Starting a Community

On-Demand Online Course | Rolling Admission

Learn how to design for inclusion, governance, membership recruitment, and legal and economic structures in the Starting a Community course.

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Course Description

Discover the key traits of community founders, how to craft a good vision statement and get an understanding of the social dynamics and skills development for building a healthy culture. You’ll learn decision-making, conflict resolution, and membership process design and recruitment. As well as economics and (including income sharing) 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, Yana guides you through key questions on why (and why not) to start one, and how to create a lasting community. She’ll share 15 spectrums that help define what kind of community you’re creating, with examples of the wide range of intentional community types. You’ll also gain insight into why some intentional communities fail so you can avoid those pitfalls when creating your own community.

Who this course is for

  • founders of community
  • people starting community
  • people building community
  • people dreaming of community

What you’ll learn

Module topics in the Starting a Community course include:

  • 1st Module: Overview
  • 2nd Module: Founders
  • 3rd Module: Visioning
  • 4th Module: Cooperative Culture
  • 5th Module: Diversity, Justice, and Inclusion
  • 6th Module: Deciding on Decision Making
  • 7th Module: Conflict
  • 8th Module: Membership Structures
  • 9th Module: Recruitment
  • 10th Module: Legal Structures
  • 11th Module: Economic Systems
  • 12th Module: Business Planning as a Community
  • 13th Module: Property Search
  • 14th Module: Community Design Elements
  • 15th Module: Wrap Up and Next Steps

Your instructor

Starting a Community course instructor image

Yana Ludwig

Yana has 25 years of cooperative living experience, including four community start-ups. She serves on the Board of the Foundation for Intentional Community, and as a trainer and consultant for progressive projects. 

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

She is the former Executive Director of both the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, and Commonomics USA

Her 2013 TEDx talk, Sustainable is Possible! 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. 

Find out more about Yana on her website:

What this course includes

  • access to our online learning platform
  • 15 modules with instructional videos, learning materials, and exercises
  • dedicated course group in our Forum
  • 90 days to complete the online course at your own pace

Starting a Community course testimonials

“This course gives a really robust set of topics, questions, and tools to think to really think through starting a community. Everything from interpersonal and group dynamics, to number crunching and land evaluation criteria. A great course for so many folks even at different stages of the journey to create a community.”

-Helena Cragg

“This is an excellent course to think critically about key aspects of starting an intentional community. Each module is easily digestible and the homework is relevant.  Many of the topics are critically useful in everyday life and in forming different organizations and partnerships. The instructor, Yana, is wonderful. I like how personable and knowledgeable she is on starting communities. She also seems like a really cool person to sit and have a meaningful conversation with.”

-Deyondra Carter

“‘Starting a community’ is for me THE foundation for any person looking for an introductory course into community building. It is both concise and deep. I really like the format of the course and that it went straight to the core. With valuable information from a person who has lived all the things she talked about. It comes from real experience.”

-Pablo Andres Amador Rodriguez

“I would say you must take this course! You’ll save a ton of energy this way! Building a community requires a lot of commitment, time, and energy; nevertheless, this course will help you get ready and will make it apparent what you are getting yourself into as well as how to handle that while saving your energy.”

-Girium Zelalem

Course fee

  • Regular price: $199

Become a learner member

You get several benefits, including 20% off all our online courses, and access to our Member Library with hundreds of videos, guides, policies and templates.

Sign up for membership

Financial support

You can apply for a scholarship if you need financial support to attend one of our courses. We encourage those with low-income and from marginalized groups to apply. We’re committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.

Apply for a scholarship

The On-Demand Course Experience

Go at Your Own Pace

Learn at your own pace with a course that fits your schedule. You’ll have a full 90 days to move through the learning material. One section at a time, when and where it works for you.

Build Your Network

Each month there’ll be a live networking session with other communitarians and an experienced host to get your questions answered. You’ll be able to connect and build shared knowledge through a dedicated discussion space.

Deepen Your Learning

Each module includes an instructional video, learning materials, exercises, and assignments designed to support your comprehension in the ways we all learn differently.


Starting a Community Course


Learn the fundamentals of starting and growing an intentional community!

Register now to get access to this course for a total of 90 days, including a private discussion forum to engage with the instructor and other students. Check your email once completing registration for an email from [email protected]