In September 2017 two families started searching for a feasible site and learning all we can about creating a cohousing community. Over time we have grown to 15 households committed to making Cohousing ABQ a reality. We are an intergenerational group dedicated to creating community. Read our bios below and get to know us.
Marlies, Setso, Milo and Lena
Marlies grew up in a cohousing community and has always had a dream of moving back into one. Marlies wishes for her kids the same independence she had when running around in a group of kids all day long. Marlies has a passion for healthy living, nutrition and local food and enjoys camping and hiking. She has a professional background in the field of landscape architecture and serves as the local project manager for the Cohousing ABQ group. Marlies trained as a master gardener in Albuquerque and attended the Las Huertas regenerative farmers program at Rio Grande Community Farms. She is looking forward to growing food with neighbors for community meals.
Setso loves hosting Soltice parties and hopes that they will become a tradition in our future community. Setso also cooks great Bulgarian dips with a New Mexico twist (green chile). He is a computer scientist in Albuquerque.
Milo is a First Grader at a public Montessori school. He loves Legos and letting his phantasy run wild in the Rio Grande bosque or the local mountains.
Lena is four and loves singing, dancing and roaming the outdoors as part of her outdoor preschool class.
Maggie was an Instructor in the Sustainability Studies Program at UNM until 2014. She created and taught courses on energy efficiency, started a campus wide recycling program, developed courses on Co-ops As a Business Model, installed a Farmer's Market and placed the Grab N Go food Co-op on campus. She was elected to the LaMontanita Co-op Board of Directors in 2018.
In 2001, she co-founded The Sustain Ability Trust which provided community classes on water catchment, grey water recycling, bulk purchasing, natural building, backyard gardening, adobe and straw bale building. Desiring to live more cooperatively, she co-founded EcoVila Cunha in Brazil in 2004 using permaculture principles. She gave three Transition Towns trainings in Albuquerque and has collaborated on CO2 Mitigation campaigns through TransitionABQ.
Aaron, Olivia, August and Oona
Olivia grew up in Poland, and came to the United States as a teenager not knowing any English. She was able to go to school thanks to athletics. She is still passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle. She now runs a forest school group here in Albuquerque, and stays home with their two kids.
Aaron is from East Texas, and enjoys DIY projects that he learns from Youtube. Both Olivia and Aaron have a passion for DIY, thrifting, fixing, and living frugally.
August is 4 and Oona is 2.
Johnnee and Joan, Lissa and Salley
Johnnee has gardened for more than 20 years close to the Rio Grande with a no pesticide, feed the soil motto...learned from experience and Bernalillo/Sandoval County Master Gardener, Composter, and Preserver training. Her volunteer efforts include Seed2Need, Garden2Table, fruit gleanings to provide fresh vegetables and fruits to local food banks and neighbors.
She supports the NM Seedling program to grow native plants, creating diverse wildlife nesting and food environment, and has worked at Santa Ana Native Plants. Her experience and conservation passion will help us attain Certification for Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary and Pollinator Garden in our future community site.
Joan is an constant reader who has bought and sold used and antiquarian books for many years. She will be spotted at every church sale, garage sale and community sale searching for hidden book treasures. She’s a Friend of the Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Corrales Public Libraries and will help create a library in our common house. She learned pickleball at the Barelas Community Center and will be seeking partners to play at the SV Multi-purpose Senior Center.
Johnnee and Joan have been together for over 20 years.
Photo taken at Whole Heart Farm (just down the street from our future community).
Lissa grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and loves her work helping people live better lives in their bodies and teaching other bodyworkers how to work smarter not harder. Her favorite mode of transportation is her electric bike and she appreciates having the opportunity through the cohousing community to play with children and to get to know other people. When not working, she enjoys nature, the teachings of the Buddha, working out, traveling a bit and having a margarita!
Salley is a reformed army brat who grew up moving frequently and now appreciates feeling planted in a single city. She is a coach who works with managers who want to be really good at leading their organizations. When not working she likes running, biking, watching a wide variety of movies, but especially ones where you can’t predict the ending, and the occasional trip to bigger cities with big museums, big buildings and bigger shopping experiences ;-)
Lissa and Salley have been together for nearly 17 years.
Penina is a veteran massage therapist and early childhood teacher who looks forward to growing food and enjoying it with others. She is socially motivated to get out and hike, bike, practice yoga ...you name it! She likes singing, dancing and theater and is pursuing Spanish/English interpreting.
