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10 Reasons to Choose to Live in an Intentional Community

Published June 26, 2024
Written by Cynthia Tina

In a world where isolation and disconnection are becoming the norm, intentional community living offers a refreshing alternative. Imagine a lifestyle where happiness, security, and sustainability are built into the very fabric of your living environment. From shared resources to deeper relationships, here are the top 10 reasons why choosing to live in intentional community can be more fulfilling than mainstream housing.

Group in D.C. choosing to live in intentional community
Group in D.C. choosing to live in intentional community.

1. You’ll live longer and be happier

Happiness is never guaranteed, but research on living the happiest, longest life points to community. The longest happiness study ever conducted, the Harvard Study of Adult Development (80 years and counting), concluded that joyful longevity has less to do with genes, diet, or exercise and everything to do with relationships.

When we live in a community, we have a variety of relationships that sustain our mental and emotional well-being. Community counters loneliness, which is as harmful to human health as smoking or alcoholism.

2. You never have to lock your door

Leave the house and forget to lock up? Fear no more. Imagine living in a neighborhood where you never have to fear burglary. Imagine living in a place where your neighbor might be miffed if they came by to drop off garden zucchini or freshly baked muffins only to find your door locked!

Residents of intentional communities typically feel a sense of trust and security among their fellow community mates. Some communities even keep doors mostly ajar, and shut them only for privacy when needed.

3. Dandelions abound

The woeful HOA resident who needs to spray their lawn to get rid of dandelions can finally feel at peace in an intentional community. Communities rarely, if ever, have rules about keeping lawns looking a certain way. If anything, a community may decide not to use pesticides and other chemical sprays. Permaculture, front lawn gardens, and wild pollinator patches are encouraged.

And regardless of your lawn preferences, because intentional communities are based on participatory decision-making, you would have the opportunity to share your opinion. If a neighbor doesn’t like your dandelions, there are systems in place for them to express that to you directly instead of through an HOA bureaucracy.

4. Fewer dog fights

Joining an intentional community is a multi-step process, for both humans and pets! When we live in a community, there’s the opportunity to introduce our furry friends to each other in a controlled and gradual manner. That means fewer fights and happier pets all around.

5. Sharing a lawn mower

Lawn mowers, washing machines, pizza ovens, electric cars, golf carts, garden tools, standing mixers, chainsaws… the list of items we can share in a community is endless! Why do you need to own your own item or piece of equipment you only seldom use? We can all own less stuff and have more of the things that matter when living in a community.

Sharing resources is better for the environment, the wallet, and builds a form of interaction with your neighbors that’s both practical and fulfilling. We all know sharing is caring.

6. Children have care in the village

Childcare can be a tremendous burden for families with single or dual working parents. Intentional community living may not fully replace the need for hired daycare, but it can certainly supplement it. Nearly all multigenerational intentional communities have informal systems for watching out for the youngest community members.

It could be the retired neighbor who makes themselves available for babysitting, the preteen who’s a mother’s helper on the weekend, the group of moms and dads that rotate watching the gang of kids, or even just the many eyes casually glancing out the window towards the village green or sledding hill where the kids play to make sure all is well.

Some intentional communities take childcare a step further by organizing summer camps, homeschooling groups, or after-school programs for kids. You know the saying, it takes a village.

7. You know your neighbors

When you find a house on Zillow or through a realtor, there’s no opportunity to meet the people you’ll be living alongside. The modern paradigm of housing is so alien from how we have evolved as humans, it is no wonder we are suffering from a myriad of loneliness-related health crises as a result.

In contrast, joining an intentional community is often a multi-step process of deepening relationships with your neighbors. You all mutually choose to live together, and you choose to become a community. That means you have the opportunity to get to know the people closest to you in proximity. Powerful feelings of belonging, trust, and companionship can result. It’s not that you’ll necessarily become best friends with everyone you live with, but at the end of the day, they are your neighbors and you’ll have each other’s backs.

8. Elders are respected

A society that glorifies youth and puts seniors away in nursing homes is on a train wreck for disaster. Elders are the glue that holds together our communities, passing on wisdom and keeping life in perspective. Within the culture of nearly all intentional communities, there is an implicit respect for elders.

9. You get to hear the other side

Nearly all intentional communities have conflict resolution processes. That means there’s a step-by-step process to follow in the event a conflict arises – and you can be sure it most certainly will when living in a community! Moreover, there’s a culture in healthy communities of embracing conflict, not as a bad thing to be avoided, but as an opportunity for learning and growth.

In such increasingly divisive times, wouldn’t it be a relief to speak with your neighbor about controversial matters – from the personal to the political – with openness and respect? Imagine if people everywhere had the opportunity to learn the skills for deeper listening, authentic communication, and handling conflict. This is one of the core gifts intentional community has to offer the world – the relearning of how to find common ground amongst our differences.

10. There’s always cream for your coffee

The classic example of intentional community living at its finest. Imagine a friend comes to visit and requests a morning cup of Joe… you happily oblige, only to realize, alas, no cream in the fridge!

What to do? Suggest Starbucks instead? Dash to the grocery store? None of the above is needed.

A quick text to Sally and a meet-up in the backyard is all that’s required to get the cream.

Guest is happy and it’s another win for community life!

How you can live in an intentional community

Intentional community living offers a vibrant, supportive, and sustainable alternative to mainstream housing. From lifelong happiness and security to shared resources and respected elders, the benefits are plentiful. If you’re seeking a richer, more connected way of living, consider the unique advantages of intentional community living.

Ready to join a community?

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Get the Intentional Communities Starter Kit

Click on the link above to learn about your options for either joining or starting an intentional community. Your journey to community living starts today!


Why do you want to live in intentional community? Which reasons are most important to you?

Let us know in the comments below!

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4 Comments
  1. Dilia

    I am following you on this intentional community, it sounds like the small town of farmers where I grew up in South America, that was not intentional, it was by default. I liked that except for the lack of education for the kids and public services. But there we don’t have extreme temperatures, this is my fear at my age. Also I want to visit, but prices for logging and visit are unaffordable to me on the edge of retirement.

    Reply
  2. Barbara Houten

    Here is sincerely hoping the cream in your coffee that you may need to borrow is from plant-based products like oat or almond milk — a consciousness of compassion prevails at your intentional community not just for humans but for all sentient beings – You know dairy kills. Be a witness and watch, “Dairy is Scary”, just a 5 minute youtube to make a choice and be kind to all kinds. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcN7SGGoCNI
    Peace begins with your plate.

    Reply
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Cynthia Tina

Hi! I’m Cynthia.

I’ve visited 150+ intentional communities — ecovillages, cohousing, coops, spiritual, permaculture, & more types of community. I created CommunityFinders to help you on your community journey. How is your journey going? How can I help?

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