Plan B & Community Relocation Group
Chris, I’m really happy to hear about your plans, and curious to see where this goes. My wife and I have been thinking about moving our family to an intentional community for some time. We can both work pretty much anywhere (I’m a controls engineer and she’s a nurse practitioner) but not necessarily from home. We have young children, and it seems like most of the intentional communities out there either don’t want kids, or are religiously based, which does not appeal to us at all. We used to live in a small city and loved that there were other children around and we could walk to things. Now we’ve moved to a rural area where we can have fruit trees, chickens, bees, etc., but we can’t walk to anything and our kids can’t play with other children unless we arrange playdates. I’ve often said I’d like to live in a medieval village… houses packed closely together for community, but surrounded by gardens, fields, orchards, and forest. Anyway, I’ll be following you closely on this. Best of luck!
and pitched an idea that has relevance to this thread.
Obviously my timing was bad. To their credit, the folks that I had arranged to meet on the morning of 9/11 did not cancel on me. One was the future CEO of a large telecommunications company and the other was a senior executive at the largest owner of industrial properties in the U.S. The response from both was positive. However, I did not pursue the concept for a variety of reasons…
The idea: Create a significant number of properties around the world that would resemble intentional communities. One half of residents would work at the properties and one half would be provide the capital. Residents — both labor and capital — could decide based on seniority and capital commitment where to live at any one time.
The problem with intentional communities is that residents are locked in place. If you don’t like a fellow resident, you can’t escape them. (True story: My wife and I hosted a film producer and director several years ago for a screening of a movie about collapse. They lived in an intentional community in North Carolina. They had a falling out with another resident and they spent all their time avoiding one another.) The lesson is that any intentional community should be a network. Members should be able to move around.
The network should include properties that cater to those with kids and pets and properties that exclude the same. (Bill Mollison is famous for not being a fan of dogs. One of the intentional communities linked to from a PP commenter over the past week or two does not allow dogs or cats. I’m with Bill. Ill-behaved dogs and cats have made my life miserable as a gardener and someone who just likes to hear the wind in the trees.)
Rich Cabot linked to a website for an co-housing project in Oregon. I was struck by the projected cost to live at the property: $600k to $800k. Most people who can afford that are boring folks who stuck it out at a mindless job for 30+ years and have no skills that will be of use in a de-growth economy. This is the reason why one half of residents should be those who can actually grow something.
The project that Rich linked to has a garden that is roughly the same size as my garden on a 1/4 acre suburban lot. Any intentional community should have growing space that is at least one half of the total property size…
All the rules should be consistent from property to property and be set in advance.
There is much more to consider, but I’ll leave it at this for now…
I’ve mentioned this here before. I don’t think it’s been acknowledged as pertinent yet.
There are many people who have been ‘doing’ community for 40-50 years. NOT talking about it on discussion boards like this. But actually LIVING it – day by day.
There is an organization whose sole purpose is to foster the establishment, growth and good health of communities. They have a bimonthly or quarterly magazine; they have an extensive website with a bookstore; they have compiled and published several editions of a world-wide communities directory.
Most of the articles for the mag. are written by community members. The bookstore has quite a number of books, many written by longtime community members or organizers. There are books on starting a community, on community governance, sexual politics in community. There are many volumes on permaculture and other gardening techniques. If there is a topic with relevance to community there is almost certainly at least one book on that topic.
The organizations’ URL is ic.org. Check it out.
I personally have been involved in the formation of two communities, and lived in both for several years. [one survived, one didn’t].
I’m afraid I see here on PP a lot of theorizing about how community OUGHT to work, with little interest in how those who have DONE it have found out WHAT WORKS!
I’m seeing a strong tendency toward rather authoritarian, top down organization. But, to work, everyone in a community needs to ‘buy into’ what is happening and HOW it is happening. Cooperation needs to be emphasized. Not obedience.
A community is not a business, and few ‘strong leader’ communities last very long. It can lead to a quicker start, and seem to work well for a while. But, no matter how capable he is, as things grow, it gets to be too much for one person to manage everything. Often the leader gets tired and leaves or is deposed. Then, without a workable system of governance in place – things fall apart.
Go prowl around the FIC website. Buy & read a book or two; buy a back issue of the mag. each one has a theme. There are a number of articles on the site, read a few…
There are many person-years of life experience available there, Don’t have so much hubris to think you can do it better than 1000’s of others before you!