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Planning for Sustainable Communities

Betsy Morris, PhD

Qualifications, Experience, and Clients

I am principal consultant and majority owner of Planning for Sustainable Communities a boutique consulting practice begun in 1996.  It became a partnership in 2006 when Raines Cohen and I married, and merged our respective businesses and our lives. 

We offer a mix of applied research, writing,  data management, planning, social media, and related technical assistance for geographical and online community development. 

More specifically, we help people and groups in the planning and development of social enterprises such as cohousing, coworking, housing and worker cooperatives, and ecovillages. We have a particular interest in the financing of local investments that can foster a more cooperative, ecological, and economically sustainable world. 

Our clients are a mix of businesses and nonprofits, individuals, and small groups. To see more of the projects we lead, go to East Bay Cohousing, Cohousing California, Future of Community and Cohousing Coaches.  To learn more about Raines go to his site, 

My Background and Credentials:  In my 20's I was inspired by the experience of cooperative community in the house I shared with others, in the social justice work of union and community organizers, in the worker coops, and the redesign of downtown Providence that started while I lived there.  

My curiosity led me to return to school to design a BA in Urban Studies and Small Group Dynamics, work a bit in Washington, DC, and then come out to California for a Masters degree and eventually, a PhD in City & Regional Planning, from UC Berkeley.

Community - what that feels like, why it emerges, how it grows and develops, and how that empowers people to foster a more just world -- that continues to inspire me. I continue tracking how people use its flow as a creative source of innovation and power in our lives. 

I have worked with grassroots community development corporations, partnering with city agencies, sitting on public commissions and committees, and on nonprofit boards, studying, listening, talking, writing, preparing plans, designing proposals, managing projects and programs. 

These days I focus on projects that will have an impact on transit access, urban food systems, and the development and financing of cooperative housing and intentional communities such as cohousing, coworking, and the sharing economy.  

Get in touch If you'd like to explore working together!


You can use this page to drop Betsy or Raines a line. Alternatively, text 510-842-6224.