Intentional communities
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INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES. JIŘÍ NOSEK, SYLWIA ZUKOWSKA, IPEK KOSOVA, MAI LAN CHI. BASIC INFORMATIONS. planned residential community designed to have a much higher degree of teamwork than other communities the members hold a common social, political or spiritual vision

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Intentional communities



Basic informations

  • planned residential community designed to have a much higher degree of teamwork than other communities

  • the members hold a common social, political or spiritual vision

  • they also share responsibilities and resources

  • Intentional communities include cohousing communities, residential land trusts, ecovillages, communes, kibbutzim, ashrams and housing cooperatives

  • survey in the 1995 reported that 54% of the communities were rural, 28% were urban, 10% had both rural and urban sites, and 8% didn't specify

Type of governance

  • democratic (64%), with decisions made by some form of consensus decision-making or voting

  • 9% have a hierarchical or authoritarian structure

  • 11% are a combination of democratic and hierarchical structure

  • 16% don't specify

    Many communities which were led by individual or small group have changed to a

    more democratic form of governance.

1 community land trust

  • villages held property in the community interest

  • European and North American land banksinvest in land to help build family farms or to encourage economic development

  • Reverse increasing poverty


  • Reach control over local land and increase ownership

  • Provide affordable housing for lower income people in the community

  • Keep housing affordable for future residents

  • Capturethe value of public investment for long-term community benefit

  • Build a strong base for community action

2 commune

  • community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possessions, resources, work and income

  • For communes is important communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures, ecological living, core principles

  • Some communes formed around spiritual leaderssomefrompolitical ideologies

  • For others, the "glue" is the desire for a more shared, sociable lifestyle. Moreover, some people find it is more economical to live communally.

    Three main characteristics:

  • 1. egalitarianism (equality)

  • 2. human scale - members of communes saw the scale of society as it was then organised as being too large

  • 3. communes were consciously anti-bureaucratic

Definitions of communes

Dr. Bill Metcalf, defined communes as:

  • the importance of the group, a "common purse„

  • collective household

  • group decision making in general and intimate affairs

  • Sharing everyday life and facilities

  • commune is an idealised form of family

  • commune members have emotional bonds to the whole group

    ElisabethVob (Germany):

  • live and work together

  • communal economy, common finances and common property (land, buildings, means of production),

  • have communal decision making - usually consensus decision making

  • try to reduce hierarchy and hierarchical structures

  • have communalisation of housework, childcare and other communal tasks

  • have equality between women and men

  • have low ecological footprints through sharing and saving resources

3 kibbutz

  • kibbutz = "gathering, clustering”

  • collective community in Israel based on agriculture

  • Communal living that combines socialism and Zionism

  • Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises firma.

    There are three types of kibbutzim:

  • Kibbutz Shitufi: preserves a cooperative system.

  • Kibbutz Mitchadesh: number of cooperative systems in its intentions

  • Urban kibbutz: exist within an existing settlement (city). Since the 1970s around 100 urban kibbutzim have been founded within existing Israeli cities. They have no enterprises of their own and all of their members work in the non-kibbutz sector.

4 ashram

  • The word ashram is derived from the term āśraya, which means "protection"

  • intentional community formed primarily for spiritual upliftment of its members, often headed by a religious leader or mystic

  • located far from human habitation, in forests or mountainous regions, conducive to spiritual instruction and meditation

  • residents performed spiritual and physical exercises, such as Yoga, sacrifices and penances

  • Ashrams also have residential schools for children

5 housing cooperative

  • usually a corporation—that owns real estate, consisting of one or more residential buildings.

  • Each householder is granted the right to occupy one housing unit, sometimes it is a lease

  • fee-paying members obtain the right to occupy a bedroom, share the communal resources of a house that is owned by a cooperative organization

  • student cooperatives in some college neighborhoods in the United States

6 cohousing

  • composed of private homes with full kitchens, supplemented by extensive common facilities

  • is planned, owned and managed by the residents, groups of people who want more interaction with their neighbours

  • common large kitchen and dining room where residents can take turns cooking for the community

  • other facilities may include a laundry, pool, child care facilities, offices, internet access, game room, TV room, tool room or a gym

  • thanks spatial design and shared activities, community enable intergenerational interaction among neighbours

  • also economic and environmental benefits to sharing resources, space and items

7 ecovillage

  • intended to be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable intentional community

  • aim for a population of 50-150 individuals

  • members are united by shared ecological, social-economic and cultural-spiritual values

  • is composed of people who have chosen an alternative to centralized electrical, water, and sewage systems

    Definition by Robert Gilman :

  • human-scale

  • full-featured settlement plan

  • human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world

  • supporting healthy human development

  • can be successfully continued into the indefinite future

Characteristic of ecovillage

  • principles can be applied to urban and rural settings, as well as to developing and developed countries

  • followers seek a sustainable lifestyle for inhabitants

  • minimum of trade outside the local area

  • independence from existing infrastructures / more urban settings - integration with existing infrastructure

  • ruralecovillages are based on organic farming, permaculture and other approaches promoting ecosystem function


  • autonomous building or clustered housing, to minimize ecological footprint;

