Starting an Intentional Community

For those starting or curious about starting an Intentional Community we have put together resources to give you a starting point.  Communities come in different intentions and sizes and they take plenty of work to form.  We're here to encourage and help those who have that desire.

Starting a Community Takes Time

Compared to getting a roof over your head, forming an Intentional Community takes much more time and effort. For some groups, it can take just a couple of months to form a community, while for others, it might take years. The results can be very rewarding though. After a while, instead of experiencing it as work, it will simply become a way of life. Too often the formation stage is rushed or under-planned. But the more time you spend on it, the more fruitful your community will become. Planning, learning, and practicing core skillsets will make a big difference and we strongly encourage it.

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Communities Come in Different Intentions and Sizes

Intentional communities (ICs) are voluntary residential communities designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. ICs can be seen as social/communal experiments and they came in many different intentions and sizes. 

This umbrella term encapsulates a broad range of living arrangements ranging from Cohousing which is a type of large-scale (multi-million dollar) residential project to smaller Shared Housing arrangements with a group of people sharing a single-family home. Then there are many variations in between, such as: Eco-VillagesCo-LivingKibbutzim, Collective Households, Cohousing Communities, Co-Living, Ecovillages, Monasteries, KibbutzimHutterites, Ashrams, and Housing Cooperatives

Here are just a couple of popular types for illustration.

Cohousing
Ecovillage
Cooperative House (single-family)
Cooperative House (single-family)

Common Characteristics

Intentional Communities (ICs) have common traits that make them what they are, as opposed to just a neighborhood of random people for example. Many other traits can be listed but this is meant to give you a general idea based on the more common ones that help shape and define a typical IC.

Membership

Membership

Communities are a group that governs themself and decide who can join. This helps them maintain cohesion and assures that the people joining are a good fit to be part of the group. This helps the group choose people that will uphold the group's values and norms.

Governance

Self Governance

Communities typically have a way to self-govern themself, otherwise, it would be difficult to work together towards the shared values and goals that the group has. Common governance styles include Sociocracy or consensus decision-making. Keep in mind that different hybrids of these models exist too.

Values

Shared Values and Vission

Communities have shared values or core principles that bring members together. They can range from as simple to just living together in harmony to more grand utopian visions. Some examples of shared values that bring communities together include having a greater sense of connection, spiritual beliefs, to living in tune with the environment.

Consider Starting a Cooperative House

Communities need to be housed somewhere of course and there are many options. In an effort to help more communities form we have put together a page introducing Cooperative Homes.  Compared to other types of communities, they make use of already existing homes (rent or purchase) therefore lowering the barrier to entry.

We're Here To Help

Resources

Browse Our Resources

  • Check out our Resource Page which has a range of information to get you going. 
  • We also recommend checking out the online course for Starting a Community presented by FIC which is a live course led by an instructor.  Very helpful as a starting point and they offer many other online courses worth checking out.
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Have Questions? Let's Talk

  • Please browse through the resources provided from the above links.
  • Afterward, feel free to reach out by sending us a message (contact form at bottom of this page) if you have questions about getting started. But keep in mind that we are a volunteer organization, we'll do our best to answer questions but our resources are limited. If we don't have an answer for you we'll do our best to point you in the right direction.
FB-Group

RSVP to Our Next Community Gathering

  • Come join one of our upcoming Community Gathering events (Spring and Fall each year) which are a great place to meet seekers looking to join a community.
  • You can learn quite a bit about starting a community from those that are a part of one and discuss what has worked for them and what didn't.
  • Also, each event has guest speakers or workshops which can help you along in your journey.
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Browse Our Directory

  • Once you're ready you can post a listing to our directory for the community you are starting. This will help you attract new members to help you along the way or move in once it's ready. 

Stay Connected

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Connect Through Our Newsletter or Facebook

  • Sign up for our newsletter to stay connected and receive updates in your inbox. The newsletter includes announcements of our upcoming Community Gathering, any new directory listings (a great way to find new members), and various other updates.
  • You may also follow us on Facebook for similar updates if newsletters are not your thing.

Let's Talk

When writing to us please keep in mind that we're a volunteer-operated organization. We'll do our best to answer questions but our resources are limited. If we don't have an answer for you we'll do our best to point you in the right direction.  Also, we aim to reply in a timely matter but sometimes you might experience delays, please bear with us.

Board Members

Florian

Florian

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Jonathan

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Lorna

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Other Contributors

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Join the team - we are a volunteer-operated nonprofit and could always use a hand to help us grow and fulfill our mission. Various skills and talents are welcome and we would love to hear from you.