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  • Creating Co-Housing: A Process for Sustainable Neighborhood Development

Creating Co-Housing: A Process for Sustainable Neighborhood Development

  • February 10, 2017
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (CST)
  • Downtown Pensacola Library - 239 North Spring Street, Pensacola, FL 32501


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Imagine a home in your community where you know all your neighbors. Where active adults can live in a supportive, healthy environment. With fully appointed individual homes as well as common facilities such as a common house, workshops, and open space. In an environmentally sensitive, pedestrian-friendly community that you helped create!

What is Co-housing?

Co‐housing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically include a common house, within which may by a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor spaces typically include parking, walkways and gardens. Neighbors share resources like tools and lawnmowers.

By focusing discussion on the Six Key Components that encompass Co-housing, mainly Participatory Process, Deliberate Neighborhood Design, Extensive Common Facilities, Resident Management, Non‐Hierarchal Structure, and Separate Income Sources, we’ll not only describe what co‐housing is, we’ll explain why anyone should be interested in living in co‐housing.

Five-Phase Participatory Process

In 1995, Henry Nielsen developed a comprehensive model for the creation of senior co-housing communities that recognized the needs of seniors. While this process was originally developed for senior co-housing community development, the basic five‐phase process, with minor modification, serves equally well for intergenerational co-housing development.

This model is organized in Five‐Phases and is based on a proven participatory process. Since its inception, it has evolved into an established, efficient and effective procedure for creating successful co-housing communities. It is only through this process that co-housing communities have been optimally built.

Otherwise they cost too much, take too long to build, create too much acrimony, or, worst of all, don’t work very well.

Case Studies 

To gain an understanding of the process, the associated timeline, typical costs and associated expenses, we’ll look at three case studies. The first is an intergenerational co-housing community organized via a property owners association. The second is a senior co-housing community also organized via a property owners association. The third is an inner‐city brownfields intergenerational co-housing community organized as a cooperative that utilized existing homes adaptively reused for co-housing development.  

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course participants should be able to:

1. Identify the Six Key Components of Co‐housing and explain why anyone might be inclined to live in Co‐housing (Part 1)
2. Describe Henry Nielson’s Five Phase Participatory Process (Part 2)
3. Explain a typical Co‐housing Community Development timeline (Part 3)
4. Estimate the costs and fees associated with each phase of the process (Part 3)


George W. Abert, AIA, LEED AP
Commercial Regional Manager - FL and AL Panhandle
Mitsubishi Electric


Aniweda Co-housing Community
cohousing.org aniwedacohousing.org 

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