya Belfer

Well, really it’s 11-13 per month, but who’s counting? Come hear about the Mosaic Commons meals program, from Cat Belfer, cook and kitchen czar, and Ross Harpestad, meals scheduler extraordinaire. Tell us what’s great about how you do meals, what you’re struggling with, what you wish for.

Nathaniel Hawthorne Hated Co-Housing: Our Transcendentalist History - Saturday Session with Samantha Bernstein

This presentation will offer a deep dive into the spiritual ancestor of co-housing: the transcendental Utopian communities of the 1840s. Brook Farm and Fruitlands (both in Massachusetts) will be described, along with a discussion of voluntary simplicity (an essential component of these communities), and how the concept has changed and developed since those communities were founded. An essential question will be posed and discussed: How does co-housing support or not support voluntary simplicity? Presentation is for anyone living in co-housing or thinking about living in co-housing.

Replacement Reserves: Taking the Worry Out of your Community’s Financial Future - Saturday Session with Lyons Witten

A real-life DIY cohousing Replacement Reserves (RR) Spreadsheet will be used to explain the benefits of Replacement Reserves, how to manage the multitude of potential items needing replacement (someday), how Replacement Reserves are funded, what big-ticket items cannot be included in Replacement Reserves and how to manage those expenses. Those who do not have such a spreadsheet can use this example to set up their own. This is a “living DIY model” that should be reviewed each year by the Finance team/committee. Having said that, and shown how to use the “living model”, it may be that some/most communities would want to hire a consultant to help them fill in the categories, costs, and life-expectancy of each item in the RR model. This session will provide insight for either way the DIY RR model is used.

Singing in Community - Saturday Session with Zachary Belfer-Shevett & Catya Belfer

Would you like to sing more in your cohousing group? Come experience how groups use song to grow community. Combining conversation and singing, Zach & Catya will share some great songs that really work well for different cohousing groups. Learn about why "having a good voice" doesn't matter. Learn pitfalls to avoid when selecting songs. Learn about bringing singing into your group's culture. Cat & Zach will create space for songs from participants, so bring your favorite. If possible, contact us beforehand to teach us your song. (Note: we'll not be sharing explicitly religious songs.)

Structure in Community - Saturday Session with Karen Gimnig and Carolyn Shapiro

In this session we'll talk about some of the structures available to cohousing communities including Sociocracy and Imago Relationships tools. We'll briefly describe each one, share our experience with the transformational power these structures can have, how they can be adapted for different groups, and what can be challenging about them. Bring your questions. This will be a time of story telling with just enough explanation to enable you to bring pieces back to your community.

Want Something to Change in Your Community? - Saturday Session with Betsy Waters

With a change you are interested in making in your community in mind, explore organizational development strategies. We will draw heavily from the work of the consultant group, Vital Smarts.


Sponsors: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

We thank our generous sponsors for their commitment to nurturing and growing cohousing.

Caddis Logo

Fitch Architecture & Community Design Schemata Workshop Logo Village Hearth Cohousing

cohousing solutions Fellowship for Intentional CommunityMary Kraus Architect

Tours: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

Sunday September 23rd, 2018


Tours of Regional Cohousing Communities

These Tours require an additional fee. Transportation and food will be on-your-own.
We will provide maps, addresses and times that various communities will be welcoming conference attendees to their community for a tour.

These are the tour options:

Mixed Rural and Urban- ‘Crammed
Pioneer Valley Cohousing, Amherst, MA
Pathways Cohousing, Florence, MA
Mosaic Commons & Camelot Cohousing, Berlin MA
New View Cohousing, Acton, MA
Cornerstone Village, Cambridge, MA
Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA

Mixed Rural and Urban - ‘More Leisurely
Pathways Cohousing, Florence, MA
Rocky Hill Cohousing, Florence, MA
New View Cohousing, Acton, MA
Or Mosaic Commons Cohousing, Berlin MA
Mosaic Commons Cohousing, Berlin MA
Or New View Cohousing, Acton, MA
Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA

Urban Focus
Village Hill building site, Northhampden, MA
Cambridge Cohousing, Cambridge, MA
Cornerstone Village, Cambridge, MA
Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA

Rural Focus - Western MA and Southern NH
Pioneer Valley Cohousing, Amherst, MA
Pathways Cohousing, Florence, MA
Rocky Hill Cohousing, Florence, MA
Nubanusit Neighborhood & Farm, Peterborough, NH tour followed by Potluck (bring something to share)
Stowe Farm Community (aka Katywil), Colrain, MA tour followed by cook-out (bring something to share)



Travel: 2018 Northeast Cohousing Summit

Travel to and from the NE Cohousing Summit

We recommend that if you’re planning to attend the NE Cohousing Summit in Amherst, MA, that you consider flights into one of these three airport:

Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT which is about a 1 hour drive to Amherst - this is likely to be the lowest stress option.
Albany International Airport in Albany, NY which is about a 1 ½ hour drive to Amherst
Logan International Airport in Boston, MA which is about a 2 hour drive to Amherst - expect bad traffic during weekday commuting hours.

Many national car rental companies have representation at each of these airports, and several of them have branches in Amherst

Another option is to take the Vermonter Amtrak train into Northampton, then take an Uber or Lyft to Amherst which is about 20 minutes away

Peter Pan bus runs in MA, CT, NY, DC, PA, RI, MD

PVTA (Pioneer Valley Transit Authority) bus serves the Pioneer Valley of Western MA


Friday Pre-conference Intensives held at Pioneer Valley Cohousing -
120 Pulpit Hill Road, Amherst, MA 01002

Friday Welcome Reception followed by Cohousing 101 public Presentation held at University of Massachusetts Campus Center -
1 Campus Center Way Amherst, MA 01003

Saturday conference sessions held at University of Massachusetts Campus Center -
1 Campus Center Way Amherst, MA 01003

Sunday tours - Transportation (and food) will be on-your-own. We will provide maps, addresses and times that various communities will be welcoming conference attendees to their community for a tour.