There are hundreds, if not thousands, of intentional communities across the United States. Go to http://www.ic.org/ for a comprehensive list. And for as many communities that already exist there are just as many in the planning and forming stages. For the purposes of our study, we established the following criteria to select the communities we wanted to visit and interview. Over the next few weeks we will be visiting 16 communities in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico that fall within these research parameters.
1. Communities that provide permanent housing
2. Contemporary Intentional Communities – (any consciously created community that has as its purpose the aim of living together cooperatively in order to foster a shared lifestyle that reflects core shared values)
a. Cohousing – (composed of private homes with full kitchens, supplemented by extensive common facilities. A cohousing community is planned, owned and managed by the residents, groups of people who want more interaction with their neighbors.)
b. Ecovillages – (multiple dwelling units with some shared structures)
Will Not Include
a. Student co-ops – (living arrangements within a single dwelling on or near campus)
b. Co-ops – (living arrangements are generally thought of as occurring within a single dwelling unit)
b. Communes – (living arrangement in which there is often less personal space and more communal ownership of property)
c. Collectives – (live in one dwelling, but they pool certain resources such as groceries and utilities to simplify daily chores)
3. Size of Community – At least 20 residential homes – or 25 residents
4. Is this going to be appealing to mainstream America? We are interested in challenging the idea that living in community is just for hippies or a “fringe” population.
5. The community was developed by the residents
6. Non-discrimative (religious, sexual orientation, food) – with exception to: “age”
7. Can be urban or rural
8. Can be new or remodeled homes
We will be touring each community, taking pictures and video of the people who live there and sharing some of our first impressions. We have put together a survey that each community representative has agreed to address. Donna will focus on design issues and I will focus on the financial/social aspects. Initial impression and findings will be posted on our blog.
Upon our return, we would like to continue interviewing communities if funds and time allow. If this comes to fruition we plan to cover communities in California, Oregon and Washington before the end of the year.
At the conclusion of this research project we would like to assemble our findings in either a book, presentation or talk so that hundreds of others can benefit and learn from our findings and consider living in community as a viable option.