  • renewable energy

  • Permaculture

List of ecovillages


AiH in English, AiH in Danish, Denmark

BedZED, England

BrithdirMawr, Wales

Ecoforest, Spain

Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland

Freetown Christiania, Denmark

Munksøgård, Denmark

Hermes Projekt, Turkey

Zonneterp-project, the Netherlands

StammderLikatier, Germany

ZEGG, Germany

Tamera, Portugal

TorriSuperiore, Italy

Zajezka, Slovakia

Sólheimar, Iceland

North America

Berea College Ecovillage, Kentucky

Cobb Hill, Vermont

Dancing Rabbit, Missouri

Dreamtime Village, Wisconsin

EarthavenEcovillage, North Carolina

EcoReality, British Columbia

EcoVillage at Ithaca, New York

EcoVillage of Loudoun County, Virginia

Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village Cincinnati, Ohio

Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm, Tennessee

KakwaEcovillage Cooperative, British Columbia

Huehuecoyotl, Mexico

Los Angeles Eco-Village, California

LightworkEcovillage, Gambier Island, BC, British Columbia

MaitreyaEcovillage, Eugene, OR

Manitou Arbor, Michigan

The Nonmune, Vancouver, BC

Mont Radar, Quebec, Canada

Orange Twin Conservation Community, Georgia

O.U.R. Ecovillage, British Columbia

PAZ Ecovillage, Texas

Plan B Ecovillage, Missouri

Prairie's Edge Eco-Village, Manitoba

Twin Oaks Community, Virginia

Vegan Ecovillage, Hawaii

White Hawk Ecovillage, New York

Yarrow Ecovillage, British Columbia

South America

AldeaFeliz, Colombia

Ecopueblo Pualafquén, Chile

Ecovila Cunha, Brazil

Gaviotas, Colombia

Lothlorien, Brazil

São Paulo Ecovila, Brazil

Gaia Ecovilla, Argentina

Asia and Oceana

Aldinga Arts EcoVillage,


Kookaburra Park Eco-Village,




Crystal Waters Village,


Homeland Community,


Somerville Ecovillage,


Cape Paterson Eco Village,


model village, Congo


Auroville, India

7a ecovillage in denmark

  • Membershipfee:   300 DKK/ year

  • Members:About 130 adults. Most ofthem are livingorplan to live atthe Co-house groupsofAiH.

  • Residents:  85 families: about 220 adultsandchildren.

  • ContactAddress:GammelKirkevej 82, 8530 Hjortshoj, Denmark.

  • Location:NorthofAarhus, 15 km fromthemaincentraltrain station.

  • Transport:Localtrainor bus No. 58 (bothfromAarhusmaintrain station).

  • Established:  1986. Area size: 22 hectares

Ecovillage in denmark

  • Co-house Groups:There are 5 Co-House Groups. 2 more are plannedpresently.

    Co-house Group 1: 10 families in twinhouses

    Co-house Group 2: 20 families in rowhouses

    Co-house Group 3: 11 families in single housesandonetwin house

    Co-house Group 4: 26 families in rowhouses

    Co-house Group 5: 18 families in rowhouses

  • CommonBuildings:There are 4 CommonBuildingsandanExhibition & Office Building


AiHaims to beanexampleoflivingwithsustainability as a keyword

Thisapproachisvisible in many ways in theirdailylife, examples are:

  • Houses are built to beenvironmentallysustainable (e.g., rammedclay, earthblocks, wood, paperinsulation, solarcollectors, ovens, paintfromlinenoiletc)

  • Usingcompostorseparationtoilets

  • rainwaterisused in thecommonwashingmachines

  • urine is to beirrigated to plantsafter 9 monthsofstorage

  • farming, withanimalslikechicken, cows, andgoats

  • car-sharingAssociation (twocars)

  • commondinnerthreedays a week

  • lessnumberpeoplehavecarsand more people use bicyclesandbicycletrailers, againsthighways

  • EnergyAssociationprovidinghotwaterfrom a wood-pilletand a woodchipburning boiler

  • Commonsocialeventsandarrangements (New Year, harvestcelebration, artworkshopsetc.)

  • Culturaleveningsanddayswith music, dance, story tellingbothforadultsandchildren

  • Michels's Eco-green, whichis a commercialorganicvegetablefarmingandorganicicecreamproduction. Open twotimes a week.

  • Biodiversity care: Re-establishment of a lake in August 2001.

  • Gymnasticfordifferentagegroups, dancing forchildren, yoga

Resident democracy

  • reachgoalsthroughtheprinciplesofdemocracyandof co-operationalorganization

  • chairpersonandmonthlymeetings, wherethedecisions are made

  • principlesof a "resident democracy". Themembers are linked to a co-housinggroup, and to theassociationse.g. car sharing, energy, vegetablefarmingandotheractivity

  • these associationsalsohaveseparatechairpersons

7b ecovillage bedzed

  • environmentally-friendly-housingdevelopmentnearWallington, England

  • 99 homes, and 1,405 square metres ofworkspacewerebuilt in 2000–2002

  • BecauseofBedZED's low-energy-emissionconcept, cars are discouraged; theprojectencourages public transport, cycling, andwalking, and has limited parking space (BedZEDisserviced by the 127 bus)

Design principles of bedzed

  • Zeroenergy—using only energy from renewable sources generated on site; 777 m² of solarpanels; treewastefuelsthedevelopment's cogenerationplant to providedistrictheatingand elektricity

  • Energyefficient—Thehousesfacesouth to takeadvantageofsolargain, are triple glazed, andhavehighthermalinsulation

  • Waterefficient—rainwateriscollectedand rezed

  • Low-impactmaterials—Buildingmaterialswereselectedfromrenewableorrecycledsourceswithin 35 milesofthesite, to minimizetheenergyrequiredfortransportation

  • Waste recycling—Refuse-collectionfacilities are designed to support recycling.

  • Transport—car-sharingsystem, electricandliquefied-petroleum-gascarshave priority overcarsthatburnpetroland diesel, electricityisprovided in parking spacesforchargingelectriccars.