24 Feb 2016

Planning & Designing Inclusive Communities. Workshop in Melbourne

Planning & Designing Inclusive Communities.

WHEN: Wednesday 9 March, 2016
WHERE: Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Conference Centre, 250/240-290 Spring Street, East Melbourne
COST: $275
BOOK: www.mav.asn/events (click on ‘upcoming events’ and scroll to March 9)
An inspiring and practical one-day conference exploring the planning and design of inclusive and sustainable communities through the Cohousing movement.
Cohousing is seen as the new development model that can deliver both resilient and affordable, and happy communities at the same time.
New models, new thinking and new incentives are needed to create affordable, inclusive and resilient places that embed a sense of place, community ownership and pride, mental health and wellbeing and low impact living.
Participants will hear from leaders in the field who have on the ground experience.

American Architect Charles Durrett arriving to Australia next month.

More details on his visit, scheduled talks and workshops in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart will come soon.
Contact me for any interest
Yours in Community
Charles Durrett is an American architect and author based in Nevada City, California. With his wife, Kathryn McCamant, he is credited with coining the…

Murundaka cohousing Open Day

WHEN: 1pm - 5:30pm, Saturday 27 February, 2016
WHERE: 42 Bamfield Rd, Heidelberg Heights, VIC
COST: $25 adult | $15 concession | $7.50 kids
MORE INFO: Facebook page
BOOK: www.murundakaopenday2016.eventbrite.com.au
Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to see a cohousing community in action!
Come along for a day of talks, discussions and a tour of Murundaka Cohousing Community.
Meet residents and find out what it's like living in an intentional community in the suburbs of Melbourne.
The Open Day includes:
A site tour
What is Cohousing? (Presentation)
Our Energy Freedom project presentation
Intentional Communities & Sustainability presentation
Resident's stories presentation
Morning tea and refreshments included
Come along for a day of talks, discussions and a tour of Murundaka Cohousing Community. Meet residents and find out what it's like living in an intentional community in the suburbs of Melbourne. The Open Day includes: - a site tour -…

17 Aug 2015

the house for advanced living models

coming soon

collective future studio

consultancy design research

Collective Future Studio’s primary work is on collaborative housing and neighbourhoods models that are environmentally and socially aware. Our overall aim is to demonstrate a range of planning and architectural solutions for progressive residential models (such as Cohousing and Ecovillages,shared living...) both in rural and urban settings.

Headed by Gilo Holtzman, the studio offers a wide range of services consult and design, from community building, governance and conflict resolution to planning and design. Thus for every project we put together the most suitable team of passionate professionals, or work together with your consultants, to meet your community needs.

That is why in order to achieve best outcomes we encourage through our workshops, full participation in the process. The encouragement of a participatory process means that each participant / stakeholder becomes an important contributor to the planning and design process, and has some role in decision-making and is extremely important in achieving the best design of our immediate environment of homes and neighbourhoods.

for inquiries 

27 Dec 2014

Go Ahead for the Mid-Mountains Cohousing

the mid-mountains cohousing group are slowly advancing, with plans to start developing their site early next year. 
in the meantime, common meals every wednesdays night which are open to any interested party.
to receive more details pls send me an email 

7 Oct 2013

Tasman Ecovillage


Thing are moving nicely at the village with the last two studio apartments are now for sale,
before advancing into the second stage of the village development.

At Parsons Bay Retreat, part of Tasman Ecovillage, Nubeena
·       Two renovated studios on one title
·       Strata title ownership
·       19 acres common ground, including community facilities
·       Enjoy 30 days free accommodation each year
·       $198,000 including GST
·       Suitable for SMSF
Contact: Ilan 0488 99 5555

FootLight Festival

Katoomba FootLight Festival

Saturday, Oct 19

Come and see us at E-Co-Neighbourhood Blue Mountains stall, where you can chat and discuss with us about our project, or anything about community oriented housing.

you can also enjoy this family day including market and food stalls, live music and children's activities.



