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IC R&D will research and discuss all aspects of intentional communities: mission, strategy, goals, governance, finances, resources (land, housing, facilities, infrastructure, equipment, supplies...), membership, etc. Rubrics for site and membership. Membership, funding and site searches. IC R&D will create &/or incubate site(s), if there is sufficient understanding, agreement, interest and "intent".
This group arises from the research I have done related to diaries on Affordable, Sustainable Housing:

Affordable, Sustainable Housing I: As Direct Action
Affordable, Sustainable Housing II: Materials & Methods
Affordable, Sustainable Housing III: In Communities
Someone Need a Home/Community?

These diaries came from an interest in looking at a problem and an opportunity that exists in the space where the class (jobs, economy) and climate (sustainability) wars intersect. As it turns out, much of the home development occurring in this space is taking place in intentional communities -- ecovillages, cohousing, cooperatives, communes, etc.


As a result, my research now includes intentional communities. I have discovered that there is some interest in this topic here on DKos. Apparently more than a few of us are thinking that such communities may help address shortcomings in the economy and im making progress on sustainability, as well as the underlying ways in which we can work together in groups to make better, more sustainable long-term decisions.

Topics of discussion may include (but are not limited to!) the following as they relate to intentional communities:

Types of existing communities
Case studies - what's been and is being done? What's planned? What works, what doesn't, what's known, what's not?
Legal structures
Governance, decision-making
Financial management
Cottage industries (onsite)
Community buildings
Food production
Water reclamation and distribution
Energy production and use
Site evaluation rubric
Expectations of members
Member evaluation rubric
Community Plan

If there is sufficient "understanding, agreement, interest and 'intent'", the group or some portion of it may then proceed with developing a community or starting an incubator to foster the development of communities.

I encourage participants in this group to collaborate by producing diaries, participating in comments and even just lurking (with enthusiasm!)

Some Resources:
Intentional Communities website of the Fellowship of Intentional Communities
Communities magazine
Directory of Communities
Intentional Community (wikipedia)
Global Ecovillage Network
Ecovillage (wikipedia)
Cooperative Living (wikipedia)
North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO)
citisven's How the Coop Movement Can Help Us Win Together
Cooperative Business Structure (SBA)
National Cooperative Business Association
Commune (wikipedia)
Cohousing (coho) (wikipedia)
Direct Democracy (wikipedia)
Participatory Democracy (wikipedia)
Consensus decision-making (wikipedia)
Participatory Economics  (wikipedia)
Sustainability (wikipedia)
Permaculture (wikipedia)
Permaculture Principles
Ethical consumerism (wikipedia)

Dancing Rabbit
O.U.R. Ecovillage
The Farm

Transition Towns (wikipedia)
Transition Towns USA
Transition Network
citisven's Bring Transition Town-style Sharing to your Community
Employee-Owned Business Incubator

Originally posted to Words In Action on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:24 AM PDT.

Also republished by Intentional Community Research and Development, Kossacks helping each other, Kossack Commune, and DK Lending.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:24:19 AM PDT

  •  Just let me know if there is any particular (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, tonyahky, allenjo, terabytes, Mrs M, raines

    area you are most interested in exploring. If you want to get involved in the research and would like to collaborate in a coordinated manner, shoot me a message. If you would like to help with the research but not write up diaries, I can work with that, too.

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:53:09 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for getting this rolling (0+ / 0-)

      I'll collaborate, to the extent of my availability, I need to guard my time, so will probably advise but if you add me to the group I can add the occasional diary to the mix.

      I share your belief that communities are important to us in so many ways, as laboratories of democracy and economy, as well as for the green aspects that go way beyond green building.

      I've been on the FIC and Coho/US national boards, visited over 100 US cohousing neighborhoods, helped create the Within Reach movie you blogged about, and lived in 2 cohousing neighborhoods, and run a regional network with over 2000 community seekers, and work as a Cohousing Coach, so I'm quite interested in the topic, as you can imagine. I've even exhibited at several Netroots Nation/YearlyKos conference under the group name "Democracy Begins At Home".

      That said, I don't know how effective your approach of posting a blog entry about a community just based on their documents will be... so much is in the particular people, and aspects that may not appear on websites. There's no substitute for visiting.


  •  Thanks for doing this work WIA. (11+ / 0-)

    I think this is important stuff. Banding together to find alternatives to the hideous future being shoved down our throats seems like a smart thing to do.

  •  One hypothesis I will be testing as (7+ / 0-)

    I continue down this path is that I believe there is a relationship between the plutocracy, Wall St, the occupy movement and intentional community. I believe that there is already increased interest in intentional communities and that it will grow. And I think that occupiers and kindred spirits of occupy are and will be involved in that.

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:11:02 AM PDT

    •  Looking at Occupy Sandy (4+ / 0-)

      I suspect that if we could find that element that appealed to the occupiers it would be a done deal in about 20 states.

      In my city we have a bunch of empty school buildings (and asbestos may be a big problem.) And in other communities there are buildings, empty buildings going begging.

      But it isn't just the buildings, there would be a need for a considerable amount of land to create gardens (and have chickens and such IMO).

      American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

      by glitterscale on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 01:03:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  communities are incubators for activists (0+ / 0-)

      once you know your neighbors you can support each other and learn from one another.

      One of the Madison cohousing neighborhoods helped feed and shelter the statehouse occupiers and made and gave away over 10,000 buttons.

  •  Great area of focus (5+ / 0-)

    These days I don't have a lot of spare time left over with which to offer help, but I support what you're doing.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:51:33 AM PDT

  •  Excellent, WIA. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UTvoter, Words In Action, tonyahky, raines

    You seem to have thought of almost every angle of approach to this topic. Looks to be both  wide ranging and in depth. The scope of this undertaking will take some focus and thought on my part, but for those who may already be plugged in to some aspect of new communities, this group may well serve as a real nexus.
    Thank you for the time you have obviously put into this.

