Working Together to Build Community

Making decisions in a group can be challenging. A compassionate, skilled facilitator makes all the difference, holding a safe space in which participants feel emboldened to speak their truth; in which active listening builds community and connection while embracing diverse views; and from which emerge satisfying solutions that integrate the varied needs of all participants.

Over 25 years as a consulting cohousing architect, I have applied these skills to participatory design workshops, through which future neighbors work together to define their visions and design their communities. These same facilitation principles are valuable to any group (non-profit, business, municipal, etc.) engaging in decision-making or seeking greater understanding between members.


Everybody that participated in the development of Cohabitat Québec will tell you that Mary Kraus’ workshops were key moments in our history. Her skills in program design allowed us to realize the vision of our community. As the leader of the design committee, I witnessed, first hand, her competencies in cohousing design and architecture that helped us build a sustainable community. She put her vast knowledge of cohousing at the service of the community and she was very amenable to the practices and culture of our group.

Denis Côté, Cohabitat Québec

Your work on Takoma Village was a life saver! I’m still counting my blessings. Working with you gave the developer, the residents and the other architects the confidence to move forward with this phase of the design.

Takoma Village Cohousing Ann Zabaldo, Cohousing Coordinator and Consultant

I think your facilitation is excellent.  You guide, take charge as needed without being heavy handed, really hear and feed back what the group is saying, are flexible on your feet, and blend respect, humor, process, and task.  The process is resulting in our growing sense of relationship as a community as well as accomplishing work together.

Village Hill Cohousing Member of Village Hill Cohousing