More Than Cohousing (Laura Fitch, Steven Ablondi, Ty Albright and Bryan Bowen)

Presented by Laura Fitch, Steven Ablondi, Ty Albright and Bryan Bowen

Session Description

Together we will explore how cohousing is providing more than just housing and how it is influencing other housing sectors. Specifically we will look at supportive housing models for seniors, veterans, foster children, as well as adults with autism. We will show how cohousing is influencing the affordable housing sector and transforming a small village in South Africa. We will also look at how otherwise traditional cohousing is doing more in terms of saving farms, open space, supporting on site enterprises.

This session will give you a perspective on how cohousing is more than just a nice place to live. It could and should be a model on how we can address huge social and environmental issues one neighborhood at a time. You’ll come away wishing there were more cohousing communities in this world and hopefully inspired to advocate for them!

About the Presenters

Laura Fitch is a cohousing architect who has been working with communities across North America since 1990. In collaboration with Mary Kraus, she pioneered a distinctive participatory process for cohousing design. Laura has worked on programming, schematic design, and/or full services for over 2-dozen cohousing communities across the US and Canada. Energy efficiency, sustainable living, and good decision making process infuse all of her work with cohousing groups. In 2006, Fitch was given the Boston Architectural College’s “Distinguished Alumni Award”, stating “because of you, Laura, many people have found more neighborly and sustainable ways to live. Through your work, our world is a better place." Laura is a founder and 23-year resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Steven Ablondi - As a founder of Memel.Global, Steven is creating senior cohousing as a promoter and developer in Memel, a town in the Drakensburg mountains of South Africa. He feels much can be done to reduce the amount of time necessary to create cohousing communities and has purchased land, received municipal permits and planted organic gardens and orchards for clusters of homes to be built with natural materials and using alternative energy. Steven has had field assignments with the United Nations in Cambodia, Bosnia and Angola. He is a graduate of the Northfield Mt. Hermon School, Wesleyan University and Vermont Law School. He makes his home with his wife on Lake Champlain in America and in the Memel Drakensburg in South Africa.

Ty Albright resides in Dallas Texas and is a long time real estate professional seeking to bring cohousing to Texas. He is on the Board of Directors with the Cohousing Association of the US, and is a Certified Cohousing Consultant having participated in Katie McCamant’s 500 Communities Program. Ty provides real estate development project management services and is a Licensed Texas Real Estate Broker. Ty is an Artist, Gardener and Theologian. Ty’s many pastimes include ranch land restoration into biodiverse and sustainable grasslands for organic beef production using rotational grazing strategy.

Bryan Bowen is a Colorado-based architect and principal at Caddis Architecture who designed Germantown Cohousing in Nashville, and is a leader with Memel.Global, the first cohousing community in Africa. Since 1995, Bryan has been dedicated to the design of neighborhoods and eco-buildings, all with the vision of making baby steps towards a sustainable permaculture planet. Bryan maintains community involvement through layers of volunteerism and sits on the Wild Sage Cohousing HOA board, where he lives with his family. In addition to his niche in cohousing, his work includes single family homes, eco-retrofits, multifamily housing, mixed-use projects, community planning, and commercial work.