Katoomba North Public School
Barton Street Katoomba,
NSW  2780 

12 May 2013

Our Vision for the Hazelbrook Site

Our Community Vision for the Hazelbrook site

Location: 11 Glendarrah Street Hazelbrook, NSW 2779 minutes walk to shops, train station.
Land Size: 3200sqm
Proposed Developed area: 1100sqm
Asking Price: $680,000
Estimated No’ of dwellings 12 + 1(diversity of 1BD-4BD & common house)

A Community Living, eco- cluster development with options for an inter-generational population and to provide flexible housing for a population trending towards smaller household size and to ensure these dwellings are flexible for future needs.

The major benefits of our proposal are:
  • Encouraging exemplar developments which demonstrates substantially greater sustainability than current best practice ( local controls and Basix)
  • Adopting new methods to reduce private car use substantially, which can be more wildly replicated (car share, car pooling) 
  • Enabling local communities to create resident –led sustainable developments to meet local needs.
  • Making best practice environmental construction more financially viable
  • Encouraging cohousing and other approaches which enhance mutual support and wellbeing Innovating new integrated approaches to reduce overall carbon footprint, (food, transport....)  Adopting universal design principles

Conceptual Site Plan for the Hazelbrook Site  (Site Workshop #1 March2013)

COMMON AREAS ________________________
Residents will have extended access to communal land and Common House.
The Common House is the heart of the community, where most of the activities happen; the CH is the extended of the private house providing facilities and amenities which enables the private homes to be smaller. including:
  • Meeting/function/ workshop rooms etc.
  • visitors’ and family accommodation,
  • a large kitchen dining room
  • shared laundry and drying facilities
  • large open spaces
  • native species shrubs and bushes & extensive veggie garden, fruit & nut trees, and edible landscaping
  • Workshop
  • playground
HOUSES __________________________
High quality, adaptable, flexible and accessible (20%), energy efficient homes, 20% smaller than average. Range of sizes to accommodate diverse needs (1bd-4bd)
  • Small footprint houses, range from 50m2-125m2
  • 1 or 2 storeys
  • All normal house facilities –kitchen, bathroom, space for laundry, private yard
  • Same style for all the dwellings (materials, finishes, roof forms etc.)
  • Appearance to complement scenic character of the site
  • Verandas to face the common areas as transition between the private to the public areas.
  • Majority of the dwellings to be designed based on universal principals
  •  Shared facilities encourage social interaction and collaboration.
  •  A sense of belonging is created through the sharing of responsibilities and skills.
  •  Neighbours look out for each other. They feel safer and fewer ancillary services are required; especially children who have spaces and people to play
  •  People can socialize without going out in the car. Spontaneous social life;
  •  Sharing of resources enables people to own less and use more;
  •  Gardening provides exercise, fresh, healthy food, and is more pleasant when work is shared;
  •  Resident led development and management ( residents are accountable) 

  •  Shared facilities encourage social interaction and collaboration.
  •  A sense of belonging is created through the sharing of responsibilities and skills.
  •  Neighbours look out for each other. They feel safer and fewer ancillary services are required; especially children who have spaces and people to play
  •  People can socialize without going out in the car. Spontaneous social life;
  •  Sharing of resources enables people to own less and use more;
  •  Gardening provides exercise, fresh, healthy food, and is more pleasant when work is shared;
  •  Resident led development and management ( residents are accountable)
WATER CONSERVATION ________________________
  •  Rainwater to be collected in semi-centralised tanks for watering the vegetables gardens etc
  •  Hard surfaces minimised/ Permeable surfaces where possible
  •  Plants selected for common areas to minimise watering requirements.
  •  Exploration of open loop grey water system.
ENERGY CONSERVATION _______________________
  •  Passive solar design where possible, efficient insulation and efficient glazing & internal thermal mass
  •  House grouping designed to maximise solar access
  •  Solar hot water
  •  Solar panels, to reduce electricity use and costs
TRAFFIC / MOBILITY _________________________
  •  Walking distance to shops, train and public transport
  •  Car free site with centralised parking at the periphery,
  •  Reduced parking spots to encourage car sharing /pooling (recognized in our by-laws)
  •  Bike parking provided
  •  Reduction of noise and pollution
WASTE _________________________
  •  Reduction of onsite waste
  •  Recycle and composting facilities 

