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Caddis Collaborative – Sustainable Design

by Molly
Consultants + Educators

Caddis Collaborative offers a wide range of specialized services for cohousing, cooperatives, ecovillages and other collective and innovative housing types. We bring an adaptive and strategic approach to the design process rather than dogmatically following a one-size-fits-all formula, meaning that we cater our services to your needs while still bringing to bear expertise in design and facilitation.

Specific to innovative (and often grassroots) communities we can help you with:

    • Site Selection: How do you find land when everything has become so expensive? Will the project you’re contemplating work on this property? Does it fit your project budget? Are there site characteristics that might make the project infeasible? Is the current zoning supportive of your use or will you be facing entitlement challenges or neighbor opposition? Where are the pitfalls and deal-breakers? Does it have the right potential for what you want to do: is the area walkable, rich in services, or good for growing food?
    • Site Planning + Development Analysis: Mapping of the regulatory constraints, conducting architectural fit tests, budgeting, and building a knowledge base to prepare for participatory workshops and to ensure that the information going into the workshops is sound.


  • Cohousing Workshops:
    • Getting It Built (in collaboration with Cohousing Solutions or Wonderland Hill Development Company)
    • Site Planning 
    • Common Facilities Design
    • Private Home Design
    • Design Closure
    • Public Presentations
    • In addition to the traditional cohousing workshops, we work to connect our communities to local or regional experts in facilitation, community building, permaculture, or other areas that will help community health and growth.
  • Conceptual Design: We enjoy working with local design professionals and spreading knowledge. In those cases, we can provide workshops, conceptual design, and collaboration throughout the design and construction process. To support professionals outside of Caddis, we can a mentoring program that gives local professional access to us any time.
  • Community Engagement: Sure, you know you’re wonderful, but how to convince the neighborhood or planning commission? They will have different criteria for judging your project and you need to speak their language in order to ease or address their concerns. Find out how to show you’re advancing their expressed goals.
  • Entitlements and Approvals: We have experience getting projects through the process in a wide variety of jurisdictions. Approvals can be a real threat to any cohousing community’s success, and it’s critical to understand the path before you strategically proceed.
  • Project Scheduling + Project Management Timelines: It’s important to get your arms around the basic framework, and we highly recommend hiring development consultants or project managers to help you along the way.
  • Financial Modeling: Whether you’re going to be internally funded, working with a developer, using resources like Low Income Housing Tax Credits or community land trusts, or innovating how your project is funded and owned, we can feed rational information into your model or model it for you with Caddis Community Partners.
  • Sustainability: Early on, we collaboratively establish an “energy budget” which we also revisit for guidance at each phase. Some communities will struggle to meet already stringent codes, some balance increases in construction costs with energy savings to be operationally cost-neutral, and others aspire to measure themselves against yardsticks like LEED, Net-Zero Energy, Passive House, WELL Building, Living Communities Challenge, or go all the way to carbon neutrality. We have pragmatic experience that will inform your project.
  • Graphic Design + Marketing Materials: Caddis can help you prepare materials that will help you grow your community.
  • Insight: Helping you understand different progressive, high-functioning housing typologies: pocket neighborhoods, intergenerational cohousing, senior cohousing, cooperative housing, eco-villages, baugruppen, tribal land communities, or cohousing-inspired communities.
  • Inspiration: Cohousing has great benefits and replicable strategies which can inform other project types. This includes rental affordable housing, inclusion of I Have a Dream Magnets in your project, working with Habitat for Humanity or other sweat equity building program, employee workforce housing, student or faculty housing, neuro-diverse/IDD housing, transitional housing for people experiencing homeless, transitional and supportive housing for veterans, or communities that re-envision foster-care.
  • Advice: We’re available to help your forming community through a rough spot, or to perform design review for your early ideas. What’s the best approach for manifesting your social justice and communitarian goals? We’re great at working remotely, so distance isn’t an issue.  
  • Full Architectural Services: Caddis is a full service architecture firm that can handle many different project types, so check out our websites to see what we’ve been lucky enough to design: Caddis Architecture and Caddis Community Partners.


Here’s a relevant blog written by a past client of ours: Coming Full Circle with the National Conference and the Importance of Consultation. And here is a webchat sponsored by CohoUS in which Katie McCamant explains the ins and outs of bringing in design professionals: Hiring Professionals to Get Your Community Built. Please drop us a line or email us to find out more about how we can help you!


The surest way to predict the future is to create it!


caddis collaborative

[email protected] 
303 443 3629


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