Cohousing in the United States owes a great deal of credit to architects Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant. They visited Denmark in 1984 and lived in some of the many cohousing communities there. It was at a slide show they presented in Denmark that Tierra Nueva founding members Frank and Stephanie first heard of cohousing. When Chuck and Katie returned to the U.S. to begin work on their cohousing book, Frank and Stephanie, as well as Rich and Cecelia, attended their first U.S. cohousing slide show in Palo Alto. It was there that the spark for cohousing in San Luis Obispo County was ignited. Chuck and Katie were invited to San Luis Obispo to present their slide show, and the San Luis Obispo Cohousing Group swelled to over 50 members.
The group simultaneously prepared a common vision of the community they wanted to live in and began their search for a site on which to build. This was in 1988. It took nine years of meetings, retreats and community-building fun to bring us to completion of Tierra Nueva. We began construction during 1997 and the last house was completed in February of 1999.
Polly Cooper and Ken Haggard of the San Luis Obispo Solar Group, leaders in solar design in the area designed the site plan and structures. Wonderland Development Corporation, who have helped many successful cohousing projects in the United States, was our co-developer. J.W. Design & Construction, Inc. was our contractor.