 AFFORDABILITY _____________________
Achieving affordability is one of our aims, however for this small development with only 12 units for sale, building and buying is not cheap. It is assumed that cohousing developments are the answer for affordable housing. The reality is that cohousing development will cost usually more than similar housing type developments (townhouses, duplexes etc’.) the extra costs are usually due to the extensive common facilities ( Common House, Workshop...) and high quality and standards of the construction which includes emphasis on green design. Therefore what we are seeking is long term affordability by creating the platform that will allow us to live more affordably. Even though we hope that we can still create some opportunities for affordable rentals, achieved through agreements with pioneers or housing associations to enable more diversity.

FINANCIAL _______________________
This is an opportunity to join the E-Co-Neighbourhood BM and be involved in the design of this great community.

  • Pre-Development risk involves getting control over a site ( money for lawyers, Conveyancing, project manager)
  • Obtaining Council development approval- this stage will involve the professional team of architects, and consultants. Any delays in approvals or changes to the design will result in additional fees.
  • Construction risk, involves delays, change orders, rising costs, whether.
  • Estimated Purchase Price:
  • The proposed average prices for purchase “off the plan” (pioneers/ investors) are slightly lower than the current market prices in the area. The costs of homes are not definite and may vary depending on the final size number of dwellings, diversity of dwellings and contractor bid.
 Investment (Core Members/ Non-residents investors)
Cash investments- to finance site purchase and pre-development project costs. Expect return on investment commiserate with risk taken .Other investment discount on the dwellings purchase price will be available for ‘early bird’ community members.

There are 4 ways to invest with us to make it real.
1. Invest in purchasing the site
2. Invest in fund to obtain Development Approval and establish legal structure
3. Obtaining construction loan- funds towards the purchase of the dwellings
4. Purchase a dwelling on completion

for more information do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours in Community

25 Apr 2012

Ecos Magazine, Sustainable neighbourhoods: the cohousing model Article

below is a link to my latest article
Sustainable neighbourhoods: the cohousing model
was published today in Ecos Magazine. ECOS, CSIRO publication is Australia's most authoritative magazine on the science of sustainability and the environment.


'Social Cities'- Report by Grattan Institute

"This report explores these and other aspects of our cities. While it
is not comprehensive, it draws together a wide range of current
knowledge into a single document. A clear thread running through
our findings is that people attract people: we like (and need) to be
around one another".

"Many issues facing our cities are enormous, difficult, and
expensive to tackle. Residents often feel they have no say in
decisions affecting them. But improving social connection is not
necessarily hard or costly. In many cases big returns can come
from small outlays, as shown by examples in our appendix.
Conversely, the loneliness and isolation that result from neglect of
our social needs will cost individuals and society dearly. After all,
cities are for people."

on Page 47 of the report cohousing is presented as one contemporary example of innovation in residential arrangements .

Worthwhile reading



Kelly, J-F.; Breadon, P.; Davis, C.; Hunter, A.; Mares, P.; Mullerworth, D.; Weidmann, B., 2012, Social Cities, Grattan Institute, Melbourne.

9 Mar 2012

E-Co- Neighbourhood Blue Mountains Orientation Day

Sunday March 18 
@ Lawson Neighbourhood Centre, 9 new street

At the orientation you will meet some of the group members, learn in more details what our aims are, how we run our meeting and you'll also get the chance to ask us anything.

Pls confirm if you intend to come, just so we'll know what to expect.

Gilo Holtzman


1 Mar 2012

Sydney Coastal Ecovillage

After many years of  hard work by Lyndall Parris and a group of volunteers , the moment of truth is near, where the preferred land for Sydney Coastal Ecovillage development  in Nararra is up for sale.  have a look at the link below, can you imagine anything else but an Ecovillage with some Cohousing clusters in it?


