Member since Mar 24, 2008
The Advantages of Communal Living
Many forms of communal living exist worldwide today. Both individuals and the planet can benefit from community values and ideals and their practical applications.
Although communal living is often thought of as a phenomenon of the '60s and '70s, it is enjoying a comeback today. More and more people are becoming dissatisfied with isolated, energy-intensive separate households, and want to live more lightly on the earth. Living in communities has many advantages to both individual and the wider environment.
Communal Ideals and Values
Communities as we understand them today arose out of Utopian theory. Utopianism, according to Rosabeth Moss Kanter inCommitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in Sociological Perspective (Harvard University Press, 2005), idealises social unity and is based on an idea of ‘heaven on earth’, or happiness in the present.
The movement back towards communes in the 1960s and 1970s , says Rachel Meunier in Communal Living in the Late 60s and Early 70s, was about ‘re-personalising' a society that , post-WWII, had become increasingly about materialism, about 'things'. Today, communal living has expanded to more forms than ever before. There are eco-villages, group marriages, kibbutzim, co-housing groups, ‘intentional communities’ and many others.
Bill Metcalf, in his book Shared Visions, Shared Lives: Communal Living Around the Globe (Findhorn Press, 1996) opens up the stories of 15 ‘communards’, finding common threads in their experience of trying to create a better life for themselves and the planet.
These are some of the key ways that communal living is good for people and planet:
Self-Sufficiency Not Competitiveness
A larger community can provide for all its own needs without having to outsource. A good example is the well-known community of ‘The Farm’ in Tennessee. Childcare can be shared amongst the communards, which is very useful for mothers who...