What is an intentional community?

The following is a definition by Sky Blue, who was introduced early on to intentional communities by parents who had met in one. Sky lived in seven different ICs over the last 27 years. They were formerly Executive Director and are currently on the Board of the Foundation for Intentional Community. The following is quoted with permission from a presentation:

While it can be easiest to think of an intentional community as a place, at their core, intentional communities are about relationships of sharing. People sharing space, sharing resources, sharing purpose, sharing lives….Intentional communities come in all shapes and sizes. They usually have some kind of organizational structure, a membership system, and something that defines what it’s all about, the intention that makes it an intentional community….And living with others with a sense of shared purpose satisfies our basic human need for meaning. (Slide 5)

Sky and their consulting partner Avi Kruley came up with the following criteria for intentional community:

  • Residence: People choosing to live together
  • Rationale: A commonly understood intention or purpose of the community
  • Responsibilities: Cooperative governance and management
  • Resources: Collectivized economies based on mutual support
  • Relationships: A sense of connection and social interactions that build culture (slide 7)

To clarify, collectivized economies can take the form of shared resources such as vehicles, tools, insurance, or a business partnership. It does not necessarily mean income sharing, though some intentional communities do partly or fully share income.