Re: Course proposals for continuing education?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2009 06:09:35 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 3, 2009, at 7:58 AM, Dwight A. Ernest wrote:

Hi! In our marketing efforts for our unsold cohousing units, we
thought it might be helpful to create a course proposal to teach a
class on cohousing for our local adult continuing education venue.

The best "course" I know of is the "Cohousing Game." This is consists of a many cards on which various steps in developing a cohousing are written. The task of the group is to sort the cards to plan the process of developing a cohousing community. It covers all aspects including marketing, design, construction, and community development.

Originally designed by a cohouser whose name I'm sorry to say I've forgotten, the Cohousing Collaborative now "owns" the game and has developed it to a high degree. They do it as a workshop for developing communities. I would contact them about access.

The other suggestion from 25 years of teaching experience with adults is to place cohousing in context.

Present the history of intentional communities of all kinds -- without using the word "utopian." All of us to some degree are searching for utopia when we choose a place to live, but the word and the idea have negative connotations for many people.

Discuss the history of residential neighborhood design. Who develops them? How? The suburbs didn't just happen. Superbia by our own Dave Wann has a good analysis. Discuss the New Urbanism. Present the idea of urban planning.

These don't have to be especially detailed. Just presenting the concepts will be helpful. These will be new to most if not all of the students and they are important to setting up idea of cohousing so it is inspirational but not far fetched. It is both idealistic and practical. And doable.

Include a bibliography so those who want more information know where to get it. One of the good things about teaching is that there will be one student who takes what you present and go off to do an extended study with great excitement. Sometimes even two, usually in entirely different directions.

And, of course, show pictures, pictures, pictures. Scan photos from books and crib photos from websites and project them. It should be hard to get permissions to use the images. Contact me if you don't know how to do this.

Writing a syllabus for others to use would also be helpful.

Sharon Villines
Building Community in Coops, Condos, Cohousing, and Other New Neighborhoods

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