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Overflow problems in intentional communities?

 
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I'm just curious (although I do have another reason for asking) ... are there any successful intentional communities that have the problem of too many members for the size of their land and community goals? The "just curious" part of me wants to know because I see so many ads (for lack of a better word) for people to come be a part of one, but I never see these ICs telling people they're all filled up and not to apply. If it does happen, what do you do? Wait for someone to die? Ask your least favorite members to leave so you can get others you like better? Expand the land base? What is your strategy?

I am especially interested in the possibility of an IC expanding its property to accommodate new members. What do you do if there is no land nearby for sale? Have you considered splinter groups or more properly, a kind of annex or sister site that works with the original community but is separate from it physically? I'm asking this because my husband and I have land that we want to protect after we shake this mortal coil and think an IC might be a good way to do it, but we haven't the foggiest idea how to start a community of our own. We would be very interested in becoming an annex (or whatever it would be called) to an established and successful IC. We have 75 acres of our own in a very rural area, but in addition, we adjoin Mark Twain National Forest with its thousands of acres of public land (near Hercules Glade Wilderness in SW Missouri) along our entire 1/2 mile eastern border. We have blazed trails through the forest and regularly forage there for wild edibles like nuts, mushrooms and herbs. In 25 years of living here, we have only encountered other people in the woods 5 times--that is how remote the location is. It would be perfect for a seriously environmentally-minded IC.

Anyone interested in this or know of a community that might be?
 
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Our community experienced huge growth from 1968 until sometime the early 1980s. It began initially by purchasing a three story multi-family house in downtown Oakland, CA on January 1, 1968, then purchased other houses in the same Oakland neighborhood.  About four years later the group purchased a house in a rural town about 20 miles away. The rural group was fortunate in that it was able to, over the next ten years or so, purchase four of the adjacent houses and some adjacent acreage.  Later the group purchased two adjacent houses in Hawaii.

The adjacent rural houses exist today as a single 23-acre community, http://www.lafayettemorehouse.com. The original urban multifamily house is another group, http://www.oaklandmorehouse.com. The Hawaii Morehouse doesn't have a website.  Legally these are separate entities, but in practice, the groups behave as a family.

Deb Stephens wrote: <snip> ... are there any successful intentional communities that have the problem of too many members for the size of their land and community goals? <snip> , but I never see these ICs telling people they're all filled up and not to apply. If it does happen, what do you do? Wait for someone to die? Ask your least favorite members to leave so you can get others you like better? Expand the land base? What is your strategy?



We've tried most of the above except telling people to go away.  We've packed more people in per room - fewer single rooms - we've bought new properties both adjacent and non-adjacent, and some people have gone on to start their own groups.

Deb Stephens wrote: <snip>  I am especially interested in the possibility of an IC expanding its property to accommodate new members. What do you do if there is no land nearby for sale? Have you considered splinter groups or more properly, a kind of annex or sister site that works with the original community but is separate from it physically?



As mentioned above, we've expanded both adjacent and non-adjacent.   There are pros & cons to each.
 
Deb Stephens
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George Lafayette wrote:Our community experienced huge growth from 1968 until sometime the early 1980s. It began initially by purchasing a three story multi-family house in downtown Oakland, CA on January 1, 1968, then purchased other houses in the same Oakland neighborhood.  About four years later the group purchased a house in a rural town about 20 miles away. The rural group was fortunate in that it was able to, over the next ten years or so, purchase four of the adjacent houses and some adjacent acreage.  Later the group purchased two adjacent houses in Hawaii.

The adjacent rural houses exist today as a single 23-acre community, http://www.lafayettemorehouse.com. The original urban multifamily house is another group, http://www.oaklandmorehouse.com. The Hawaii Morehouse doesn't have a website.  Legally these are separate entities, but in practice, the groups behave as a family.

Deb Stephens wrote: <snip> ... are there any successful intentional communities that have the problem of too many members for the size of their land and community goals? <snip> , but I never see these ICs telling people they're all filled up and not to apply. If it does happen, what do you do? Wait for someone to die? Ask your least favorite members to leave so you can get others you like better? Expand the land base? What is your strategy?



We've tried most of the above except telling people to go away.  We've packed more people in per room - fewer single rooms - we've bought new properties both adjacent and non-adjacent, and some people have gone on to start their own groups.

Deb Stephens wrote: <snip>  I am especially interested in the possibility of an IC expanding its property to accommodate new members. What do you do if there is no land nearby for sale? Have you considered splinter groups or more properly, a kind of annex or sister site that works with the original community but is separate from it physically?



As mentioned above, we've expanded both adjacent and non-adjacent.   There are pros & cons to each.



Thanks for all this information George. I am curious about what happened when you tried packing people tighter as well as what the pros and cons of the adjacent and non-adjacent properties may be. Would you mind elaborating on those? Thanks!
 
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Hi Deb,

I'll bet there are some interested friends or couples at the eastwind commune right down the road from you! Lots of awesome people, some of whom want to stay near the commune but maybe would like to be down the road and a little more independent.  If you haven't already, consider getting ahold of them, seems like a good fit to me. If you were to want to visit them, which I'd recommend, they definitely want to be emailed or called in advance. Hope that helps-GP
 
Deb Stephens
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Taz Jones wrote:Hi Deb,

I'll bet there are some interested friends or couples at the eastwind commune right down the road from you! Lots of awesome people, some of whom want to stay near the commune but maybe would like to be down the road and a little more independent.  If you haven't already, consider getting ahold of them, seems like a good fit to me. If you were to want to visit them, which I'd recommend, they definitely want to be emailed or called in advance. Hope that helps-GP



Thanks Taz. I've actually been looking at the East Wind group website for awhile and thinking about getting in touch. I've looked at Dancing Rabbit too, but they're a bit too much like a regular town (except with environmental.sustainability focus) for what we have in mind. I like the idea of a cooperative like DR slightly more than the commune-like East Wind, but DR is way too complicated with their 501c2 and 501c3 status, board of directors and staff. I could never expect to duplicate (or even understand properly) their setup, and the East Wind model seems somewhat easier to duplicate (on a much smaller scale). I think a visit may be in order!
 
George Lafayette
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Deb Stephens wrote:Thanks for all this information George. I am curious about what happened when you tried packing people tighter as well as what the pros and cons of the adjacent and non-adjacent properties may be. Would you mind elaborating on those? Thanks!



Generally having people share rooms worked out fine. Over time some percentage of people couple up or decouple so for those people there is a certain amount of room changing that goes on over time. One thing that seems unique about our group is that a very high percentage of people's "ex" or "former" partners/spouses stay within the group and remain friends.

As for distance, the greater the distance, the more the groups become separate and the slower the communication. The Oakland Morehouse is about twelve miles from here and someone visits from one to the other almost every day, but even so it can sometimes feel like a different world.
 
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