Submitted by Paul Born on August 18, 2010 - 3:17pm
I think I want to live in an intentional community

I like the idea of living in co-housing. It is like living in a housing co-op but more intentional. I think the way it works is that everyone that lives there owns their own place and can only sell it back to the members. You commit to each other and to have meals together several times a week.

Built into the complex there is always a commmunity centre with the capacity to prepare meals etc. -  what makes it more intentional is that everyone who lives there has the same intent and that is to live in community. If you know more about co-housing can you share some more info with me and the readers here?

From my reading I think it is a fabulous opportunity. I will keep doing research and update this posting as I find information - I also heard there is a co-housing group starting in my community of Kitchener-Waterlooo and I will go and visit them.

Now for the really big question - what if I want to live in co-housing and my spouse does not? I have shared my desire with her and she has never said no - but then again she has never said sure - I would love that... mmm this could be interesting. Any help or advise you could give would be very usefull.

Here is a web site that helps for sure:




This is very interesting. I

This is very interesting. I had office space at the Centre for Social Innovation ( which uses such a model for a professional environment and it is fantastic.

A number of people in our neighbourhood have voiced the desire for something residential like what you describe, though they do not exactly have the words for it. I think an important key in the inclusion will be opt-in, meaning that those who get together for the Sunday pot-luck are there because they want to and not because they they have to...

There is a whole different attitude when people are doing what they can because they want to. I started a little sweet spot at CSI because we had nowhere nearby to get treats during the day. I would pick up something yummy, put it on a plate with a $1 dish for money. Generally it broke even though there were often I-Owe-Yous. I realized that if it had been my job to provide treats, people would have responded differently, with increased expectations about consistency or variety or timing. But because it was just something that I did because I could, each day was a bonus.

I think a living arrangement needs to be the same. A shared environment with some ground rules where people find their own ways to contribute and participate...

This is giving me ideas... I am looking forward to your updates on this.

to want to

rebecca, it's so true what you say about giving being easy to do, but once it becomes something you're asked to do, it loses a lot of it's joy. i really find that in life. in fact so much so i have to struggle with it sometimes. i sit on four boards and two committees in my community and a couple of those events are potlucks held at 5pm (so right after the work day). i've noticed that i find it onerous to make something that will still be fine hours after i make it and that i can transport around. and yet, for the other groups, i love to bring food and drinks! i don't even understand it about myself.

it's important to remember this in community too. to let people find their unique ways to give. that bring them joy and come from their hearts. it enriches all around.

(love your treat plate idea btw!)



I am no expert on co-housing, but I have witnessed, seen the fruits of, read about, heard tales of different models of co-housing around Canada and beyond, and something that springs to mind from your writing - about what you want and about your concern that it might not be what your wife wants - is that there are many ways co-housing can be.


From something as organised as you describe (central kitchen, gathering nights) to something much looser like a triplex with a shared backyard and many options in between. It might be valuable for you to explore what aspects of co-housing are essential to your desire, what it is that you are really seeking. When you have those ideas clearer, it might be easier to see and create models of co-housing that overlap with what your wife wants too.


I think of family as a circle of community, so working to ensure their needs are met too is part of co-habitating, part of being in an intentional community, and a great starting point to build the next layers of a larger community network.