An Intentional Community, or IC, is a group of people who choose to live together, perhaps in a house, a jointly owned apartment building, or on a plot of land. There are as many reasons for this as there are IC's, and in the next section we will tell you more about ours. An IC can happen whenever individuals feel that their goals for a place to live can be better met in the context of a group. To learn more about IC's, read the articles What's True About Intentional Communities: Dispelling the Myths, Intentional Communities: Lifestyles Based on Ideals, and Who We Are: An Exploration of What "Intentional Community" Means.
The idea of people living in voluntary cooperation is old, not new. As Kozeny says in the second article above: "The advent of the isolated nuclear family is, in fact, a fairly recent phenomenon, having evolved primarily with the rise of industrialization, particularly the development of high-speed transportation. As transportation has become cheaper and faster, we've also witnessed an increase in transience, and the demise of the traditional neighborhood." The idea of people living in small units, owning duplicate copies of common items, and only meeting in special social places distant from where they live is new. We suspect it is wrong for many, and are sure it is wrong for us.
We are currently in the planning stages of creating an Intentional Community to be based in the San Francisco Bay Area, on 10-100 acres someplace within reasonable commuting distance of San Francisco and San Jose. We were inspired by our undergraduate experience at Harvey Mudd College. We hope to establish this community sometime around 2004-2006 with a core group of people, and expect it to grow until it takes over the world (well, not really), or reaches some other happy equilibrium.
It is important to note, right at the beginning, before you start thinking about communal property, tents, poor hygiene, and making pottery to support yourself, that this is not a commune. Most property will be owned by individuals, and most people will earn their income outside the community. Our inspiration is dormitories, not communism. Our target membership is simply people who operate well in a tight-knit society, and who are interested in taking advantage of the social and economic benefits of communal living, without giving up their personal or economic independence. Unlike many IC's, our founding principles do not include religion, spirituality, or radical environmentalism. We are into independence, self-reliance, honesty, and responsibility.
More details about our vision can be found in the next section.