Cohousing pioneers present in Nelson this weekend

Renowned cohousing architects/authors Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant are coming to Nelson

Renowned cohousing architects/authors Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant are coming to Nelson for two events aimed at educating the community about cohousing and building momentum for a rural Nelson area project.

The pair have been invited by Bessie Wapp, Kim Charlesworth, Andrew Earnshaw and other group members of the Nelson Land Group ( who have been talking for the last year about making a custom designed neighbourhood where everyone knew each other, where living lighter on the planet was easy and natural, and where people could grow all their food.

Cohousing is a form of collaborative housing that offers residents an old-fashioned sense of neighbourhood. In cohousing, residents know their neighbours well and there is a strong sense of community that is absent in contemporary cities and suburbs. Cohousing communities consist of private, fully-equipped dwellings and extensive common amenities including a common house and recreation areas. Residents are involved in the development of the community so the community reflects their priority.

There will be a public evening slideshow presentation by Durrett and McCamant tonight  at 7 p.m. at SelfDesign High, on the second floor of the Nelson Legion. The cost is $10 (or by donation) and everyone is welcome.

The second event is a two-day weekend workshop on Saturday and Sunday called Getting It Built. It will explain all aspects of cohousing development including feasibility of sites, understanding the development process, financing options, the participatory design process, and working efficiently as a group. The workshop is at the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce. The cost is $350 per person, or $450 per couple. Bursaries are available upon request.

Durrett and McCamant have made cohousing their life work. They coined the word cohousing and introduced the concept to North America in the late 1980s with their seminal book, Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, after studying the movement that began in Denmark. Now, nearly 25 years later, there are more than 120 cohousing communities in the US and Canada. McCamant and Durrett have personally worked on over 50 of those projects with their firms McCamant and Durrett Architects, The Cohousing Company and Cohousing Partners. Their latest book has just been released, Creating Cohousing; Building Sustainable Communities, and is available for purchase at Otter’s Books and at the Friday presentation. More info?