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.)