27 Feb 2012

Intro to Coho Presentation

Gilo delivered a comprehensive preso on co-housing and it's variants, using plenty of examples from all over the world and Australia.

Many thanks to all the people who joined us for the presentation

Next Presentation some time in the next few week will be in Sydney, details soon.

image curtsey of Jed Walker Transition Blue Mountains

19 Jan 2012

Creating a Sustainable Neighbourhood Presentation

The E-Co-Neighbourhood Blue Mountains Initiative
would like to invite you to our  
Creating a Sustainable Neighbourhood Presentation
Gilo will introduce the Cohousing Model concept and the E-Co-Neighbourhood Blue Mountains group intent and progress.

17 Jan 2012

Slow Neighbourhood : the Cohousing Model

Posted by Gilo on website on Friday, October 14, 2011

Modern cities are facing increasing challenges around social isolation, population growth, housing shortages and resource distribution impacted by climate change. Managing growth, reducing traffic, creating sustainable development, sharing resources and amenities are all challenges we face today.

Within these challenges, the importance of an individual to make a change comes from one‘s need to gain back the control over their way of living. Where we live and what we eat are influenced by what we can afford and by what is sold to us and these choices  are usually being dictated to us by big Corporations (70% of the work force work) .
About 2,400 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plato described an ideal community where everything was organised collectively. In 1506, the Englishman Thomas More published the book “Utopia, which gave a name to such visions. In Mores‘ideal community, people were to live in neighbourhood groups with common dining rooms and various shared leisure facilities.

Slow neighbourhood draws its inspiration from the notion of the old neighbourhoods, where neighbours knew and supported each other, and such utopian ideas of collaborative living and sharing , while preserving our contemporary way of living which values the private as well .

Cohousing communities are neighbourhoods which feature common facilities, sustainable living practices and good connections with neighbourresidents, with residents actively participating in the design, planning and operation of their own neighbourhoods. That is, cohousing is a form of intentional community.


Cascade Cohousing, Hobart Au

The cohousing model involves participation by residents within a non-hierarchical management structure, fostering shared decision-making, creating and maintaining a caring community, fostering the development of meaningful relationships between neighbours, and ensuring that residents feel a sense of belonging. As a result, cohousing communities tend to encourage a sense of physical safety. The physical layouts of the neighbourhood buildings encourage this: the design is pedestrian-oriented, aiming to encourage opportunities for casual meetings between neighbours; there are large common houses/facilities which provide space for both planned and spontaneous get-together such as celebrations, hobby clubs, movie-watching and shared meals.

In terms of scale, cohousing neighbourhoods are typically designed for 12 to 35 owner occupied or rental residential units, with units often being smaller in size and clustered together to allow for more shared open space. The self-managed nature of cohousing communities provides residents with opportunities to develop new life skills
While many people are now searching for new ways to take back control over their lives, Cohousing (and ‘Pocket Neighbourhood ‘concept that I will write about in another post) provides innovative solutions to many of today’s environmental and social challenges.


16 Nov 2011

Sociocracy Weekend with Gina Price

on behalf of the Blue Mountains cohousing group I would like to thank all the people who joined us to this very insightful Sociocracy workshop. Thanks to Jasmine for organising this and to Gina for sharing her knowledge with us.

we had a great weekend where we learnt and practice how to run meetings in an efficient way. Gina was wonderful and very helpful in getting us through this.

the advantages of this governance tool over other existing tools which aimed at achieving consensus, lies in its efficiency , its measured hierarchy which from my point of view empowers the participants to be part of decisions making and take responsibility for her actions.

if your group struggle at times to reach consensus try Sociocracy ...

13 Oct 2011

Sociocracy Workshop Coming Up

Dear Friends - you might like to attend this! please forward if you think appropriate.  We feel that this has great potential for community and non profit organisations.

