Our Vision

Thriving communities where all people have a decent quality of life,

living in harmony with each other and their ecosystem.

Our Mission

Building the capacity of community leaders, planners and developers

to enable innovative and regenerative design

for the development of sustainable human settlements.

Our Why

Our conventional human settlement development models are



Ecologically, they are contributing to high amounts of carbon emissions,

pollution and waste, and are energy and resource intensive


Socially, they create feelings of isolation and separateness and

many people feel powerless to develop their own housing solutions


Economically, housing and land has become unaffordable for most,

leading to financial stress, insecurity, and inaccessibility


In light of these challenges, we have opportunities

for creative and collaborative solutions to develop our communities in a better way

  • Diverse Stakeholder Engagement Expertise

    We have over 25 years experience in community-led development working with diverse stakeholders such as multi-cultural groups, community organisations, schools, corporates, local government, and the European Union

  • Sustainable Development Expertise

    We have over a decade of experience in training and creating permaculture and regenerative systems in urban and rural environments. We partner with experts in various fields to ensure projects have the right technical expertise.

  • Guided by Ethics & Principles

    The ethics of earth care, people care and fair share as well as regenerative and living systems principles  guide our work.  We enable projects that are life-enriching, create the least harm, and empowering for all those involved.

  • Whole Systems Approach

    We understand that successful systems change requires understanding the interconnectedness of all the elements within a place and building collective capacity.   With design and systems thinking we develop regenerative solutions to complex problems.

  • Continuous Learning and Feedback Loops

    We build into our designs continuous learning and reflection.  We explore new paradigms and ways of doing development that are"not business as usual" and that tap into international, local, and indigenous best practice and innovation.

  • Joyful & Passionate

    We do our our work with a spirit of joy, optimism, and passion for making the world a better place. We bring a sense of fun, collaboration, and possibility when working with leaders and teams.  


Brad White

Connected Living Advocate

Co-Founder of Cambridge Co-Housing

Wealth of knowledge

Zola (Sam) has huge knowledge about alternative housing - both local and global issues.  She is well connected in the alternative housing area and through those connections brings a wealth of knowledge to events and courses.  She is an excellent facilitator both in small and large groups and is able to elicit responses and input from all group members.

Anja O'Connor


Upper Clutha Tiny House Community Project

Rich insight into community development

Zola cleared up my most urgent questions regarding our Upper Clutha Tiny House Community project. She also gave me a rich insight into the big task of community development from the ground up. For this daunting task, to shape our way of living and thriving, Zola is amongst the experts we need to build strong and connected communities to create our future the best way possible. I'm looking forward to learning more from Zola and Common Ground.

Greer O'Donnell

Urban Strategist with Urban Advisory

Co-Founder of Society for Alternative Housing Development

Passion for housing justice

Zola (Sam) has a significant level of knowledge about the topic of alternative housing and has an obvious passion for housing justice. Her work in developing learning guides for us has been excellent - demonstrating her ability to communicate the key aspects required to deliver alternative housing solutions

Common Ground 

Whakatū/Nelson, Aotearoa/New Zealand│Director, Zola Rose (027) 449-0422kiaora@commonground.net.nz

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