An “intentional community” is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. The people may live together on a piece of rural land, in a suburban home, or in an urban neighborhood, and they may share a single residence or live in a cluster of dwellings.
This definition spans a wide variety of groups, including (but not limited to) communes, ecovillages, student cooperatives, land co-ops, cohousing groups, monasteries and ashrams, kibbutzim, and farming collectives. Although quite diverse in philosophy and lifestyle, each of these groups places a high priority on fostering a sense of community–a feeling of belonging and mutual support that is increasingly hard to find in mainstream Western society.
This term was coined in the 1940s by the original Fellowship of Intentional Communities a precursor to the current Foundation for Intentional Community. It’s first appearance may have been in Issue 11 of a newsletter called the Communiteer in May 1945.