"Creating a new community way of living in Tulsa,
where neighbors become friends."
By now I am sure that you have heard that one of the founders of of the US cohousing movement is coming to Tulsa, but today we wanted to talk a little bit more about the woman behind the movement, Katie McCamant.

Read on to learn about her life, how she discovered cohousing, and why she never wants to leave her cohousing neighborhood.
Katie's Story. . .
Living in Community Has Always Been Second Nature
The first five years of Katie's life were spent in graduate student housing at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. The university had repurposed of Navy barracks to accommodate its graduate student families. Right off the get-go Katie was surrounded by an active and involved community, where children had space to play together and parents had support from their peers.

After leaving Washington, her family moved to Denver, CO. Although they settled into a single-family home on a large lot, their street was a lively community not so different than that of the student housing they had just come from. Everyone knew all of their neighbors, the kids would run from house to house playing, and there was always something social happening in the street.

"I always feel like I was the last generation that didn't have structured after school activities. Our only rule was to be back by dinner time, so all the kids would run and play until dark" Says Katie.
Katie (far right), on the construction site of Wolf Creek Lodge in Grass Valley, CA, 2012
Finding Cohousing
During college she decided she wanted to go to architecture school, and that she wanted to spend time in Europe. Being the clever girl that she was, she found a way to do both at the same time. She enrolled in the architecture school at DIS, the program for Danish International Studies.

Upon arriving in Denmark she quickly realized that architecture was approached in a completely different way in than in the US. The discussion of "housing" always came before the discussion of "a house". The Danes have a long history of studying how housing and neighborhoods impact health, and how a social life ties into that. The program's curriculum followed that line of study, and offered many tours to observe various housing methods. It was on one of these tours that she encountered her first "cohousing" community. Of course, it was not called cohousing, it was called bofaellsskaber, a Danish word that translates to "living communities".
Saettedammen, the world's first bofaellsskaber, Established in 1972 in Denmark
She witnessed a group of people coming together with the mission of creating a better neighborhood. This was not a governmental program, and had no ties to business or financial motives. It was a completely private model of creating neighborhoods, propelled by individuals who were coming together to create a better way of living. They understood that community comes from the ground up, and not from a single developer creating a collection of homes or condos and then filling them. The idea mirrored our American values, and reminded Katie of the way in which we settled the west, small groups of people working together to create a better life. The idea just made sense, and reminded her of the social neighborhoods she had grown up in. She wondered why she had never come across a community like this in the US, surely they had to exist?
The Beginning of a Movement
Katie returned home to continue her architecture studies at the University of California Berkeley. She was eager to discuss the housing methods she had witnessed in Denmark, but it seemed that no one could relate to what she was talking about. She quickly realized that the reason she had never come across a bofaellsskaber community in the US was because no one had ever heard of it. In fact, there wasn't even an English word for the idea. So, she and her (then) husband, Chuck Durrett, created one; "cohousing."

After graduating, she and Chuck made their way back to Denmark, this time to study cohousing specifically. They learned from the Danish grandfather of cohousing, architect Jan Gudmand-Hoyer, and spent time living in various communities, observing all the details of the community building process. In 1988 she coauthored the first book about cohousing in English, Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. It spread rapidly and organically from hand to hand, friend to friend. The movement had begun.
In 1991 she co-created the very first US cohousing community, Muir Commons in Davis, California. She immediately began the development of the second cohousing community, and one year later Katie, Chuck, and their 1 year old daughter moved into Doyle Street Cohousing in Berkeley, California. Muir Commons and Doyle Street served as living examples of what was possible. They attracted people who were interested in living in a more socially and environmentally sustainable way, while still having their own private homes. Put those two together and they become so much stronger than they are individually.
Left: Katie facilitating a design workshop for Muir Commons
Right: Katie and her new born daughter, Jessie, on the Doyle Street construction site.
Living in Cohousing
Katie has been living in American cohousing communities since the late 1992, and has had the support of community through every part of her adult life: as a new mother, as a parent launching her own business, as the mother of a teenager, and now as an empty nester planning for her third act. To Katie, living anywhere other than cohousing was out of the question.

