Starting a community
Successful Intentional Communities have been started in many different ways. Some starts have been very casual, with little structure – “hey, let’s share a house” to form a shared household. Others, like new Cohousing projects, may start with extensive professional planning using Cohousing consultants. These resources can help people start new communities by dealing with the start-up issues faced by most communities. Most of this content leans toward the more structured planning end of the formality continuum (a reason why).
7 steps to getting started – a summary of the following, more detailed articles
- Setting community goals and values in a vision statement
- Group decision and communications process
- Create a financial structure
- Define your legal structure
- Write community bylaws
- Get a bank account
- Collect Member Assessments
Related IC wiki articles
- Bringing new members into a forming group
- Locating and purchasing a site
- Working with government agencies
- Community design – a group process
- Common house design issues
- Site and home design issues
- Six Ingredients for Forming Communities (That Help Reduce Conflict Down the Road), by Diana Leafe Christian (2000)
- What’s True About Intentional Communities: Dispelling the Myths by FIC (1996)
- In Community, Intentionally, by Geoph Kozeny (2000)
- An Introduction to Financial Development of Communities, by Rob Sandelin and Lois Arkin (2000)
- The Desire for Diversity: A Cohousing Perspective, by Zev Paiss (2000)
- Creating Community Anywhere: Finding Support and Connection in a Fragmented World by Carolyn R. Shaffer & Kristin Anundsen
- Builders of the Dawn: Community Lifestyles in a changing world. Corinne MrLaughlin and Gordon Davidson – This is an excellent resource with practical advise on community forming along with many community descriptions.
- Rebuilding community in America: Housing for Ecological Living, Personal Empowerment and the New Extended family. Ken Norwood and Kathleen Smith 1995 Shared Living Resouce Center. – Introduces ideas about discovering a deeper meaning of “sustainability” as it relates to housing by restoring the human tradition of cooperative living and sharing resources. Available from Community Bookshelf
- [Communities Magazine: Journal of Cooperative Living – Published by the Fellowship for Intentional Community this is an outstanding quarterly resource to catch the pulse of communities around the country and world. Excellent articles, theme issues on topics relevant to community living.
- Visions of Utopia: Experiments in Sustainable Culture – A video documentary of 18 different kinds of communities, with interviews and visuals of many kinds of community.
- Looking For It – A two hour video/documentary on communities and the communities movement. Excellent and highly recommended. To order send $24.95 to Sally Mendzela, 36 North Center St., Bellingham, MA 02019 or call 508-966-5822 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Follow the Dirt Road: An Introduction to Intentional Communities in the 1990s – A video documentary showing what’s happening in North American Communities. 53 minutes. To order send $28 to Monique Gauthier, FTDR, Derbyshire Farm, Temple, NH 03084. Email email@example.com
- Cohousing Video – 22 minute professionally produced video clearly explains the cohousing concept. Full of interviews with cohousing residents and images of daily life in many U.S. cohousing communities. $44 postage paid to RMCA 1705 14th St. #10 Boulder, CO 80302
- Nyland Cohousing Video – Professional produced ten minute video briefly and clearly explains the cohousing concept, its background, and follows the construction of the Nyland Community. A great resource for new member orientations. $16.50 RMCA 1705 14th st. #317 Boulder, CO 80302.
This started as an article by Rob Sandelin, distributed in various forms and published online by NICA. Rob gave permission to post it here, knowing that it may morph into something new as we "wiki" it...