On-line webinar series “Cohousing – From WOW! to HOW…”

Next series 7 – 9 pm Tuesdays in August/September 2024

NZ$160 for 4 webinars or NZ$50 each .

Seminar 1

20 August 2024

Introduction to COHOUSING – Flourishing Sustainable Neighbourhoods

Seminar 2

27 August 2024


Seminar 3

3 September 2024

DESIGN BY and FOR COMMUNITY – Social and Environmental issues

Seminar 4

10 September 2024

    PROJECT PLANNING –                  From Vision to            Built Reality

Living in a connected, diverse and multi-generational neighbourhood is more supportive, more sustainable, and lots more fun! Cohousing is a practical and well-tested model for groups of people to plan and develop living communities that support both autonomy and healthy connection. Cohousing is also a great model for self-managed communities of older people who want a better option than retirement villages. There are 1000’s of successful cohousing communities throughout the world, as well as NZ’s own Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood in Ranui, West Auckland. This seminar will introduce both Earthsong and the cohousing model, and show many examples of cohousing in urban, suburban and rural situations. 

Enormous creativity and strength are possible when empowered individuals work together for the common good. Consensus decision-making draws on the skills and perspectives within the group and finds a way forward that all can support, often going beyond what any individual could conceive or achieve. However there are underlying organisational structures and agreements that are key in setting the conditions for effective community governance. Robin will introduce those structures and processes, including the “coloured cards” method of consensus decision-making, that have served Earthsong so well both during project development, and in the ongoing vibrant life of the community.

Physical design doesn’t create community, but it can powerfully encourage or discourage the possibility of community. Intentional community design is intrinsic to cohousing, and ranges from macro issues of site layout and common facilities, to more subtle relationships between individuality and overall coherence, privacy and interaction. Eco-design issues of solar orientation, materials and services also make a huge difference to comfort, connectedness and ongoing costs. Key aspects of designing for community, and the synergies between social and environmental design that enhance both, will be discussed. This seminar also covers key collaborative design techniques that allow a group to design their own cohousing neighbourhood.

Cohousing involves a wide range of issues and steps that may seem daunting to begin with. This seminar will introduce the key issues, from developing a cohesive group vision, through membership processes and decision-making, to collaborative design, legal and financial structures and other development issues. Drawing from her experience as Development Coordinator of Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, Robin will share key learnings and processes that will assist new groups to navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of creating community and building a neighbourhood.