How to Start an Intentional Community

6-Week Online Course | Starts August 21, 2024

Learn how to design for inclusion, governance, membership recruitment, and legal and economic structures in the How to Start an Intentional Community course.

Course fee: $120-$260 USD

Individual class fee: $20-$50 USD

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Classes in this course are suitable for:Community Newcomers | Community Starters

Course description and syllabus

Social health, equity, and belonging should be central themes rather than a side note in your community creation. The How to Start an Intentional Community course will cover these important themes to pave realistic pathway for getting your community off the ground. Discover the key traits of community founders, learn how to craft a solid vision statement, and get an understanding of the social dynamics and skills development for building a healthy culture. You’ll learn how to choose and design decision-making, conflict resolution, and membership processes, and gather some key tips on recruitment. We’ll also talk about economic structures (including income sharing) and financial sustainability, property search, legal considerations and business planning basics.

You need to put in a lot of work to start an intentional community. With her years of community building experience, instructor Yana Ludwig will guide you through key questions on why (and why not) to start one, and how to create one that lasts. She’ll share 15 spectrums that help define what kind of community you’re creating, with a wide range of examples of each type. You’ll also gain insight into why some intentional communities fail so you can avoid those pitfalls when creating your own.

Live classes are hosted on Zoom. All classes are recorded and available on our learning platform within 24 hours after each class ends and through 30 days after the last class.

Classes and topics in the How to Start an Intentional Community syllabus include:

Individual classes starting at US $20

August 21: Understanding your “Why” for Starting a Community

  • why create a community…and why not to
  • traits of founders
  • considerations for the core group
  • real talk about founders syndrome

August 28: Visioning for Effective & Inclusive Community

  • four keys to good visioning
  • spectrums for intentional communities
  • intro to cooperative culture

September 4: The Intersection of Culture, Power & Governance in Community

  • overview of cooperative culture
  • culture, vision, membership and decision-making
  • privilege and justice in community
  • power flows in decision-making
  • why consensus and how to choose

September 11: Creating a Membership & Recruitment Process for Your Community

  • membership process, including how it ends
  • social skills to screen for and how
  • the chicken & egg issue with founders
  • recruitment basics

September 18: Barriers & Benefits of Legal and Economic Structures

  • why legal and economic questions are deeply dissatisfying
  • economic structures
  • labor systems
  • community finances & business planning

September 25: Landing your Dream: Property Searches & Community Design

  • legal structure basics
  • land and the importance of search criteria
  • basics of community design

All How to Start an Intentional Community classes are held on Wednesdays from 8:30-10am Pacific / 9:30-11am Mountain / 10:30am-12pm Central / 11:30am-1pm Eastern. You can view your local time here.

October 2:Q&A Session

  • Ask any additional questions & Get personalized help
  • Networking
  • Bonus material on minimal needs before you move in together & 7 things intentional communities fight about

The Q&A session is optional and will take place from 8:30-9:30am Pacific / 9:30-10:30am Mountain / 10:30-11:30am Central / 11:30am-12:30pm Eastern. You must register for the full course to attend the Q&A session.

Your instructor

Starting a Community course instructor image

Yana Ludwig

Yana served on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Intentional Community for over a decade. She lived in community for 26 years and was a founder 4 times – all of her work is grounded in deep community experience. Her writing includes The Cooperative Culture Handbook (co-authored with Karen Gimnig) focuses on articulating a vision and practical pathway for intentional culture building; and many articles in Communities magazine. Her new book, Building Belonging: Your Guide to Starting a Residential Intentional Community, was released in May 2023.

Yana is the former Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and Commonomics USA (an economic justice organization). She currently serves in that role for the North Coast Food Web in Oregon, where she lives with her partner and a couple of very fluffy four-leggeds. She is a dynamic, compassionate and thoughtful speaker and teacher, committed to creating a more just and resilient world. 

Learn more about Yana here.


“The lay put of the topics made it feel almost like a step by step guide, really helpful in organizing and planning what feels like an overwhelming amount of tasks and information in the beginning stages.”

-Aliana Davidson

“[The How to Start an Intentional Community] course was very informative, very accessible with short lessons most of which can be completed in 30 mins or less including homework. The presenter was warm and knowledgeable; highly recommended for anyone thinking about starting an intentional community of any kind.”

-Kelly Escue

Course registration

How to Start an Intentional Community course

Starting From $120.00

(Price is per person)

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Online learning platform

Once you register, you’ll get access to our learning area that includes:

  • class slides and other course materials
  • class video recordings, audio files, and transcripts for learning on the go
  • recommended books with access to course participant discount
  • a dedicated discussion forum to connect with your classmates

Live interactive sessions

Each week you join a 2-hour live class with the course instructor, where you learn in a group setting with:

  • interactive presentations
  • break out sessions
  • group discussions
  • the opportunity for questions and answers, and personalized support

Classes are recorded if you miss one, and you will have 30 days after the last class to view recordings.

Journey with a cohort

You’ll join participants from around the world how, like you, want to learn how to be better communitarians. Benefits include:

  • opportunities to connect with like-minded people
  • opportunities to share ideas and stories
  • a network of support to carry your community project forward