Wiki Category: Reference Articles


Why Choose Community?

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

I think the world today is falling over the brink of disaster, that we are in a chaotic period. And I think a sense of community may be one of the ropes that pull us back, but only if we lead. It is not going to happen just on its own. It is going to… Read More

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In Community, Intentionally

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

An Intentional Community… “is a group of people who have chosen to live or work together in pursuit of a common ideal or vision. Most, though not all, share land or housing. Intentional communities come in all shapes and sizes, and display an amazing diversity in their common values, which may be social, economic, spiritual,… Read More

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A Look at Student Housing Cooperatives

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

Deborah Altus traces the roots of student co-ops back to the early part of this century, and reports that social activism tends to attract co-opers as much as inexpensive housing. For many, student housing is their first taste of group living. Increasing contacts between student residential cooperatives and other intentional communities can provide students opportunities… Read More

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Dreams and Other Products of Nineteenth-Century Communities

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

History Professor Lyman Tower Sargent debunks the myth that historic communities withdrew from the societies in which they lived. Then, as now, communities contributed culturally in a wide variety of ways, both philosophically and materially — from the abolitionists of Hopedale to the public schooling of New Harmony, from the quality manufactured goods of Amana… Read More

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For the Next Seven Generations: Indigenous Americans and Communalism

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

Native American Glenn Morris provides an historic overview of political organization and community life among native peoples before Europeans arrived in North America. While the social structures are varied, it’s instructive that communal, nonhierarchic forms were common. With the rising interest in resource-conscious living, it is important to recapture accurately the wheels of sustainability that… Read More

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Tips on Financing Realty

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

Based on more than 35 years experience in the field, Robert H. Watzke offers nuts and bolts advice on how to evaluate property and negotiate with lending institutions. If you are in the market for real estate, come to know all you can about property for sale in your area of interest. That means one… Read More

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Buying Your Community Property

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

Frances Forster and Byron Sandford offer an upbeat primer on criteria for evaluating property, with special emphasis on the how-tos and how-comes of financing, insurance, and legal considerations. Buying your community property will be a lot like buying a home. If you’ve ever done that you know it can be a roller coaster ride, but… Read More

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Legal Options for Intentional Communities

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

Albert Bates, Allen Butcher, and Diana Leafe Christian explain the varying approaches to community property, governmental regulations for tax exemptions, and other issues that have implications in selecting the tax classifications best suited to your community’s needs. Intentional communities generally arise from a specific idea or philosophy. Community members may be seeking an egalitarian, cooperative… Read More

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The Rhythms of Home: Perspectives on a Communal Lifestyle

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

Tom Starrs offers a glimpse into daily life at Green Pastures — an Emissary community in New Hampshire — revealing the rich tapestry of people drawn together from diverse backgrounds to build a caring, meaningful life. The only thing certain is that nothing is certain! Every day Jack from Maine feeds and grooms the draft… Read More

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Consensus Ingredients

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Caroline Estes of Alpha Farm traces the history of consensus process, describing the basic elements necessary for its success, and offers insights about how it can be implemented. During the past few decades, while we have been searching for new ways of doing things in order to be inclusive, the decision-making process known as consensus… Read More

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Intentional Communities as Laboratories for Learning about Direct Democracy

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

  Psychologist and communitarian Mildred Gordon examines at length the challenges of creating and maintaining fully functioning democratic groups, exploring why intentional communities are uniquely poised to take up these challenges. Thomas Jefferson said,   “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate power of the society but the people themselves, and if we… Read More

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The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Joreen, writing for KNOW, Inc., states that informal power structures will arise even where explicit structure is avoided. The author recommends seven principles for organizing decentralized, democratic structures — to insure that the group as a whole will be in control of their structures and decisions. Absence of structure in many intentional communities is a… Read More

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Central Living in the Netherlands: The Influence of Architecture on Social Structure

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Dorit Fromm looks at collaborative living in The Netherlands. Contemporaneous with cohousing developments in Denmark, the Dutch see this form of shared housing as an opportunity for wide-scale housing reform, and have secured government support for their initatives. Unlike their Danish counterparts, the Dutch units have attracted more singles and renters. They are learning some… Read More

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Bioregionalism and Community: A Call to Action

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

David Haenke explains that bioregionalism picks up where environmentalism leaves off, challenging everyone to emphasize sustainability and define community to include the nonhuman as well. The North American bioregional movement has held biennial meetings since 1984 and is steadily building awareness of the task ahead. In line with this, David makes the case for a… Read More

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An Ecovillage Retrofit for Los Angeles: Healing an Inner-City Neighborhood

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Lois Arkin offers a snapshot of the ecovillage movement, another example of a community-based initiative to develop working models of sustainability. Lois describes in depth the evolution of her ecovillage in downtown Los Angeles. It is one way community can happen — even where the situation seems beyond repair. Sowing Seeds for the Los Angeles… Read More

