Neighborhood Sharing Economy

The sections below have tips and links for a variety of ways to share resources that could be part of a residential intentional community or simply a neighborhood project. Trying these arrangements could help you determine whether some types of more intensive sharing are realistic for you currently. These can also help develop trust and practice group decision-making. It takes time to build trust, so having regular interaction based on resource sharing lets you find out what works for you individually and as a group.

ICmatch group profiles can be used to create non-residential types of purpose-based community that require close sustained cooperation. If that’s your goal, as you fill out the co-housing section of the profile, select the option “shared project but not shared housing.” Connect with platforms, organizations, and resources listed for these project types, and when those interested find you, refer them to your profile.

To start with a small-scale project, you might begin with container gardening, backyard chickens, or find a community garden near you. If you are ready for a larger project, consider joining neighborhood-level initiatives or introducing elements of the transition towns movement to existing groups such as a neighborhood watch or service club.

If you want to increase the community cohesiveness where you already live, you might find that neighborhood resilience circles are a good way to develop a relationship with people willing to support each other in hard times. See localcircles.org. You might also search for formal “mutual aid networks” and include your location. You might advertise your meetings to new members thru Meetup.com or Eventbrite.

The world’s longest-lived people chose—or were born into—long-standing social circles. For example, Okinawans created groups called a moai (pronounced mow-eye)—groups of about five that originally were assigned to each other as a social safety net, but many of them became committed friends for life.

Create a rotating schedule of meals with neighbors or a friend group, to save time and enjoy more variety. You could eat in each other’s homes to enjoy the company, or cook extra on certain nights and deliver to the others’ homes.

Aging family members eventually lose many of their friends due to death or inability to travel. Creating a social support group to facilitate visits and activities could ease the loneliness many feel at this time of life. You might find interested others by creating a Facebook page, leaving notices with businesses or non-profits who serve the elderly, or thru Meetup.com.

Pods, also called bubbles or quaranteams, helped people stay safe, healthy, socially supported, and sane amid the pandemic restrictions. Some continue to need to limit their exposure to various medical risks. As a group, be clear with each other about the level of personal risk that feels okay for you, depending on the vulnerability of your immediate household members. Set rules you all agree on. See our in-depth suggestions

If you are interested in revenue sharing and mutual support agreements for professional teams, see Enspiral as an example of a work cooperative with innovative work team management and finance sharing. Sometimes when a business is up for sale, a group of employees has purchased it to continue operation as a coop. ICmatch could help you find long-term matches for a leadership team with specific skill sets and interests. You might also hire contractors from idealist.org or Upwork.

  • Useful services to help share the cost of housing include roommate and housemate finders. Friendsmates.com is community oriented but features limited metro areas: LA, San Diego, Austin, and Tulum. There are a lot of rental agreement tips online. For example, for sharing a single residence, you might split rent by bedroom, utilities by people.
  • Shared housing platforms such as Common, Starcity, Roam, and WeLive similarly focus on metropolitan areas. With these, you don’t choose your house mates, but you also don’t need to negotiate with them, as your expenses are paid to a hosting company.
  • If you want a real community experience for a longer term, see Cost Sharing for Professionals in Metropolitan Areas.
  • If you’re looking for the “Airbnb” of storage spaces, see neighbor.com.
  • Lyft, Uber, and similar services are great for infrequent needs and for travel while away from your home area. Newer carshare services are popping up in many metropolitan areas, where you pay per hour or per mile to “borrow” a car from the service. In addition, there are websites that organize carpools for regular commutes. 
  • If you are looking to keep the benefits of private vehicle use with less cost, or if you aren’t in a metropolitan area where carshares are located, forming a car share with friends or neighbors close by could be a great option, especially when each household has a vehicle and only occasionally needs a second. A search for “carshare template agreement” will bring up helpful tips and forms.

Time banks can track your contributions to allow you to swap services rather than exchanging them in the economic marketplace. Use search terms such as “time bank” or “local currency” along with your location. On a related note, bartering websites such as freecycle.org, or classified ads can lead you to a trove of resources, often for free.

  • For those who travel frequently, the ever-popular Airbnb.com has a review system for built-in accountability, whether you are renting to others or from others. Month-to-month rental listings with shared space for urban digital nomads include: digitalnomads.world coliving.com anyplace.com common.com cohabs.com, Embassy Network, and welive.
  • For those who have a home but need help while away, there are many sites that can connect temporary housesitters or petsitters. Some sites specialize in long-term. Many charge a fee to access listings. 
  • Property management companies can do the legwork for you to try out co-housing, and possibly alleviate some of the potential legal risks. This article gives an update of the coliving concept and many property management companies.
  • As an alternative to the purely transactional services mentioned above, ICmatch could be useful if you are looking for a highly compatible long-term live-in housemate situation where you feel as if you’re living with a friend, someone who is enjoyable company when you’re home. For your profile, in the co-housing section you can indicate that you are looking for roommates and/or housemates and select “rented cohousing” as an interest. See also Trial run: Join a Household.
  • Canopy is a project of the company Open Door. The partners say they envision a network of cooperative living houses across America, connected so that members could easily travel and stay overnight in partnering “co-living” homes. A main aim is to avoid some of the tedious meetings associated with cooperative living, and to simplify financial management.