Re: A cohousing consultant and workshop
From: Pablo Halpern (
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 93 13:17 CST
> Our Tucson cohousing group had been considering having the Cohousing
> Company come out to do one of their weekend seminars, but we were a little
> put off by the expense. (It was going to cost more than $3000 I believe.)
> One of our members somehow located another cohousing consultant--not
> affiliated with the Cohousing Company--who has an impressive resume (he was
> a founder of the Winslow group) and offers seminars as well as a wide
> variety of other short- and long-term consulting services. 
> He seems to be much cheaper. We have decided to pursue having him come to
> put on a workshop to help us move forward in the development process.

[ deletia ]
> This consultant is:
> Chris Hanson
> 1755 Haultain Street
> Victoria, British Columbia
> V8R 2L1
> Canada
> (604)592-4546

Chris Hanson has a good deal of experience but he is not a substitute
for hiring the Cohousing Company.  Although New View never hired him, we
did have some contact with him awhile ago.  If you hire him, you should
be aware of his shortcomings as well as his strengths.

As he himself will freely admit, he is very opinionated.  Just knowing
that is not enough, however.  It seemed to me that his ideology is an
undercurrent to everything he does in cohousing.  This, combined with
his strong personality, will cause any group he is involved with to end
up with his imprint.  This is only my opinion from a single contact with
him, so take it for what its worth.  I did not agree with many of his
ideological statements, so I would not hire him.

Something that can be viewed as either good or bad is his experience
with the way Winslow was developed.  They had a lot of difficulties with
their architects and ended up with a design that was less than ideal.
Having been present for these mistakes, he has a lot to offer by way of
helping another group avoid them.  On the other hand, some of the
mistakes perhaps should have been forseen and avoided, even without

One word of support for the Cohousing company.  Our group (New View, in
Acton, MA) hired Kate McCamant to talk to us a long time ago, before
they had packaged their seminars.  We found her help to be invaluable.
One of her best contributions was keeping our expectations in line, both
in terms of what we can build and in how many societal problems we can
solve in our community.  There is no doubt about it:  they are *experts*
at what they do.  I suggest you seriously consider hiring them, if not
now, then when you are more established.  After you have have committed
members who have already put in tens of thousands of dollars, like we
have, $3000 will look like chump change.  Don't be Penny wise, pound
foolish.  If you want some help now but can't afford TCC, hiring Chris
Hanson might not be a bad idea.


Pablo Halpern                          phalpern [at]
(508) 435-5274

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