This June 26-27, I’ll be teaching a class called: “A Practical Guide to Shared Housing: How to Design, Finance, and Build Small Residential Communities” through Harvard’s Graduate School of Design Executive Education program (full description pasted below).  If this sounds interesting, come hang out in Cambridge for a couple days, learn a whole bunch, and get some continuing education credits to boot!

Definition: Shared housing communities add common amenities to traditional ownership or rental models to support spontaneous sharing and fun among neighbors.

This two-day intensive course will provide an overview of the development process and real estate fundamentals for new and retrofit community-oriented housing options at a range of scales, including pocket neighborhoods, traditional cohousing, converted apartments, primary + accessory dwelling units, detached bedroom clusters, group houses, and homes-on-wheels.

The class will open with past, present, and projected future trends of community-oriented housing models in the US at a wide range of scales and densities.  Each community model will be described in terms of land use regulations, design considerations, financial and legal structures, social/demographic factors, and project budgets.

We will introduce the role of developer and key members of the development team, then walk through the development process from concept, group formation, and land acquisition through move-in.  Along the way, we will cover:

  • Lender lingo, types of financing (predevelopment, acquisition, construction, mortgages), and typical loan terms to expect;
  • Forms of ownership, including single family, condominium, cooperative, limited liability companies, and community land trust;
  • Implications of zoning and building codes on shared housing designs (and some examples of how jurisdictions have changed the rules to better support these housing models);
  • Practical design tips for shared housing developments.

The class will culminate with a practicum, during which each participant will sketch out and create a budget for a shared housing model they would personally like to launch and/or live in someday.

Learning Objectives:

  • Investigate shared housing models with a range of sizes, densities, income levels, self-government approaches, and demographic mixes;
  • Identify and understand key steps and stages in the real estate development process, and how this process can be tweaked for shared housing communities;
  • Recognize specific design techniques used to support community among residents;
  • Translate a physical community design into a rough development budget.