How do Intentional Communities Last & Thrive?

Now that I have traveled some communities (around 15 or so) I can say that I have seen and experienced a lot of beautiful diversity but also start to learn and understand, experience and feel what can make communities to work and last in the long term. Many books and papers have been written about this topic and it ain’t easy or simple to explain and less so to create communities. But I would like to share a dozen of main insights collected from a number of long term communities and community members, on what makes (or breaks) communities. This information is based on to the courtesy of Deborah Altus of Washburn University (Kansas, US) who presented a great Key note speech (“Perspectives on Inner and Outer Peace from Long-Term Members of Intentional Communities in the USA”) during the International Communal Studies Association conference held In Tamera Ecovillage in Portugal early July (more about Tamera Healing Biotope and the conference will come in a separate blog).

Here the wisdom comes or a 12 Step Program to Inner and Outer Peace:

  1. Actively nurture and support personal growth and development
  2. Provide daily opportunities to live out your values
  3. Nurture deep connections and relationships between members
  4. Nurture deep connections and relationships with the land and the natural world
  5. Actively and regularly engage in celebrations, rituals and traditions
  6. Actively work on communication and group processes
  7. Clearly define and stick to your core values
  8. Develop a system for sharing the work
  9. Actively involve the next generation
  10. Pay close attention to the economics of the community
  11. Actively work on being good neighbours
  12. Develop models of and share cooperative culture

Of course this can only be a teaser and each and every of these main has a lot to it (and can elaborate on it at a later stage), but good to get it out there now and please add your own thoughts and ideas to it.

Additionally, the content of Deborah’s work will likely be published in the near future and I will let you know when and where once it appears.

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International Communal Studies Association (ICSA)

ICSA 2016 Conference in Tamera

Communities Magazine (great articles and stories and up to date infos about communities worldwide)

Tamera Healing Biotope – A School and Research Station for Realistic Utopia



Author: Peter Gringinger

Cultural Creative | Evolutionary Activist | Change Agent | Whole Systems, Transition & Regenerative Designer, Educator, Leader and Facilitator | Peter is a cultural creative, working as radical evolutionary activist and change agent through the use of whole systems, transition and regenerative design to provide support through integral and participatory facilitation for individuals, groups, neighbourhoods, communities and organisations to co-create and co-design our sustainable futures of regenerative and thriving cultures, places, environments and local but globally networked livelihoods. Peter believes in order to tackle and resolve the many interconnected issues and threats we are facing we need to take a whole and integral person and systems approach so that we can strive to (co)-create true sustainability and regeneration of our presence on this planet and to create health and wellbeing for all (humans and non-humans). We have to work on creating bridges between the various ideas and views of the world, to embrace the diversity and work through use of transformative innovation to shift us into a new worldview of cooperation, abundance regeneration and using transformative resilience for a just and equitable future founded on self-reliant local but globally connected communities. Originally trained as a geologist and hydrogeologist and obtaining further postgraduate training in renewable energy technology (geothermal) and in environmental sciences and engineering, he has worked as consultant to support clients in managing challenging environmental impacts from past commercial and industrial processes and facilities, including the assessment and clean-up of polluted soils and waters, environmental risk assessment & management, water resources and waste management. Peter has worked on projects across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Philippines, Austria, Italy and Iceland. His clients have included local, state and federal governments, organisations including those within the defence and private sector for the production and use of explosives/ammunitions and chemicals, infrastructure sectors of road, rail, ports and airports; private sector clients including manufacturers and petrochemical companies, as well as major property developers, financiers, lawyers, insurers and land owners, waste management companies including landfill operators. Hence Peter has extensive experience in Project and Program Management for small to large scale projects and programs. In recent years Peter has completed further extensive personal development, training and skills acquisition and capability in Sustainability, Permaculture, Sustainability and Integral Leadership, Participatory Facilitation, Applied Ecopsychology, Integral and Systems Thinking, Whole Systems, Transition, Sustainable & Regenerative Design, Ecovillage Design, and provides input and support for individuals, groups, communities and organisations for the co-creation and co-design of sustainable futures and provides advice for personal and organisational change and transformation. Peter was the Acting Head of Innovation for Gaia Education in 2017, is a certified Trainer with Gaia Education, an active member of the Leadership circle of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Australia and a GEN Ambassador for Australia and on the National Committee of Cohousing Australia.

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