"I knew that if I wanted to have a family and be an architect I was going to need more support than I would be able to find while living in a single-family home." Said Katie "I have a very large, very close family with over 20 siblings and cousins spread out all over, all of whom I am close with. But with my closest relative living several hours away I knew that I would never be able to rely on them to pick my daughter up after school if I was stuck in a meeting, or check on me if they suspect I never left my house in the morning."
Katie and her neighbor in the common house kitchen Nevada City cohousing, where she has lived for the last 15 years
Coming to Tulsa
Katie has been working with Heartwood Commons to develop a community that facilitates successful aging in place for the 55+ community. While this is the first cohousing community in Tulsa, Katie worked with Oak Creek Commons in Stillwater, as well as several other communities that focus on the needs of active adults. Now, she is brining that expertise to Tulsa.

The Heartwood Commons group has worked passionately on creating this neighborhood to bring a higher standard of living to themselves and their peers.

We got to speak with founding member, Suzy Sharp, about what it has been like to watch this dream take form:
"We've all come to cohousing for our own individual reasons. But one of the biggest draws is to be able to live in an old-fashioned like neighborhood where we know our neighbors and look out for one another. We also understand that where we live now may not meet our needs later, so we are planning ahead now.
Most of us didn't know each other when we first got started. Over time, we've learned to work together and trust one another. It's been an amazing experience to collaboratively design Heartwood Commons. Together we've designed a beautiful community that's not like anything else in the Tulsa area. We are so excited to reveal the designs for Heartwood Commons and give people another choice for where they live and how they live."
The Upcoming Event and Site Tour
Your Future • Your Choice • Your Home
Saturday, October 12th, 2:00
Zarrow Pointe Auditorium, 2025 E 71st St, Tulsa

Katie McCamant share how people all around the country are pro-actively creating communities that better support successful aging with friends nearby. Co-author of the book, Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities, Kathryn helped introduce the cohousing neighborhood concept to North America more than 30 years ago. As an architect and developer, she has helped dozens of groups, including Heartwood Commons in Tulsa, create neighborhoods that truly meet their needs, balancing their desires for independent living in their own home with the benefits of community living.
Kathryn’s presentation will be followed by a reception during which Heartwood Commons will unveil the designs for their new community. Meet Kathryn, Heartwood Commons community members, and the local design team to learn more about how these ideas are being implemented locally. 
Open House at Heartwood Commons
Sunday, October 13th, 1:00-3:00pm
7141 S. Quincy Ave, Tulsa

Stroll the future site of Heartwood Commons and visit with Kathryn McCamant, national cohousing expert, and community members. Ask questions and imagine the possibilities of living in this close-knit neighborhood where you will enjoy your privately owned home, generous common amenities, and connections right outside your front door.
Want to Learn More About Cohousing?
The Cohousing Association of the US is a great resource!

Cohousing is catching on everywhere in the world. And Cohousing.org gives you a wonderful way to find out more about the issues that concern cohousers everywhere. Sign up for their electronic newsletter to receive a twice monthly informative newsletter.
Learn More About Heartwood Commons
We're a local group of friendly, engaged and proactive adults who are working together to create Tulsa’s first cohousing community – a vibrant neighborhood where neighbors know and care about one another. We welcome you to come see our site, ask us questions, get to know the community, and participate in our meetings.
If you’ve been thinking about cohousing and you’d like to help create the community, literally, now’s the time get involved.
See our HOW TO GET INVOLVED page on our website.
Or call us at: ( 918) 519-5298.

The Land That Will Become Heartwood Commons

For more information about Heartwood Commons, check out our website , follow us on Facebook , call Suzy Sharp at
918-519-5298 or email heartwoodcommonstulsa@gmail.com .

Please note: for the time being, you'll also receive periodic emails from CoHousing Solutions , our development consultant. Their newsletters contain information about the cohousing movement and developments across the country.