Intentional community

Intentional community

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An intentional community is a planned residential community
Residential community
A residential community is a community, usually a small town or city, that is composed mostly of residents, as opposed to commercial businesses and/or industrial facilities, all three of which are considered to be the three main types of occupants of the typical community.Residential communities...

 designed to have a much higher degree of teamwork
Teamwork
Teamwork is action performed by a team towards a common goal. A team consists of more than one person, each of whom typically has different responsibilities....

 than other communities. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social
Social
The term social refers to a characteristic of living organisms...

, political, religious, or spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle
Alternative lifestyle
An alternative lifestyle is a lifestyle generally perceived to be outside the cultural norm. Usually, but not always, it implies an affinity or identification within some matching subculture...

. They typically also share responsibilities and resources. Intentional communities include cohousing
Cohousing
A cohousing community is a type of intentional community composed of private homes supplemented by shared facilities. The community is planned, owned and managed by the residents – who also share activities which may include cooking, dining, child care, gardening, and governance of the...

 communities, ecovillage
Ecovillage
Ecovillages are intentional communities with the goal of becoming more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Some aim for a population of 50–150 individuals. Larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals exist as networks of smaller subcommunities to create an ecovillage model that...

s, commune
Commune (intentional community)
A commune is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income. In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become...

s, survivalist retreats
Retreat (survivalism)
A retreat is a place of refuge for those in the survivalist subculture or movement. Retreats are also sometimes called Bug-Out Locations...

, kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

im, ashram
Ashram
Traditionally, an ashram is a spiritual hermitage. Additionally, today the term ashram often denotes a locus of Indian cultural activity such as yoga, music study or religious instruction, the moral equivalent of a studio or dojo....

s and some housing cooperative
Housing cooperative
A housing cooperative is a legal entity—usually a corporation—that owns real estate, consisting of one or more residential buildings. Each shareholder in the legal entity is granted the right to occupy one housing unit, sometimes subject to an occupancy agreement, which is similar to a lease. ...

s. Typically, new members of an intentional community are selected by the community's existing membership, rather than by real-estate agents or land owners (if the land is not owned collectively by the community).

Within intentional communities the above terms have different meanings compared to the legal forms of real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 ownership that may have the same name.

Purpose


The purposes of intentional communities vary. They may include sharing resources, creating family-oriented neighborhoods and living ecologically sustainable
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 lifestyles (ecovillage
Ecovillage
Ecovillages are intentional communities with the goal of becoming more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Some aim for a population of 50–150 individuals. Larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals exist as networks of smaller subcommunities to create an ecovillage model that...

s). Many intentional communities focus on the importance of living and sharing life together, as opposed to the perceived trend of independence in Western culture.

Types of communities


Some communities are secular; others have a spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 basis. One common practice, particularly in spiritual communities, is communal meals. Commonly there is a focus on egalitarian
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

 values. Other themes are voluntary simplicity, interpersonal growth
Human Potential Movement
The Human Potential Movement arose out of the social and intellectual milieu of the 1960s and formed around the concept of cultivating extraordinary potential that its advocates believed to lie largely untapped in all people...

, and self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency refers to the state of not requiring any outside aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy...

.

Some communities provide services to disadvantaged populations, for example, war refugees, the homeless, or people with developmental disabilities. Some communities operate learning or health centers. Other communities, such as Castanea of Nashville, TN, offer a safe neighborhood for those exiting rehab programs to live in. Some communities also act as a mixed-income neighborhood, so as to alleviate the damages of one demographic assigned to one area. Many intentional communities attempt to alleviate social injustices that are being practiced within the area of residence.

Types of memberships


Many communities have different types or levels of membership. Typically, intentional communities have a selection process which starts with someone interested in the community coming for a visit. Often prospective community members are interviewed by a selection committee of the community or in some cases by everyone in the community. Many communities have a "provisional membership" period. After a visitor has been accepted, a new member is "provisional" until they have stayed for some period (often six months or a year) and then the community re-evaluates their membership. Generally, after the provisional member has been accepted, they become a full member. In many communities, the voting privileges and/or community benefits for provisional members are less than those for full members.

Christian intentional communities are usually composed of those wanting to emulate the practices of the earliest believers. Using the biblical
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 book of Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 (and, often, the Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew...

) as a model, members of these communities strive for a practical outworking of their individual faith in a corporate context. These Christian intentional communities attempt to live out the teachings of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 and practice lives of compassion and hospitality.

A survey in the 1995 edition of the Communities Directory
Communities Directory
The Communities Directory, A Comprehensive Guide to Intentional Community provides listing of intentional communities primarily from North America but also from around the world...

,
published by Fellowship for Intentional Community
Fellowship for Intentional Community
The Fellowship for Intentional Community nurtures connections and cooperation among communitarians and their friends. It provides publications, referrals, support services, and sharing opportunities for a wide range of intentional communities, cohousing groups, ecovillages, community networks,...

