My partner and I have often talked about ecovillages and other intentional communities (at the present time, we're still living with our parents). It would be a lot more approachable for us than anything else, since we won't be able to get a mortgage and buy land ourselves, independently. We hope to live in a wooden cabin or earthbag / straw bale house, depending on what would most suit the environment.
However, every kind of intentional community made us realise the same: Frankly, we don't want to share our living space. We want a separate home. Autonomy and privacy are too precious to us. In the future we would love to get child(ren) together, and within the walls of our own home, we just want to live like any normal family - no communal meals and other ritual practices. Now you may wonder, what remains? Then why think of an intentional community? Well, the thing is, we do want to share something. There is a collective interest, which is economical. We can't imagine that there aren't other people that don't want to share a household... It doesn't mean that one doesn't want to get along with the others, but compare it to a conventional neighbourhood: People still talk with each other, can even visit each other's house or be friends, but they have a completely individual household. Well, that's what we want too.
The sense of community would be represented by the conjoint work we commit ourselves to. That's essentially the difference, along with concern for ecological integrity.
Basically, there are two options.
Option 1: Living on the land of others, if possible build our own home, and do work in exchange to live on that land. We (my partner and I) would have a submissive position.
Option 2: Living on a land with no hierarchy. We would share it with others while all having the same rights. Each household would be a separate building. The practices / work / maintenance on that land would have a communal purpose, while also providing self-sufficiency. One example is a communal yard to grow food (more households means more help, so you can do this on a bigger scale). I imagine that something like this can be a reality when you buy land with a group of people. Depending on the sum of money, this may be a future opportunity for us. Of course, we would have to discuss details thoroughly with the other participants (and write a contract together) in order to bring such idea into practice.
So, I was wondering, is there a specific term for either option 1 or 2? I wonder about your thoughts, is it realistic, does it have potential?
I have seen videos here and there where there were situations like this. Most of the time there were communal assets and individual assets. What those were varies highly from one to the next, but a few I can recall were as follows: Having a communal dinner twice a week. Having all members either pay a portion of the mortgage or else having to work a certain number of hours on the community business. Shared gardening chores. Requirements to meet as a whole so that you stayed in sync with the community.
In each of those situations, I recall there being a large structure for bigger get-togethers, but everyone had their own housing, their own space of varying sizes and relative freedom to live as they wished.
If you took out the word 'communal' and replaced it with the word 'cooperate' I think it goes a long way towards removing the stigma of a commune of zealots.
Rather than be 'forced to attend a ritual', I would be delighted to be 'invited to a potluck supper'
Privacy is always at odds with community. Where is the dividing line? The front door or the fence? Plenty of folks demand a boundary: this is mine, that's yours.
Autonomy is always at odds with gubmint. Do you have a right to move about or is it a privilege to use public roads?
I've been doing much thinking lately of how to find a balance between independence and cooperation. More cooperation brings economic advantage. Too much cooperation can infringe on privacy.
I'd be happy to split a sack of grain with you. I do not wish to hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
A community of homesteaders would be appealing to me. Developing a homeowners association where I am limited and criticized by my neighbors would put me off.
At the same time, if the neighbors are unrestricted and have frequent loud parties lasting into the next morning, I'd be pretty grumpy about that too.
Being considerate has it's place.
A bunch of people can go far if they organize and do it without giving up independence.
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