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.

Course fee: sliding scale, starting at $99 USD

Who this course is for:

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

On this page:

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.

What this course includes

  • 15 modules with instructional videos, learning materials, and exercises
  • lifetime access to private course group in our Forum for asking questions and networking
  • free access to monthly webinars to deepen your learning and connect with others
  • 90 days to complete the online course at your own pace
  • certificate of completion

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

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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.

Starting a Community course testimonials

“‘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

“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

“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

“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

“This 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

“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 On-Demand Course Experience

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Go at Your Own Pace

Journey through this course, when and where it works for you. You’ll have a full 90 days to work through the learning material. Downloadable audio modules are available for when you’re on the go.

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Build Your Network

You’ll be able to ask questions of your instructor as well as connect and build shared knowledge through a private and dedicated discussion space.

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Deepen Your Learning

Each module includes an instructional video, audio file, transcript, complementary learning materials, and exercises designed to support you in your unique learning style.

Free resources


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 (from registration date), including a private discussion forum to engage with the instructor and other students. Check your email once completing registration for an email from
  • $99: for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Disabled, Low income
  • $129: covers FIC’s costs
  • $149+: covers FIC’s costs + supports the intentional community movement

Suggested $129.00

Minimum $99.00

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