 (FIC), reported that 54% of the communities choosing to list themselves were rural, 28% were urban, 10% had both rural and urban sites, and 8% did not specify.

Type of governance


The most common form of governance
Governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

 in intentional communities is democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 (64%), with decisions made by some form of consensus decision-making
Consensus decision-making
Consensus decision-making is a group decision making process that seeks the consent, not necessarily the agreement, of participants and the resolution of objections. Consensus is defined by Merriam-Webster as, first, general agreement, and second, group solidarity of belief or sentiment. It has its...

 or voting. Of the remainder, 9% have a hierarchical
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

 or authoritarian
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

 structure, 11% are a combination of democratic and hierarchical structure, and 16% do not specify. Many communities which were initially led by an individual or small group have changed in recent years to a more democratic form of governance.

See also


  • Amish
    Amish
    The Amish , sometimes referred to as Amish Mennonites, are a group of Christian church fellowships that form a subgroup of the Mennonite churches...

  • Co-operative living arrangements
    Co-operative living arrangements
    Co-operative living arrangements occur when three or more unrelated people chose to live together and share a common residential structure.Typically, in these co-ops, several people occupy a single dwelling unit, such as a large house, with each person having a private area, including a bedroom...

  • Cohousing
    Cohousing
    A cohousing community is a type of intentional community composed of private homes supplemented by shared facilities. The community is planned, owned and managed by the residents – who also share activities which may include cooking, dining, child care, gardening, and governance of the...

  • Communities magazine
    Communities magazine
    Communities: Life in Cooperative Culture is a primary resource for information, issues, and ideas about intentional communities in North America - from urban co-ops to cohousing groups to ecovillages to rural communes.-History:...

  • Diggers and Dreamers
    Diggers and Dreamers
    Diggers and Dreamers: The Guide to Communal Living is a primary resource for information, issues, and ideas about intentional communities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - from urban co-ops to cohousing groups to rural communes and low impact developments.-History:Since 1989...

  • Drop City
    Drop City
    Drop City was an artists' community that formed in southern Colorado in 1965. Abandoned by the early 1970s, it became known as the first rural "hippie commune".-Establishment:...

  • Eco-anarchism
  • EcoCommunalism
  • Egalitarian communities
    Egalitarian communities
    Egalitarian communities are groups of people who have chosen to live together, with egalitarianism as one of their core values. A broad definition of egalitarianism is "equal access to resources and to decision-making power." For example, decision-making is done by consensus or another system in...

  • Fellowship for Intentional Community
    Fellowship for Intentional Community
    The Fellowship for Intentional Community nurtures connections and cooperation among communitarians and their friends. It provides publications, referrals, support services, and sharing opportunities for a wide range of intentional communities, cohousing groups, ecovillages, community networks,...

  • List of intentional communities
  • Focolare´s Mariapolis
  • New Monasticism
    New Monasticism
    New Monasticism, or Neomonasticism, can refer either to a modern movement within Evangelical Protestant Christianity modelled on a monastic way of life in a contemporary context or a movement within Roman Catholicism to expand the way of life of traditional monastic communities to lay...

  • Retreat (survivalism)
    Retreat (survivalism)
    A retreat is a place of refuge for those in the survivalist subculture or movement. Retreats are also sometimes called Bug-Out Locations...

  • Rewilding
    Rewilding (anarchism)
    Rewilding is the process of re-instating the role of keystone species to human society where the expression of this role appears lacking. The term originates in conservation biology in which "rewilding" stands for the re-introduction of keystone species into areas where such species appear locally...

  • Subculture
    Subculture
    In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

  • Walden Two
    Walden Two
    Walden Two is a utopian novel written by behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, first published in 1948. In its time, it could have been considered to be science fiction, as the methods employed to alter people's behaviour did not yet exist....


Further reading

  • Christian, D.
    Diana Leafe Christian
    Diana Leafe Christian is an author, former editor of Communities magazine, and a national speaker and workshop presenter on starting new ecovillages and community and sustainability...

     (2003) Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities New Society Publishers. ISBN 0-86571-471-1
  • Curl, John (2007) Memories of Drop City, the First Hippie Commune of the 1960s and the Summer of Love: a memoir. iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-42343-4. http://red-coral.net/DropCityIndex.html
  • Kanter, Rosabeth Moss
    Rosabeth Moss Kanter
    Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a tenured professor in business at Harvard Business School, where she holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship...

     (1972) Commitment and Community: communes and utopias in sociological perspective. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-67414-575-5
  • McLaughlin, C. and Davidson, G. (1990) Builders of the Dawn: community lifestyles in a changing world. Book Publishing Company. ISBN 0-913990-68-X
  • Lupton, Robert C. (1997) "Return Flight: Community Development Through Reneighboring our Cities". Atlanta, GA.: FCS Urban Ministries.

External links