Living in an intentional community goes deeper than sharing housing or living in the same housing cluster. Below you will learn more about different types of intentional community and the benefits of living in community.
How are all types of intentional community similar?
It includes some degree of sharing values, resources, and lives together. Camaraderie and a shared purpose are part of it. Sociologists have identified three conditions to making close friends: proximity, repeated unplanned interactions, and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other.
Many writers have commented on the difficulty of maintaining friendships in our busy lives, and of making friends of the quality that some of us might have taken for granted during college years when sociability was intense and frequent.
Intentional community is an opportunity to recapture a sense of social enjoyment, as well as offering significant practical benefits, in exchange for the inconvenience of having to consider others’ needs and preferences more often.
What is an Intentional Community?
Types of Intentional Communities
These community pages linked below are intended to point you to the best resources for finding, joining, or creating successful ICs of the type you’re interested in. You’ll find multiple resources for setting up time-tested frameworks for effective cooperation. While most of these types of intentional communities share recreational or work resources, they don’t necessarily share living or work space on a consistent basis.
Something that all intentional communities have in common is that they have shared decision-making and some shared values. In the following list, ICs are organized by what members are often primarily looking for.
Belonging and Ease
- Life partner with community values
- Single-parent shared housing
- Multi-family shared house
- Cohousing: Private units & shared space
Later in Life
Shared Cultural Values
Self-sufficiency & Sustainability
Care and Social Safety Net
Community as a Work Team
- Retreat or event hosting
- Recreation venture teams & housing
- Artist collective & live work space
- Activist commune
Groups planning these types of ICs should be compatible as a leadership team. They may co-own or collectively operate a business or project. They may or may not live in the same building as each other or in the same facility where they work, but while closely sharing space, they will need a high level of compatibility and cooperation.
Join as a Subscriber to Find Others & Form Intentional Communities
Is there a description above that matches your intended IC? Consider subscribing to a paid membership to get your profile posted on a community types page.
During 2023 subscribers can pay a monthly listing fee of $3 to be featured on pages for the IC types listed above, or you could ask to be featured for free based on a pro-social mission and a completed profile.
See the FAQ What do I get from becoming a subscriber?
Intentional Community Development
Which of these stages are you ready for?
Forming-phase group with location flexibility
- Forming-phase groups may have a goal of a residential community that is immediate or years away.
- You may be invested in getting the best fit in personality and values before you together decide on an exact location.
- You may be saving up and waiting to discover affordable land or build multi-unit co-housing.
- In this phase, ICmatch gives you the ability to search for and contact potential members whose detailed profiles help you identify compatibility. You can advertise your group as a forming group without a set location.
Forming-phase group with location stability
- In this phase, you may have found a property you want to purchase and are actively recruiting in order to increase your financial resources.
- Groups that are searching for members can maintain a group profile to help determine a good fit in values of prospective members.
- In this phase, you may want to list both with IC.org and with ICmatch.org. IC.org puts your forming community on their map, while ICmatch helps you advertise your group for free, benefit from ICmatch’s outreach work, and identify compatibility.
Established intentional community
- An individual within an established IC may wish to bring in a business partner or life partner.
- An IC may have vacancy for your group to enter as a household unit.
- When a group is seeking membership in an established IC that has residences available, the trade-off is that these may be harder to get into, but they are more likely to be stable over time, with a set culture and rules.
- ICmatch groups that meet their goal to rent or purchase land or residences become an IC. At that point, post with an IC directory such as the FEC or FIC to get on their map.