Cohousing Pioneer to Speak in Des Moines: “Cohousing, Community and the Value of Custom Neighborhoods”

Charles Durrett

Charles Durrett

Charles Durrett, an award-winning architect and leader in the North American cohousing movement, will present an overview of the cohousing concept of building community at 7:00 pm on Thursday, July 14 in Des Moines, IA at the Windsor Heights Community Center. The presentation is open to the public and is located at 6900 School Street, next to Colby Park (69th Street south of University Avenue). It will be of particular interest to community builders, neighborhood associations, architects, green builders, city planners and community-conscious people who want to create better neighborhoods. This presentation is sponsored by Turtle Farm Cohousing Community, Indigo Dawn, Silent Rivers and RDG Planning & Design.

In addition to gaining general knowledge of cohousing, attendees will learn about a current local initiative to build such a community. Those interested in being part of this initiative, the Turtle Farm Cohousing Community, will be invited to view the property at an upcoming open house.

What is Cohousing?

Cohousing is “intentionally building community.”  Cohousing neighborhoods are composed of privately owned homes clustered around shared open space and common facilities. The common house is the heart of the community, designed for events such as group dinners, children’s play, fireplace gatherings, guest lodging, gardening, and yoga. Cars are kept to the exterior of the site, making the neighborhood pedestrian-friendly and safe for children. The future residents are involved in the design so that it reflects their needs and priorities. Environmental sustainability is a core value in cohousing projects.

What is Turtle Farm Cohousing Community (TFCC)?

Turtle Farm is a 20-acre, privately owned, certified organic fruit and vegetable farm in Granger, Iowa. Owner Angela Tedesco has been operating this farm as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for the past 13 years. Others have joined her in forming TFCC, LLC to support this cohousing project.

The Turtle Farm Cohousing Community envisions a new model for urban agriculture that places cohousing on the non-farmed portions of the land. The community owns the farm in common, so that it can continue to exist as a farm to feed the community, or to remain as an income-generating resource, serving residents of central Iowa.

About Charles Durrett

An architect by training, Charles Durret brought the idea of cohousing to the United States about twenty-five years ago from Denmark.  While living there and attending the Royal Academy of Art and Architecture, Durrett and his wife Kathryn McCamant were intrigued by distinctively friendly, inviting, active neighborhoods called “living communities” and began studying them.  McCamant & Durrett Architects have since designed and consulted in 50 cohousing communities.  Now there are 120 cohousing neighborhoods in the US and Canada and almost 100 more in some stage of development.  They are the authors of the recently released bookCreating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities (third edition).  Durrett also wrote Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living—The Handbook (now in its second edition). Find out more at

About Indigo Dawn

Indigo Dawn, LLC is a development company that generates progressive community-wide solutions, promoting and encouraging sustainable lifestyles. Indigo Dawn collaborators include: historic rehabilitation experts, business strategists, sustainability educators, communication specialists and event managers. Our mission: to create sustainable communities and to teach others how. Indigo Dawn – Developing a New Way, 735 19th Street, Ste 2, Des Moines, IA 50314

About Silent Rivers Design + Build

Silent Rivers, Inc is a design and construction firm that specializes in authentic well-managed residential solutions. Over 18 years strong, Silent Rivers has received national awards for best practices in design, renovation and business stewardship. Building Inspiration – Bringing People Home, offices located at 9205 Swanson Blvd, Clive, IA 50325

RDG Planning & Design.  RDG designs spaces that fit the way people live, work, play and learn. Our core values are building relationships on respect and trust; bringing passion, energy and creativity to every project; leading the way with technology and sustainability; and being actively involved in the communities we serve. We’re architects, landscape architects, engineers, artists and planners with a passion for design and a drive to make a difference.


– Tizzy Hyatt is a grant writer and event planner for Indigo Dawn. She does not appreciate long Monday meetings.

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