Looking forward: Communal living

Alex Jeffery looks at the future of living in communal living

Looking forward: Communal living

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

We all seek connection and all want to know that in some way or another we are part of a ‘tribe’ and a community. We also know that with the current path planet Earth is taking we need to find more sustainable ways of living together…ways that mean we get more out of our resources — sustainably!

The definition for “communal living” is:

An intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possessions, resources, and, in some places, work and income.

We see these already coming up around the world (in America mainly at the moment) with more and more 17-27 year olds finding this form of living more social, more economical and just a lot for attractive.

I see two main benefits with communal living, one for the people and one for the planet:

People

We all want connection and to feel part of a group and a community. It’s what we all seek at the end of the day…
Communal living where there is structure and you are living with people with similar interests, complimentary strengths and common goals means that you will be completely immersed in a community of people you are going to love being around!

Of course one reason some people might not like communal living at all, is the lack of privacy and not “having your own place.” This is completely understandable and probably won’t be realistic when we have families start to get involved and need their own space. Maybe then there will be parts of each community that have separate houses but still share resources and work together in community?

Imagine if you knew your neighbours so well that you shared your weekly shop, cooked for each other, and worked so closely that your expenses were cut, you had more time and you had a new best pal next door?

Planet

Living in communities means we get to share our resources among the community and therefore reduce waste! Anything we can do to come together a little more and use our resources a little more effectively will create a dramatic difference.

We look around and see so many cars driving in the same direction with 1 or 2 people in each…the same applies with housing. It is possible to still maintain a healthy living space, that isn’t crowded and over-populated but still shares resources among members.

Overall I think you can see that communal living is something I truly believe is going to be the future of sustainable living and I didn’t even get into the potential of designing these communities with permaculture principles and including an aspect of entrepreneurship and project creation in each community!!

Anyways, this is something we are going to be experimenting with in the ONEWorld Summit Communities.

Feel free to comment or email me your feelings on this topic…would love to hear them!

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