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Innisfree: Lifesharing with Adults with Mental Disabilities

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Marianne Roberts describes how her community provides a unique home for people with mental disabilities. She examines both what this can mean for residents with disabilities, and for the members attracted to the community to engage in this work. Imagine a place where there is no discrimination and where everyone is treated with respect and… Read More

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Fellowship in the Nineties: A Continental Network Open to All

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Fellowship for Intentional Community board members explain the Fellowship’s ambitious projects for helping people get accurate information about today’s intentional communities, promoting contact between communities, and relating products of the movement to the wider culture. Formed as a regional network in 1948, the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) shifted to a continent-wide focus in 1986.… Read More

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Raising and Educating Children in Community

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Diana Christian looks at what is known about raising children in community, drawing on surveys, panel discussions, lectures, and a wealth of literature. She gives an overview of the pros and cons, comparing the differences one is likely to find in larger and smaller communities, new and established ones, homeschool versus private school options. She… Read More

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Movers of Mountains, Shapers of Worlds

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Kirsten Johnsen, now 26, reflects on her childhood at Greenfield Ranch (Ukiah, California), revealing the joy and awkwardness of growing up in community. Having now reached the age that many of the original members were at when Greenfield Ranch was founded, she has insights into the consequences and hopeful art of creating community. I am… Read More

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Padanaram Village School

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Head teacher Steve Fuson discusses the intriguing blend of structure and flexibility at Padanaram’s community school. Started with five students in 1972, it has now grown to engage eight teachers and about 60 students. At Padanaram Settlement’s founding in 1966, the few children of school age attended public school in Shoals, a long bus ride… Read More

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Enabled and Disabled in Community: Sharing Life’s Physical Challenges

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Long-term community member Daniel Bartsch has suffered deteriorating use of his legs during his tenure at Magic Community in Stanford, California. While the diagnosis of his condition has been unclear, he is now relying on a wheelchair to get around. We present here a transcription of a discussion at Magic about the challenges and opportunities… Read More

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A Word About Cults

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson elaborate on the differences between growth-enhancing intentional communities and “cults” — groups that may restrict individual free will and personal freedom. At the same time that the hippie communes were attracting major attention in the ’60s and early ’70s, the so-called “cults” — manipulative, authoritarian mass movements — began growing… Read More

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Tale of Two Communes: A Scholar and His Errors

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Scholar Michael Cummings relates his evolving understanding of two highly visible intentional communities: Sunrise Ranch in Colorado and Kerista Village in California. His story illustrates how communities can turn out to be something other and more complex than they first appear, and how the predilections of the observer can profoundly flavor one’s perspective-even for a… Read More

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Finding a Home: Urban Community

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

  Newcomer Lisa Cigliana relates the joys and struggles of exploring community life for the first time — in her case,with Bright Morning Star in Seattle.   My leap into communal living in 1993 opened my life to new ways of being. It also created more adjustments than I could have imagined. All sorts of… Read More

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Cohousing: A New Type of Housing for the Way We Live

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Ellen Hertzman describes the attraction of cohousing in relation to traditional housing options, giving an overview of community life in a few of the first North American cohousing developments. Along the way, she gives a feel for the variety and possibilities of this fast-growing choice. It’s 6:45 p.m, and people are beginning to congregate in… Read More

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Mainstreamer’s Search for Community

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Vivian is a reporter for the Sacramento Bee, who went on a community odyssey in 1992. She shares and compares her first-hand observations about seven middle-to-large-sized secular communities. When I announced to friends and coworkers that I was taking a leave of absence from my job to tour the country, they all thought it was… Read More

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Seeking a Spiritual Community Home

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Victoria Adams (Stillwater Sabbatical, Montana) poses some questions for evaluating a community as a possible home. In particular, she invites a look at the balance between time for introspection and level of engagement with others; of finding a home where there is opportunity to know your own mind, and the minds of others. For some… Read More

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How To Visit an Intentional Community

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Kat Kinkade of Twin Oaks gives a communitarian’s perspective on visitors. She discusses visiting etiquette, gives practical advice on how to get the most out of one’s visit, and offers valuable insights about how prospective members may be viewed by existing community members. The mechanics of visiting a community aren’t very difficult. One writes a… Read More

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Who We Are: An Exploration of What “Intentional Community” Means

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Dan Questenberry has compiled responses from communitarians everywhere on the nature and description of intentional community. By describing ourselves, we clarify our group objectives — at home and as a movement. Twenty-six communitarians express visions, observations, distinctions, confusions, longings. Some descriptions were fashioned out of long debate. Most of them were submitted along with the… Read More

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Seeking Group Renewal

Posted on September 28, 2013 by

Simon Poulter (Redfield, United Kingdom) describes “mid-life crisis” in his community, as an example of vexing issues common to established groups. He looks at the attempt to reestablish group cohesion after drifting away from the original purpose, and the importance of being clear on what effect the group can and will give to resolving conflicts… Read More

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