Creating an Affordable Cohousing Community

5-Week Online Course | Starts October 8

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.

Creating an Affordable Cohousing Community course image

Get the early bird discount through 9/26/21!

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

Creating an Affordable Cohousing Community instructor, Charles Durrett

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.

Praise for the Cohousing Course

I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in creating cohousing. It was extremely informative, valuable and thought provoking. Lauren was an excellent facilitator and Charles, who is energetic and enthusiastic about his mission to help create communities, was highly knowledgeable, casual, fun, easy to listen to and imparted information in a way that I could understand. The class was packed with tangible details and gave me a good grip on what lies ahead. Thank you for this great introduction to creating an affordable cohousing community!

– Nancy Bright

I learned a lot although there is so much more to learn. It was a great intro into cohousing, the concept and the how-to’s.

– Sarah Lynn

The journey to “moving trucks and getting the keys” in a cohousing project requires surrounding yourself with passion for the project and professionals who have been down the road. The information exchanged was incredible. Thank you!

– Susan Dinsmore

Lots of valuable information as well as opportunities to connect with other students. I would consider this a highly successful online class.

Joel Kennedy

This course provided a great exposure to the vast array of what is involved to find, cultivate and sustain a Cohousing Community. Charles has a great, engaging style, and a wonderful sense of humor. A real education.

– Karen Maleski

Course Schedule

Live classes for the October course will take place each week alternating from 4-6pm and noon-2pm Eastern on Fridays.

You will also have access to three live Bonus Sessions on relevant topics with guest speakers and facilitators scheduled at various times throughout the weeks. Please view the calendar below. All classes and Bonus Session recordings are viewable afterwards.

Sample Bonus Session Topics:

  • Co-Buying Property to Start a Community
  • Legal Models for Intentional Communities
  • Intro to Community Land Trusts

Course Registration


Creating an Affordable Cohousing Community

$299.00 $199.00

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

Duration: 5 Weeks (3+ hours/week)

Get the early bird discount through 9/26/21. ($299 regular price)



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.