Your Guide to Starting a Residential Intentional Community
Intentional Communities are uniquely positioned to elevate its creative & collective organizing to address the systemic inequalities and disparities we face globally.
Many of us have lost community to the culture of hyper-individualism, mobility, and competition, and find ourselves longing for deeper human connections. At the same time, we are in a moment of cultural reckoning, with racialized capitalism, colonialism, and the affects of a profound disconnection from the natural world.
Building Belonging is both a practical guide for how to start a residential intentional community and a collective framework for addressing the racial, social, ecological and economic disparities affecting all aspects of the living experience for humans, land, and its co-inhabitants.
It offers an unprecedented perspective to creating intentional community that speaks directly to the reader who wants collective answers and who sees the deep benefit of community living as a key piece to addressing systemic issues.
Author Yana Ludwig brings wisdom and perspective from 25 years of intentional community experience and many years of training founders in starting intentional community. It is a give-back to the movement that nurtured Yana’s personal and professional growth for all those years, transforming her knowledge into a practical and honest guide unlike any other, uniquely built for its time.
The dream to create a more whole and connected life is one that awakens in people of all walks of life, with various histories and levels of access to land and wealth. The yearning to belong to a place and a people could be said to be inherent in our very nature.
Reviews of Building Belonging
“While the historically flagrant wounds of settler-colonialism and white supremacy continue to have negative impacts on Indigenous Peoples, their byproducts of globalization, ecological destruction, hyper-individualism and emotional depression have resulted in suffering among all peoples. A resurgence of community living is imperative in yielding our collective liberation and healing for both humans and all other living beings.
Without being prescriptive, Yana Ludwig combines her broad experience, holistic perspective, commitment to justice, and sheer brilliance to provide a comprehensive guide to the very real considerations integral to assembling an intentional community.
Even if you’re not currently thinking about starting an intentional community, you may very well be inspired to begin envisioning one after reading this book.”
Marcus Briggs-Cloud, co-founder, Ekvn-Yefolecv Maskoke Ecovillage
“Starting an intentional community in the colonized world presents what seems to be an endless supply of ethical dilemmas. How do we rebuild place based culture amidst rampant oppression, wealth disparity and cultural amnesia? Our western minds want solutions and formulas, and yet the task of creating community is mostly filled with questions.
Yana has lived most of her adult life living in intentional communities at different stages of maturity. She has experienced the range of unimaginable beauties and shadows that this life path offers, and she has continually learned and contributed to the collective learning through decades of movement activism.
Where we are on culture’s edge, we need guidebooks that help us orient and understand the evolving landscape we are in as much as possible. Yana has poured forth her life’s experience to create a timely contribution to this growing movement.
This book is readable, down to earth, and full of real talk about what it takes to start and nurture the growth of an intentional community. With Yana’s support, your intentional community can also become a learning ground and rather than be a haven for the privileged, become a seed garden for the much needed change we need in the world.”
Cassandra Lynn Ferrera, The Center for Ethical Land Transition
About Yana Ludwig
Yana has 25 years of cooperative living experience, including four community start-ups. She served for over a decade on the Board of the Foundation for Intentional Community, and as a trainer, facilitator, and consultant for progressive projects since 2005. Yana is co-author of The Cooperative Culture Handbook: A Social Change Manual to Dismantle Toxic Culture and Build Connection and author of Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption, which won the 2017 Communal Studies Association Book of the Year Award.
Yana’s 2013 TEDx talk, Sustainable is Possible! (And it doesn’t suck…) kicked off an era for her as a public speaker and advocate for communities. She is a founding member of the Solidarity Collective, an income sharing community in Laramie, WY. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the North Coast Food Web in Astoria OR, where she lives with her partner, Matt Stannard, and a very large dog.
Find out more about Yana on her website: https://www.yanaludwig.net/.
More books by Yana Ludwig
The Cooperative Culture Handbook: A Social Change Manual to Dismantle Toxic Culture & Build Connection
Co-authored with Karen Gimnig
Cooperative groups are our best hope for addressing climate disruption, racism, poverty, homelessness, oppression and even pandemics. The good news is that groups form every day to address these issues. The bad news is that they struggle with conflict, gridlock, power battles, and falling participation.
In short, we lack the skills to convert our passion and intelligence into effective action.
With 52 transformative group and individual exercises, here’s a practical toolkit for groups to solve problems, build community, and change culture towards greater empathy and authenticity. This is an essential resource for leaders, facilitators and changemakers to develop core practices in discernment, curiosity, communication and engagement.
Together Resilient is a book that advocates for citizen-led, community-based action first and foremost: why wait for the government when you can take action today, with your neighbors?
From small solutions to the full re-invention of the systems we find ourselves in, this book mixes anecdote with data-based research to bring you a wide range of options that all embody compassion, creativity, and cooperation.
Together Resilient looks at intentional community as a model for a low carbon future. While looking realistically at the state of the world and the realities of climate disruption, it finds hope in examples of communities that already live high quality lives that the planet can sustain.
It also looks at community as an essential element for surviving the coming (and already present) changes with more resilience and grace, and offers concrete examples of building community as a tool for reducing carbon emissions, outside the context of residential intentional communities.