Penina has farmed in the South Valley and was a board member of Erda Gardens. She was a bilingual teacher with South Valley children at both Atrisco and Los Padillas Elementary Schools. Penina was among the pioneers at Casa Armijo on Isleta before it became a Charter School.
Kevin, Marygold, Huck and Auggie
Kevin, Marygold, Huck and Auggie moved to Albuquerque just a few years ago. They love to be active outside together, biking, hiking, and camping.
Kevin grew up on a tree farm. He works/plays at Explora children’s museum where he enjoys investigating scientific phenomena with kids of all ages. He loves to play soccer, and will do so any chance he gets, including coaching his son’s team.
Marygold loves to run, read, and garden, and is learning to play the piano. She is a sociologist and professor at UNM. Her work regularly brings her to South America, where she does research on rural development, food and agriculture systems, and resilience to climate change.
Huck is in the 4th grade. He loves to read, play chess and sports, especially soccer, and playing with his friends.
Auggie is in the 1st grade. He likes to run, jump, bicycle, climb trees and play soccer and chess.
Elisabeth and Jim
Elisabeth grew up in Belgium and arrived in the US as an exchange student in her late teens. Settling in New York City, she earned a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics and has dedicated her professional life to improving the health of children. She is delighted that her two children and four granddaughters share her love of nature, passion for sustainable living and desire to make this world a better place. She is passionate about growing food and enjoys running, hiking, visiting beautiful places, cooking exotic dishes and baking sour-dough bread.
Jim enjoys cooking, travel, and hiking. Recent trips have taken him and Elisabeth to the coast of Portugal for hiking, to New Zealand’s South Island for rafting, and to Norway for exploring the fjords. He is proud of the work he has done over the years assisting people to improve their relationships, both as a marriage and family therapist and as a teacher of therapists. He enjoys visits with his son and grandchildren who live in Seattle. Jim looks forward to living in community with those who share his sustainable living values.
Elisabeth and Jim met while hiking in the Manzano mountains and have shared a life together for 14 years.
The Air Force brought Jim and Mary to Albuquerque 25 years ago and the people, mountains, green chile and weather kept them here.
Mary helps with her grandchild and loves soccer and hiking. She also loves kayaking and volunteers with Kayak New Mexico, an adaptive kayaking program for kids and adults with disabilities.
Jim is retired Air Force and is still involved in the Air Force community at work and enjoys bowling and beer.
They are looking forward to being involved in a cooperative community.
Mary and Jim
Kathe was born and raised in Denmark. As a young adult she attended a language school in England and lived and worked in a kibbutz in Israel (some similarities to cohousing). A later adventure took her to America where she worked in New York and Los Angeles. Eventually, she settled in New Mexico, where she raised her son and daughter. She has a son in Albuquerque and a daughter in Washington DC where she is raising Kathe’s first grandchild. Kathe retired after a long career in special education. She is passionate about traveling, hiking, playing tennis, food and the arts. She has fun playing games and expressing herself in creative ways.
Jeff and Stacey
Stacey has lived many places in the mountain West, and arrived in Albuquerque in 2002. After many years of working in hair salons, she and a coworker have purchased the men's salon where they worked, and are now enthusiastic small business owners. She has a passion for seeking out hidden places and activities in the west, and for all things related to coffee.
Jeff has had a wandering career as a physicist who studies the upper atmosphere and Northern lights. After spending almost a decade in the arctic - Alaska and Norway, he works as a researcher at Kirtland AFB and has been in Albuquerque since 2010. He has played drums since elementary school and enjoys all types of music with great drumming. Stacey and Jeff are interested in sustainable living and being part of a like-minded community.
Growing up in Canada, Anne discovered she had a deep desire for community and working together for everyone’s best interest. That seems to inform her style of working, living, connecting and managing in the world. Her degrees, facilitative training, management, volunteer experience and documentary film producing include a commitment to building connection, trust and understanding among those involved.
In 2004, as a documentary filmmaker, Anne founded New Mexico based non-profit for filmmakers to learn, cooperate and help one another complete projects. She is a lifetime member of NM Women in Film and current Vice President, serving her second term on the Board.
Anne likes to learn, write, read, create, connect, converse, walk, stretch, help, support, laugh, nosh and learn some more. The vision, values, working with others and the practice of sociocracy as goverance for CoHousingABQ were big draws for Anne becoming a future neighbor. Plus neighbors welcome fun and humor. Yay!
Our Vision and Values
Our Vision is to build a resilient community that fosters healthy families and respects the environment.
