Steve Fick on 25 Years of Living in Community

Episode 11: Steve Fick on 25 Years of Living in Community

“This didn’t feel like much of a community when we moved in. And now everybody says, ‘Ah, this is such a great place to live!’”

Steve Fick

 Steve Fick has lived at Terra Firma, one of the Ottawa-region’s only cohousing communities, for more than 25 years, and is one of its founders. From shared meals, to shared tools, to neighbourhood-wide street parties and art tours, his insights from a lifetime of centring community are the inspiration we all need to seek more “us” in our lives! 

A painting of Terra Firma Cohousing co-founder Steve Fick is centred on the turquoise episode artwork for Life Without Us podcast episode ten. The episode title appears in a yellow box with turquoise writing: Steve Fick on 25 Years of Living in Community.
Painting by Steve Fick

In Steve Fick on 25 Years of Living in Community:

  • The organizing journey that allowed the Terra Firma co-founders to build enough faith and trust in each other and the concept that one couple bought into the project site unseen when the right property surfaced
  • How Terra Firma’s residents turned six residences into seven, plus a common space, and an oasis of a shared backyard right in the middle of an existing single-family home neighbourhood in Ottawa, Ontario 
  • The benefits for parents, children (and later grandchildren!) of raising a family in a cohousing community 
  • Insights on managing conflict in a manner that balances quick, effective repair with the human need for pause using skills like non-violent communication and compassionate listening, and having a budget for a mediator 
  • How an entire neighbourhood joined together in a street party to celebrate Terra Firma Cohousing’s 25 year anniversary. A gathering that Steve describes as “a little piece of heaven”
  • Steve’s latest co-created community project: The Old Ottawa East Art Tour 
  • Why there’s no room for new members in Terra Firma (hint: because all the original founders are still there!)

Find Steve: 


Find Other Episode References:

Old Ottawa East’s Terra Firma Celebrating 25 Years

Cohousing is a potentially key way to combat loneliness — but it’s difficult to get off the ground

Non-Violent Communication

Canadian Cohousing Network 

Old Ottawa East Art Tour 

No One Should Have to Live a Life Without Us

On the Life Without Us podcast, Valery Navarrete shared two seasons of stories about community and connection to inspire more of us to have more “us” in our lives.

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