April 29 Workshop: Creating our Cohousing Vision

meeting picture

The AGEncy Project Workshop: Creating our Cohousing Vision

Sunday 29th April 2018 10am – 3pm

The Hannaford Centre, 608 Darling Street, Rozelle Before the Event

1. Membership:

The workshop is for members of The AGEncy Project only. It is not an information session for the general public. However, interested non-members can join on the day. Membership is $20 per person per annum.

2. Understanding cohousing:

If you have not attended one of our information sessions (or you have but you want a quick refresher/reminder) it is very important for you to have a basic understanding about cohousing as a concept. You can do this by looking up the following resources on the web:

Our website:

What is cohousing?

University of Technology research:

UTS Fact Sheet

Interesting videos:

Short Video


It is also essential that you RSVP to: louise@transformingpartnerships.com.au

by Wednesday 25th April. This allows us to set up the room for the right number of participants.


10 am:

10.15 am 12.15 pm

1.00 pm 3.00pm

Registration – You will need to be a member of the AGEncy Project (cost $20 if you are not already a member) before you take part in this workshop

Morning session commences

Lunch – Please bring your own or arrange to go to one of the many cafés in the area

Afternoon session commences Workshop close


The Hannaford Centre has tea and coffee making facilities and we will provide instant coffee, teas and some biscuits/snacks. The centre is the middle of a café district so better coffee is readily available if you want to pop out and get it. The workshop is designed to be flexible – so you will not miss anything if you go out for a while. If you would like to build the spirit of ‘communitas’ (something Guy talked about as an aim of cohousing) then please bring a contribution of food for morning or afternoon tea. No obligation however!

What to expect

The workshop will be professionally facilitated using a number of techniques, including the well-known World Café methodology – a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group discussions. We will have a professional ‘visual recorder’ present to create visual representations (see Recording of the Workshop, below). It has been designed to be an exciting, interactive and productive experience.

At the beginning of the day we will pose the question:

What is our vision for an ideal cohousing community?

In the first part of the morning we will brainstorm all the possible topics that need to be considered to create the ideal cohousing community. This could include, for example, agreeing the age range of residents or determining the level of environmental sustainability that the building would reach. Each of these issues will be discussed at a separate table under neutral headings such as AGE of residents, ENVIRONMENTAL sustainability.

Participants will move from table to table contributing their thoughts which will be recorded. Once you cease to be interested in a topic you need to move on. The workshop is run on the Law of Two Feet which means you take responsibility for what you care about – standing up for that and using your own two feet to move to whatever place you can best contribute and/or learn.

The purpose of the workshop is to hear and record all the different suggestions and preferences for each topic and to note the weight of interest in the room for each option or approach. Because of that, we will hear out each person in terms of their vision and preference for a particular issue and note what they say. The workshop is not designed to come to any negotiated conclusion although the pros and cons of different approaches will be explored. All opinions will be considered valid.

Towards the end of the workshop we will collect all the issue papers together and review them as a group. The group will consider any major insights that the discussions have generated and could point us in the direction of which topics have:

  • overwhelming agreement as to a direction or approach
  • the need for further research to be carried out
  • a range of approaches which need to be integrated
  • widely differing and incompatible visions

Recording of the Workshop

We will be writing up the outcomes of the day and providing them to all the participants. We will also have a graphic recorder called Rebecca Lazenby (please view her work at http://www.paragrafix.com.au) who will be drawing colourful and creative posters of the ideas that are being generated during the session. We will also be photographing the event including photographing groups working together. [NB: Photographs from the event may be used on our website, in our future prospectus and for other purposes in the future. You will need to make it clear to us if you DON’T wish to be photographed.]

UNSW Observers

Some students from the University of NSW Faculty of the Built Environment will be in attendance as observers as part of an architectural design studio elective on Seniors Cohousing. They will be producing designs and will the use the day to assist them to understand what older people would want in a cohousing development.

Next Steps

The information we collect and record will all be used to inform some initial drawings of potential cohousing communities in different physical settings; eg newly built or adapted existing buildings. These drawings, your words and the posters and photos of the Vision Workshop will be used to illustrate a prospectus which the AGEncy Project will produce to inform potential partners, funders and other stakeholders about our ideas. We hope that this prospectus will be a significant part of the strategy that enables us to acquire the right site to develop our first co-housing community.