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Creating an Affordable Cohousing Community

5-Week Online Course | Starts April 23

Can you imagine a world where everyone has access to affordable, healthy and connected neighborhoods? This is no pipe dream. There is a proven model that has been implemented in cohousing communities across the US and around the world. In this intensive 5-week course, you’ll learn from the leading architect and builder of cohousing communities globally. Charles Durrett will impart his decades of experience so that you can finance and maintain the affordability of your dream residential community.

Cohousing tends to conjure up images of a happy but homogeneous group of communitarians—middle-class, highly educated, and culturally similar. This picture may feel out of reach, or even distasteful, for many people who don’t have significant financial resources, whether due to choice or circumstance…

The fact is that this picture represents only one segment of the cohousing movement—the segment that gets the most press. There are many cohousing or cohousing-inspired communities that are partially or totally populated by single parents, working-class singles or families, seniors with fixed incomes, and students. Affordable housing complexes, even successful homeless shelters, have been built using cohousing principles.” — Charles Durrett, course instructor

Key Course Outcomes

  • Learn how to get zoning approvals from government officials
  • Determine a viable qualified group for your project
  • About how to hire professional consultants and avoid too much DIY
  • How to find and purchase a site, and what sites to avoid
  • About reusing dilapidated buildings
  • Negotiating for a site with your city/county or private owned land
  • Building a community economically
  • Utilizing old and new building technologies
  • Sustainability and environmentally responsible land use
  • Aspects of sharing in cohousing
  • Renters and owners agreements and relationships
  • Balancing economic disparity, people in your group who can afford little
  • Production construction
  • Options for financing the community, including government funding, grant funding, mortgage brokers, etc.

Meet Your Instructor

Charles Durrett

Charles Durrett and his team at Durrett Architects have designed more than 50 cohousing communities in the United States and around the world, including Muir Commons in Davis, California, the first cohousing community in North America. Durrett, with Kathryn McCamant, introduced the concept of cohousing to the United States with the seminal book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. The latest edition is Creating Cohousing, Building Sustainable Communities. He has written several other books on cohousing, including Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living—The Handbook.

Durrett has received numerous awards, which include the World Habitat Award presented by the United Nations, the Silver Achievement Award for Active Adult Community by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 50+ Housing Council, the Silver Energy Value Housing Award by NAHB, the Mixed Use/Mixed Income Development Award presented jointly by the American Institute of Architects and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and a recipient of the Global Over 50’s Housing/Healthcare award. He was also recently declared as a “visionary of the Sierras” by the Sierra Business Council.

Durrett regularly gives presentations on cohousing to interested citizen groups. He has spoken before the United States Congress twice, has been featured on the Commonwealth Club, and has lectured at scores of universities. He lives in Nevada City, California, where he primarily designs model communities and comfortable homes, including the 34-home cohousing community in which he lives.

The Online Course Experience

Live Interactive Sessions

Each week will feature a 2-hour live class with the course instructor so you can learn in a dynamic setting and get your questions answered directly. Get ready for interactive presentations, group discussion, small cohort activities and personalized support. Plus, each week there will be bonus sessions with guest speakers and panelists.

Journey with a Cohort

Join participants from around the world who are embarking on creating community for better living and more connection. You’ll have opportunities to network with like-minds and develop a network of support to carry your community project forward. Welcome to your global community of communities.

Deep Learning

Participants will have access to a private online space to connect with the instructor and other students through a discussion forum. Each week new learning materials will be uploaded to the space, including videos, worksheets and articles. You’ll be able to watch previously recorded sessions and stay on track with your weekly assignments.

Loved by Community Builders

The online course experience with FIC was life changing for me. I finally got the information about intentional communities that I’d been searching for, plus I met people from around the world who are of like-minds. I feel that much closer to joining or building my dream community!

– Sarah Lynn

I am constantly impressed by the down-to-earth practicality of the FIC sessions combined with the philosophical questions that are so vital for us to explore. I’m grateful for the excellent planning and delivery of the sessions by skilled and inclusive presenters, who create a space that is both welcoming and invites participants to challenge existing ideas and world views. Well done and thank you FIC.

– Claire Ogden

What a beautiful gift to our intentional community builders and leaders! FIC’s programs provide a way for thinking and concerned people to collaborate for solutions to our multitude of global crises. Thank you FIC!

– Terri Garcia

Upcoming Course Schedule

Course Registration

Creating an Affordable Cohousing Community


*Early-bird Rate until April 18th, then $299 USD

Learn a proven model for creating affordable cohousing communities across the US and around the world. Yes, affordable!

Duration: 5 Weeks (3+ hours/week)


Need financial support to attend a course?

Apply for a scholarship. Those with low-income and from marginalized groups are encouraged to apply. FIC is committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.