Intentional Community is a phrase often used to refer to a variety of self-governed groups that have a common value system, interests, goal or point of view. Members collaborate and proactively create a place to call “home”, sometimes sharing common resources, activities and/or meals. There are many different types of Intentional Communities but their common trait is the intention to live with or near like-minded neighbors with similar needs. Communities are often financed, owned and managed by the residents.
An example of an intentional community is college student “themed” housing, such as can be found with international students, sports teams and fraternities. Other examples are niche retirement communities, sustainable “eco-villages” and communes. The term “cohousing” refers to a group of people who choose to live in a neighborhood which includes a common house: this is modeled after a Danish concept which offers private home ownership and shared common areas, outdoor space and amenities.
4 Common Reasons People Seek Communal Style Living:
- Strong Sense of Community. Group members might share amenities, space, resources, activities, meals and governance. Needs may range from the desire to have neighbors with common interests to sharing meals, activities and even finances. Cohousing communities such as Fair Oaks EcoHousing offer a place for people of all ages to get to know and care for each other. Many young families appreciate a supportive community when teaching their children to live responsibly.
- Shared values – Environmentally and economically conscious living are some of the most prevalent themes among conscious living communities. Permaculture, alternative energy, conservation and spirituality are some of the most popular themes.
- Affordability – Fixed expenses and protection from inflation also steer the desire for community style living. This might include shared amenities and resources, a minimalistic lifestyle and overall reduced costs. This can be difficult to find in city life, so people create their own opportunities.
- A Place to Retire – An intentional community is an option for the rapidly increasing Baby Boomer population. Rather than living in their own home or being transferred to a nursing home, retirees are being proactive about their future when moving into retirement. Niche retirement communities are popping up, providing solutions to the increased expenses of growing older, such as healthcare costs. Members of the group find support when needed and enjoy activities with others who are similar in age, abilities and interests.
- Freedom to Travel- Some group members appreciate the ability to travel between other “sister” communities. This affords them the opportunity to meet new people while just taking up the space they need for the time they need it. Although reasons for seeking this vary, alternative and community living both share the founding principle of freedom of movement.
Theme Communities are intentionally designed living communities centered on a variety of shared academic, cultural, or personal interests. Themed housing allows people with common interests and lifestyle preferences to live together and support each other through organized events and informal interactions. These communities can be a good transition for college students moving out of their parents’ home and into adulthood, young families, adults going through career changes, Here are a few types of themed communities based on common values, interests, age, and economics.
Smaller house and smaller lots, usually with a sustainable and environmental focus
Intentional, collaborative groups that bring together the value of private homes with the benefits of common facilities, sustainable living, resident participation, and innovative financial solutions.
Retirement communities are based on the type of engagement people seek to have. They may range from active adult communities to leisure communities, or from independent living to continued care, and can provide a sense of community for seniors based on their interests, abilities, and needs.
Permaculture or Community Garden
A sustainable community or community garden with work based on permaculture principles. These may offer educational opportunities for Natural Building, Sustainable Food Production, and Leadership.
Some communities prefer to use fuel-free energy, providing a green-living solution that might include community-shared solar or wind power generation. This type of community allows individuals to purchase shares of alternative power, thus providing a financial and environmental benefit.
A community where artists can live and work in a stimulating, harmonious environment
- Art Residency
Cannonball Miami Art Residency, image via Cannonball Miami
A place where people live together in the spirit of cooperation and friendship, dedicated to a common goal while inviting spirituality into all areas of daily life. Centered on spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation and a dedication to high-minded values such as kindness, respect, and simple living.
These group homes for people overcoming addictions are usually privately owned and located in a quiet area that allows residents to recover while coming and going as they please as long as they abide by the group’s rules.