Feb 16

Visioning Workshop kicks off community planning

It’s not too late for you to help us plan a community you would like to live in.

Excitement is building at TECO as we move forward with planning our cohousing community. Our development consultant, Christine Pacini of SHS Consultants, led our first Visioning Workshop on February 8th with TECO members and prospective members participating equally enthusiastically.

“We wanted to hear from everyone what kind of community they wanted to live in,” said Christine.  “To start, no constraints or tradeoffs should limit what you submit,” she said in the lead-up to the workshop. “Dream Big”. So dream big, we did.

The workshop, held at the Centre for Social Innovation, was one of four information-gathering exercises Christine designed.   Before the session we were all asked to submit favourite images of housing design, features, textures, and colours, and the assembled collection included everything from warm wood interior finishes, community gardens, and solar panels, to the fabulous architectural exteriors of Hundertwasser’s buildings in Europe.

Each participant also had to come up with fifty ideas – no constraints — for what you’d want when TECO is built.  Many found it quite a challenge, but a good one.

The workshop itself included a primer on design principles, drawing on permaculture practice and an empathetic design exercise in which blindfolded participants had to assemble a wood puzzle by listening to instructions from others. The many feature ideas submitted in advance were grouped — Common House Preferences, Private Unit Preferences, Building Design and Materials, and Grounds & Outdoor Features – and we all indicated priorities. Participants also had the chance to indicate least-favoured and most-favoured neighbourhoods on the Location, Location, Location map.

Christine now has the challenge of assembling all of the input into a draft “vision” which will be a key element of TECO’s first business plan.  Fortunately a lot of consensus was apparent on what the group is looking for, and the differences will be the focus of work we’ll have to do to find a consensus in designing our community in the next few months. Don’t miss this opportunity to get involved!

The final report, due later this year, will give TECO initial estimates of costs and high-level design concepts for what can be done on some potential sites in the downtown west end.  This will set the stage for hiring a realtor, architects, and other professionals to start the design and development phase.

It’s exciting to be moving, step-by-step towards our dream, with all the thinking, planning, and adjusting entailed along the way. We’d love to have you join us to design and build our community together.