Learn how to start and grow an intentional community.

Starting a Community

On-Demand Course | Rolling Admission Now Open

If you dream of creating an ecovillage, cohousing coliving or other intentional community, this course will show you how to make it happen. With the guidance of multi-community founder Yana Ludwig, you’ll avoid the common pitfalls of community building and set your group on a path towards success!

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Whether you are just getting a group together or already have a piece of property to develop, starting a community has never been more compelling than it is right now, in a time of crisis. Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel or stumbling in the dark.

Yana Ludwig will guide you through the steps you’ll need to take and the practical aspects you need to consider to make your community project thrive.

You will leave this course with…

  • Clarity on the reasons to start a community…and not to
  • A understanding of the breadth of work involved with a start-up
  • The ability to craft a good vision statement
  • Knowledge of the key traits of successful community founders
  • Decision-making, conflict resolution, and membership process design considerations
  • 15 spectrums that help define what kind of a community you are creating
  • An understanding of social dynamics and skill development for healthy culture
  • Knowledge of economic choices for sustainability and group cohesion
  • Key questions for creating a lasting community
  • An understanding of how to attract new members
  • Property search criteria development
  • Legal considerations and business planning basics

Say Hello to Your Instructor

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Yana Ludwig

Yana Ludwig 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. Yana currently lives in Bellevue, WA where she is the Executive Director at Leadership Eastside.

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 session with your instructor and fellow students to get your questions answered. You’ll be able to converse and build shared knowledge through a dedicated discussion portal.

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.

Course Outline

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


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 start a community.

– Helena Cragg

This course was excellent. Yana’s extensive experience and well-rounded expertise meant each class was chock full of wonderful nuggets. She had very useful handouts as well as exercises, and she had the art of online courses down with plenty of interaction as well. Loved it!

Pare Gerou

Yana is knowledgeable and well qualified to introduce people to a comprehensive overview of the adventures, potentials and challenges of joining and/or starting an intentional community. Being a part of the sessions was a true experience of being part of an international learning cohort. 

S. Tomson

Very well organized and extremely informative! I wish I would have taken this before starting our journey in creating a community. It might have saved us some time fumbling around in the dark.

Tianna Frank


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 and monthly office hours with the instructor. Check your email once completing registration for an email from [email protected]

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Need financial support to attend a course?

Apply for a scholarship. Those with low-income and from marginalized groups are encouraged to apply. FIC is committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.