  •  I'm in... but likely not going to be able to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, tonyahky, raines

    produce any diaries....but i will lurk around the group... did you set it up? i see a link up there in the republished diary notices.. i'll click on the link and see where i t leads.

    "None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps" Thurgood Marshall

    by UTvoter on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 12:03:22 PM PDT

  •  I got to thinking about intentional (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, tonyahky, raines

    communities when XPrize had a huge prize for figuring out how to make a community healthy. I never could get anybody interested in it around here (I live in KC which is not a hotbed of new thinking.) I thought that in order to have a healthy community then there needs to be elements OF a community. Like the Occupy folks have proven, it isn't that tough to look out for one another and share what one has.

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 12:59:30 PM PDT

    •  KC is not a hotbed of new thinking?? :) (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tonyahky, terabytes, glitterscale, raines

      Thing is, it can start small. Most are small. Lots of cohousing that is one building shared by 2-8 people. Even KC might have that many progressives. :)

      The key is finding them. And finding the money to get started. Don't know how Craigslist is in KC, but that's one networking venue. If you stay posted here you might pick up some things you want/need to know before you go further. I would check out the Intentional Communities website and locate by state for MO and KS. There may be one nearby you can visit and/or join. Also, I think I saw a property in Lawrence listed in the classified.

      There are couple of urban intentional communities up i OH that stick out in my mind. One is Enright Ridge in Akron.

      Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

      by Words In Action on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 01:22:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  there is some research on health benefits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of living closely with neighbors, having caring relationships.

      Look up "Roseto Effect" for one example.

      Also see a couple chapters in the movie "Happy"

      Happy World Happy Day, BTW!

  •  This is all very interesting to me. I have been (4+ / 0-)

    thinking along the same lines for years. In fact, I've been looking at buying some land somewhere out in the country so I can set my kids up with a small, self-sufficient farm.

    I would also like to be out in the country so I can engage in a bit of experimentation. First of all, I think that climate change is going to drastically affect the way even us small gardeners produce our food crops and keep livestock. So I  want to experiment with some ideas I've been kicking around. Also, I have come up with an idea for a way to build a solar powered central air conditioning system that only uses a small solar powered pump for electricity. Of course, I can't build a prototype of such a thing if I'm renting or living in town.  

    If you're going to try out alternative building techniques, one big issue is finding land that doesn't have any restrictive covenants that will keep you from being able to do what you want on your property. That usually means moving way out in the country somewhere. But I don't mind that part of it!

    Another consideration is finding a way to finance the land--but if you look around, there are land sellers willing to do contract for deed deals. I've found a few--like this guy in Missouri--who will either ask for very little down (as in less than a few thousand dollars) or who will even just let you start making payments.

    I've been seriously looking at a place south of Owensboro, Ky I found--it has 4 acres and already has a mobile home on it--for $40,000. He's another one who will do a simple contract for deed deal. It is near the blacktop road, and already has all the utilities run out to it. It also borders a creek on one side. We could live in the trailer while building a house. I would probably build it using the slipform masonry technique, since I have some background doing stone work.

    Of course, this means doing it all myself, pretty much. But the idea of living in a community with other like-minded people is intriguing. I look forward to seeing what sort of ideas this group comes up with!

    •  Glad to hear it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tonyahky, Mrs M, raines

      And you're not alone. I think a lot of people are intrigued. Some are interested in the concept, even if not for themselves, but for other people. You know, one can make it possible for other. And then there are those open to finding out if it makes sense for them personally.

      Putting your children in a position where they can be self-sufficient and live sustainably, I just think that makes a whole lot of sense. Other than love and a decent education, there's really nothing better you could do for them.

      Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

      by Words In Action on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 02:53:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly! I am looking at ways I can help my (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terabytes, FishOutofWater, raines

        kids avoid some of the traps and pitfalls that are harming so many young people today--like debt. Instead of sending my oldest daughter--who is a high school senior this year--to the state college located in our town, I'm instead going to send her to the community college for two years. If she gets an associate's degree here, she can get a deal called a transfer scholarship that would allow her to attend many of the public colleges here in KY for her last two years for the same price the community college costs. If she lives at home, she could afford to go to school on just what she receives in grants--without having to take out any loans.

        Also, a place like the one I'm looking at in western KY wouldn't take that long to pay off. It costs me $1000 to live in the place I'm in now. I could pay that off in about 4 years, and own it outright, free and clear.

        You can also cut your costs of living by raising a garden and keeping some small livestock--like chickens. It is easily possible to cut your food bill by about 2/3 that way.

        A wood stove combined with solar powered radiant flooring could reduce your bill for hot water and heating to $0. Solar power could provide the bulk of our electricity. And a water ram out in the creek could be used to pump water for the garden using no electricity at all.

        The kinds of things I mentioned above are a way I feel I could leave my kids some real financial security--by greatly reducing the amount of money they will need.

        •  This winter I burned wood from trees downed (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tonyahky, Mrs M, raines

          by hurricane Irene. I was very surprised how warm the house was with just a good fireplace insert that has a blower. This is a rental house in Jacksonville, NC that has some really cool things and some really screwed up things. The fireplace insert has been a very pleasant surprise.

          That's a great comment.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 05:54:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My dad used to build fireplaces with those kinds (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            of inserts in them for people. If I was going to build one, I think I would build a Russian furnace. The thermal mass of those things makes them absorb more of the heat produced by the fire, which is then radiated back into the house.

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