Sociocracy workshop: 
Friday 28th October 7-9pm (intro) and
Saturday 29th October 9am to 5pm

Sociocracy is a decision-making and governance method, based on recent discoveries in systems theory, that allows an organisation to manage itself efficiently, while incorporating the wisdom of every member.
This enables groups to be dynamic, rejuvenating, and foster egalitarian relationships. It is of benefit to businesses, educational bodies, community groups and non-profit organisations. Sociocracy invites participation, inspires leadership and allows
an organisation to flourish in a changing environment. Ultimately it can throw light on today’s big issues, whether it be climate change, water management or the energy crisis.
Trainer:  Gina Price is a certified trainer in Sociocracy.  www.ginaprice.com.au
Gina is based in Western Australia and we are fortunate to have the opportunity (at lower than usual costs) on the dates below.   Places are limited and bookings are essential!

Location:  Mid Mountains Community Centre, New Street, Lawson. Lawson is 90km from Sydney, with accommodation is available at “The Blue Mountains Hotel”. Venue has wheelchair access and car parking, and is a 5-minute walk from Lawson railway station.

Childcare:  Mobile Minders childcare is available on-site – bookings essential by Tuesday 25 October.

  • Friday 28 October:  Evening Workshop and BBQ   6pm start   $25/head   Please advise if you are vegetarian.
  • Saturday 29 October:  All-day workshop   9am-5pm   $80-$120/head
  • Friday 28 October +   Combined booking  $90-$130/head
  • Saturday 29 October:  Book    for    both    workshops    and    save!
  •   Sliding scale dependent upon income –    discuss with organiser below if you wish to volunteer in return for lower fee

For bookings and additional information, contact Jasmine Payget: Mobile:  0406 045 044   Email:  jasmine.marcia@gmail.com

Hosted by Blue Mountains Cohousing Group
For more information contact Gilo on 0424 490 554 or visit
Auspiced by Mid Mountains Neighbourhood Centre

12 Oct 2011

Cohousing in Australia Article

Cohousing in Australia article featured in 
A R O U N D  T H E  H O U S E | The newsletter of Shelter NSW

Cohousing communities are
neighbourhoods which feature
common facilities, sustainable
living practices and good
connections with neighbourresidents,
with residents actively participating in the
design, planning and operation
of their own neighbourhoods.
That is, cohousing is a form of
intentional community.


1 May 2011

Sketch Your Vision Exercise

In our pursuit for a common vision for our future cohousing neighbourhood we talk and discuss theoretically what we want our life to look like in such community, we think about our homes our wider neighbourhood and how we envision them to be. but since its mostly theoretical it's hard for many of us to comprehend the physical scale of both our homes and community.

This vision realisation exercisethat I did to the Blue Mountains Cohousing group is the first of many, which its main purpose is to ground the group in thinking first about their individual homes by sketching it, and we do the same for the community,we then analyse the sketches.

This process helps raise questions about our wants and needs, how these correlates with our vision. it opens our eyes to the various possibilities and better understanding of what cohousing is. this exercise will also prepare the group for future design workshop if we hopefully reach to the stage where we have a land to build on.


29 Mar 2011

‘Taste of Sociocracy’ Presentation

A full house of diverse and interesting people joined us in Katoomba neighbourhood centre for our ‘Taste of Sociocracy’ Presentation also known as Dynamic Governance. 
Lovely Lyndall gave us an insight of Dynamic Governance, what it means and how it works, and it sure did left us a taste for more.

24 Feb 2011

Cohousing Stall

the Blue Mountains Cohousing will have a stall @ the BM Food Co-Op Fair In Blackheath.
come and meet us, learn more about the collaborative neighbourhood model while enjoying the beautiful mountain atmosphere

see you there

7 Feb 2011

Sydney CoHousing Next Meeting

Saturday 19 Feburary 2011
Around 2:30PM
16a College Rd South
Riverview 2066
for more details contact Myung Jin
@ 0405 129 756