We value the health
of the planet
so our goal is to live environmentally sustainable through design and practices.
We value our physical
and emotional health
so our goal is to live in a walkable and bikeable community with access to natural environments.
We value confident,
so our goal is to provide a nurturing and inspiring environment for them.
We value social connection
so our goal is to create a community that fosters supportive relationships through warmth, openness and understanding.
We value diverse beliefs, backgrounds and abilities
so our goal is to create an inclusive community where anybody sharing our vision and values is welcome.
We value mutual respect
so our goal is to adopt a consent based
We value living well
so our goal is to create a community that makes sustainable choices easy and comfortable to live with.
We value a responsible
so our goal is to experiment with growing our own food and supporting existing local food economies.
Our Story: It Takes a Village...
On a typical day, you get the kids ready and shuttle them to school. Then you rush through your workday, pick up the kids, and drive them to an after-school activity. Then you rush home and wonder what you should put on the table. Parents are harried, and kids are chauffeured from one structured adult-led activity to the next. Gone are the days when it was acceptable for children to just be home after school, to bike around the neighborhood, or to walk over to the playground to play with the neighborhood kids.
Not so in cohousing communities. Imagine, instead, that after a long day of work and school, you park your car and walk to your house past the common garden. Your child runs off to join the kids of all age groups who are playing together outside, while wafts of a simmering stew remind you that tonight is one of the weekly community dinners. You drop off your things at home and then walk down the path to your community’s common house for a homemade meal with your neighbors.
Cohousing ABQ aims to bring this vision to reality for families, couples, and singles of all ages in the Albuquerque area. In the words of Marlies Metodi, one of the founding members, the aim of Cohousing ABQ is to “bring a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable housing option to Albuquerque.”
Cohousing developments, which originated in Denmark, are intentional communities that strive for the spirit of a village in which people, young and old, can support each other in many aspects of daily life. Having grown up in one in Austria, Marlies always loved the idea of collaborative housing communities. When she and her husband, Tzvetan, shared this dream with their friends Kersti Tyson and Matt Sexton, the resounding “yes, let’s do this” helped get the idea off the ground here in Albuquerque. Both families wanted to build a cohousing community where children could enjoy freedom of movement with friends, surrounded by families, couples, and individuals who know one another and work together to care for common areas, collaborating to live in more ecologically friendly ways. As the two families started to investigate the possibilities around this vision, they determined that now was the time to move forward with this great and challenging undertaking. Cohousing ABQ was born. The founding members began the process of community formation and development by visiting other cohousing communities and speaking with cohousing development consultants, architects, and engineers.
Architecture by McCamant & Durrett Architects.
Photo Credit: McCamant & Durrett Architects.
Since Cohousing ABQ is starting from scratch and is at the planning phase, early members can influence the direction of the project. In identifying a location and designing the space, opportunities to interact are of prime importance. A core idea behind cohousing is to strike a balance between common areas and private areas — thus, while the homes are privately owned by each family, the community is designed around the idea of a village. Imagine houses arranged around a shared courtyard or open area; cars left at the periphery so that inside the community, there is room for people to connect in common areas; and a common house where neighbors meet for meals and activities. Neighbors take turns preparing meals and doing clean up together on a regular basis, and families can reserve places at the table a few days in advance. Throughout the week, neighbors can join game or movie nights, yoga classes, workshops or enjoy a conversation around the fireplace.
Photo Credit: McCamant & Durrett Architects.
As new members join, the group will use dynamic governance to decide on the community spaces they want to see, such as dining and meeting areas, as well as gardens or an adventure playground for children. Thus far, the founding members have identified shared values relating to environmental consciousness, sustainability, and diversity and are committed to incorporating these values into the design of the common house and dwelling units. Cohousing ABQ will aim to build to the Passive House standard (http://www.phius.org/phius-certification-for-buildings-products), to reserve common space for growing food, and to build homes that are comparable in price to other new homes in Albuquerque. What we are finding is that these ideals are compatible. For example, by thinking about energy efficiency from the start, we can keep utility bills very close to zero year round. In addition, community members can benefit from shared resources to reduce our carbon footprint. By collectively pooling resources, talents, and interests, people can share in cooking, childcare, gardening, and transportation.
Many of us have come to accept the reality that we can go months without interacting with a single neighbor. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Cohousing ABQ, at its core, is all about interconnectedness and the shared value of families living more sustainably as a community. As we have begun to experience, and social scientists confirm, our quality of life improves with daily social interactions and connections. Our aim is to work with others to bring this dream to reality.