Intentional Communities Come in Different Intentions and Sizes
An intentional community is a voluntary residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. They can be seen as social/communal experiments and they came in many different shapes and intentions. The multitude of intentional communities includes collective households, cohousing communities, coliving, ecovillages, monasteries, kibbutzim, Hutterites, ashrams, and housing cooperatives.
Here are just a couple of popular types for illustration.
Shared Values and Vission
Intentional Communities consist of members that have shared values that they work towards.
Besides shared values and vision, communities typically have a way to self-govern themself. Common governance styles include consensus decision-making or a hybrid of it. But there are other governance styles too.
Values, vision, and governance - are all great things to form an intentional community but all of these need a physical structure to house them. There are many options, some require large capital and are akin to a small residential construction project if you're trying to build a cohousing community from scratch. Other community types make use of already existing structures by renting out or purchasing a home.
Starting a Community Takes Time
Compared to getting a roof over your head, forming a cooperative household takes much more time and energy. Some groups can form in just a couple of months while for others it might take over a year. The results can be very rewarding though, and after a while, instead of experiencing it as work it simply becomes 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 household will be. Planning plus learning and practicing core skillsets will make a big difference.
Consider Starting a Cooperative House
In an effort to help more communities form we have put together a page to encourage the formation of cooperative homes. Cooperative homes make use of already existing homes and have a lower barrier to entry which makes them great for anyone interested in starting with something easier.
We're Here To Help
We recommend checking out the online course for Starting a Community presented by Foundation for Intentional Communities. They also have other related online courses worthy to check out. Additionally, you can browse their Full 200+ resource hub.
We also invite you to view our full resource page for more.
Have Questions? Let's Talk
Please browse through the resources provided and feel free to reach out and send us a message if you have questions about getting started. That being said keep in mind that we are a volunteer organization and we will do our best to answer questions but our resources are limited. Although we might not have all the answers to your questions we'll do our best to point you in the right direction.
We host our Community Gatherings events (1-3 days in length) twice a year which are a great place to meet both seekers and members of established communities. 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.
Post to Our Directory
Once you're ready you can make use of our directory and post a listing to our directory for the community you are starting. This will help you attract members (and pioneers to help you get started).
When writing please keep in mind that we're a volunteer-operated organization and we'll write back as soon as we can but there might take a bit sometimes.
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 welcomed and we would love to hear from you.