What is an Intentional Community?

The Share-It Community is going to be, every bit an Intentional Community.

Why? Well in principle the ethos behind the idea of Intentional Community is sharing. Collaboration, caring and spending time with other members as a whole group or smaller groups, builds unique bonds of friendship, of compatibility and of responsibility. Like an extended family, that make space for each other and look out for the concerns and needs of others in that community. Intentional because it is an act of intention, rather than simply going along and seeing what happens. Each member is key to the success of a project larger than just the self, to be available when others need support or a friendly shoulder to cry on. A community set up intentionally can look deeply into more than just housing requirements, it can add emotional and creative value to the participants. It can actually save your life! In that it will give your life a social purpose, even after you had thought otherwise. Having a purpose in looking forward to activities together, of eating and socialising with the other members of your co-housing community is a powerful motivator. And if you want to stay active to keep fit and alert, then a combined schedule of participation makes that inevitable.

To watch the videos here, with English or German Subtitle simply follow these few instructions. Sadly there are not more German language versions… 1. Click over the video to start it, then pause it. 2. Click the settings icon at the bottom right. 3. Click on subtitles/CC1, then English (Auto Generated) the again on subtitles/CC1 4. If you require a German subtitle, next click auto translate. and select German. 5. Play video and enjoy the experience!!!

In Co-Housing terms it means that each members needs are considered in both decison making, as it is in practical requirements. Some members could need level access for example, whereas others can cope with stairs or ramps. Views and light that offer stimulation are very important, especially if daylight is limited and a built up area is across the street. Dealing with heavy shopping, of paying the bills, of doing DIY jobs, cleaning and gardening alone, can often seem a little daunting. But done with friends and neighbours it can be a joy. In the Share-It Community we have no expectations of how many hours you will contribute to combined activity. You decide. We also have no expectations as to how often you have to ‘get involved’ in the shared meals, preparation and cooking. Perhaps a small suggestion of once every month as an example, but again it is for you to join in as you feel able. Many of you would decide to go out for the day or spent some of your time in personal pursuits and we very much hope that you will do that. You might find it more enjoyable to go as a group and include those who may need a bit of encouragement, but there are no hard and fast rules here, it’s completely up to you.

One of the major benefits of our community will be, that we are doing our best to become self sufficient, in food production as in energy and water harvesting. We hope that you become a participant in whatever way you enjoy, as long as you consider others as you would yourself. Studies show that learning doesn’t stop as you get older, unless you stop it. So we are always going to be creating opportunities for you to join in that fun of learning and sharing. PW and Manuela may start things off, but the community is yours too and we hope that you take an active and participatory role, in whatever way that you want.

Decision making in an Intentional Co-housing Community (ICC) is a cooperative excercise. There are no bosses and no workers, only members, YOU! When plans are being made as to what is done with the shared spaces, it is important that you offer your comments and thoughts, suggestions and suppport to achieve a combined outcome. In your own spaces, we will assist you to achieve an outcome that you decide suits you and your personal needs. And if as you get a little less able to cope with the space you had chosen, we will do our level best to see that adaptations are made, or a new suitable space is provided. This might in some instances mean some members relocate to accommodate that need, but again, there is no pressure, just collaboration for the outcomes of the community at heart.

We cannot promise that Share-It Community will never have disputes or conflicts, but we hope that in sincerity the members will try to avoid this, by open and honest discourse and by following the correct proceedures if a conversation doesn’t resolve the matter. As a managment/steering group of members, we will be available as a second port of call, and again we will assist in trying to find consensus. In doing this we are sure that few occasions will ever lead to permanent angst, and we look forward to each member participating in these processes, during the bi-monthly meetings, to create a forum for discussion that is open and inviting. To this end we must have a set of guidelines that each member reads and agrees to at the begining of their membership. This will neither be a long set of ‘Rules‘ or ‘tiresome’, as we respect that each member is capable of participating in talking circles, or other forms of resolution discussions, if they are required.

The main difference between Condominiums and Co-housing are not often clear, so we hope that you will watch the attached videos. Both Manuela and I found them very helpful and insightful. In principle we found that Condominiums are owned private spaces mainly with jointly owned shared spaces. Co-housing is shared ownership of all the spaces, even if some of those spaces are inhabited privately. This means that you do own a part of the ‘assets’ of the community, but not a particular space, whilst your membership of the community affords you to have your personal and private spaces. In the Share-It Community we are sure that this could be the better way to co-create a welcome home environment, and multiple shared activity and recreation nodes. Co-housing is predominantly set apart because of the ‘shared spaces’ provided. The places where the members regularly gather to associate and eat, play or just talk. Condominiums aren’t set up this way, and yet they may suit some people, they are not particularly people, or rather socially oriented.

Another observed manifestion of co-housing is the shared meals idea that binds the members tightly together. As Grace Kim says in the TED TALK video it is patently clear how much affect this has on cooperation and sharing between the various people living together. We very much agree that some shared meals would be beneficial and necessary if we want our Share-It Community to last, and go on providing meaningful outcomes in the world. So in the beginning we hope that we could at least start with three shared meals per week. Maybe one breakfast and two evening meals? One of each or all three in the evening, whatever the consensus will be. To this end we have calculated a small part of any monthly rental costs to include this, and all other meals you can provide and prepare yourselves. In our fundamental designs we are incorporating space in each apartment to facilitate that self catering aspect. And in addition to this as part of our provision, any food that we eventually produce in our own gardens and grounds will be freely available to any and all members as you want them.

We are also providing a communal laundry facility for all members, rather than individual machines. This is for several reasons. One, the noise of a washing machine in your private space might not be welcomed. It may also create unwanted leaks or humidity in your apartment. Added to which the actual space it will require from the limited floor areas. The fact is that you will also meet other members on your way to and from the laundry, which means we can check in on each other without being invasive of privacy. You may find that the many machines are being used when you arrive, however we feel sure that wouldn’t happen on every occasion as we plan to have approximately four machines at the beginning as well as a dryer. However PW is planning a drying room indoors for those occasions where outside is not going to achieve that. As concern for the environemntal impact and economy are high on our agendas for lowering emmissions and waste, we feel this would be a great way to show a progressive attitude.

Finally, we hope that each member sees the benefits of being open to the ideas of this being an Intentional Co-housing Community. A sort of Micro-Nation, an inspiration to others. In many ways the old attitudes of doing things was more productive and socially cohesive. Loneliness is at almost pandemic proportions in the modern world and often we see it but don’t understand why. Below is an interesting and clearly described history of this problem, with real world examples of how to co-create a new vision. Please watch this as we really believe it can form the foundation of what we make at the Share-It Community.

I have been aware for many years as has Manuela, that any progress away from the same old, same old behaviours, will require our personal and united efforts. This is why we came to Italy. To try and push more love and concern for others and help co-create an Intentional living Community that displayed this belief. Below is an inspiration you may also remember. It helped us both to activate the determination to get on with this whilst we have capability and the opportunity. So join us in helping to heal the world and all the people here-in…. Namaste x