Building an Intentional Community

Submitted by SILC on March 20, 2013 - 12:16pm
A timeline of SILCs steps to building intentional community

SILC is a group of Guelph residents who are creating an intentional community in the heart of the city.  What follows is a timeline of our steps to date:

  • In December of 2012, we had our first information meeting.
  • We have been meeting monthly and sometimes more often since then.  Some meetings have been very business-like and some have been around potluck dinners.
  • We developed an initial Questionnaire to get a sense of what people’s desires are.
  • We have recently developed a more comprehensive, revised Questionnaire for those that express serious interest.
  • We understand that the process will take time.  Paramount to this is really getting to know each other at a very personal and vulnerable level.

    • Do we want to share community with each other? 
    • How do we practice emotional intelligence? 
    • What are our most personal values?  
    • How we engage and support each other? 
    • What do we need to do in order to avoid conflict?
    • How do we resolve conflict?
  • We have chosen the book ‘Creating a Life Together’ by Diane Leafe Christian as a guide so that we can learn from her expertise in intentional communities and co-housing and speak the same language with each other
  • We have done lots of exploration of our individual visions and one more formal visioning process.  We are planning another facilitated visioning process in the New Year.
  • We have been in contact with potential lawyers who have been involved in co-housing or intentional community projects.
  • We have established a liaison with the Canadian Cohousing Network
  • We have set up a SILC website
  • We brought Diane Leafe Christian to Guelph for an evening presentation and discussion and had some eighty people attend.
  • We conducted a Workshop on Non-violent Communication and introduction to Sociocracy with the lead Canadian Facilitator in this area and have our entire core group attend plus eleven others.
  • We developed the following Mission Statement on May 14, 2012:

"To conceptualize and create, with clear communication, an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable, multi-resident complex.This is to be built, or existing building retrofitted on good-quality land, within close proximity to downtown, as site becomes available for sale."   

"We envision a diverse and compassionate community, living in separate, private, residences (condos or semis).  In addition, we would respectfully share common spaces; such as workshop, exercise/workout room, yoga/art studio and large community kitchen used for meetings, social gatherings, preserving, etc.,   If possible, we would incorporate underground parking, to maximize use of safe land for organic gardens and multi-purpose outdoor private and community grounds."

  • Our core group most recently met at the end of November to review and share new thoughts on the mission and vision and came up with the following:
    • Urban with strong relationship to rural communities or developing our own rural component
    • Inclusive, active with community (small and large)
    • Sustainable including relationship to agriculture
    • Food Production
    • Relationship to others building community and progressive community social policies
    • To develop and practice strong interpersonal relationship skills in our interactions with each others.
  • We then had a large meeting open to newcomers and had about twenty-five people attend.
  • We have a piece of property (about 1.5 acres of arable land within a half hour walk of downtown) that we are start to explore as a possible site.
  • We have completed a Membership Process and established three categories of membership.
  • We have had another facilitated Visioning Session to clarify our Core Purpose and values.
  • We are sponsoring a second Non Violent Communication Workship in late April,
  • The committed Residential Members have made their first equity contributions towards site planning and conceptual design.
  • We have met with a Sustainable Building Consultant on the site.
  • We have had several more potlucks to help build relationships.
  • We are having a conceptual design meeting on April 1 to clarify our priorities for design.
  • A small core group continues to meet weekly in an administrative capacity.


Keep us posted!

Sounds like some really neat conversations! Looking forward to hearing more as this endeavor unfolds.