this is a good read too
myths about intentional communities discussed:http://www.ic.org/pnp/myths.phpMyth: Intentional communities are all alike.
Fact: There is enormous diversity among intentional communities. Most communities share land or housing, but more importantly, their members share a common vision and work actively to carry out their common purpose.
However, their purposes vary widely. For example, communities have been formed to share resources, to create great family neighborhoods, to live ecologically sustainable lifestyles, or to live with others who hold similar values. Some communities are wholly secular; others are committed to a common spiritual practice; many are spiritually eclectic. Some are focused on egalitarian values and voluntary simplicity, or mutual interpersonal growth work, or rural homesteading and self-reliance. Some communities provide services, for example helping war refugees, the urban homeless, or developmentally disabled children or adults. Some communities operate rural conference and retreat centers, health and healing centers, or sustainable-living education centers. Myth: Intentional communities are "communes."
Fact: Many people use these terms interchangeably, however, it is probably more useful to use the term "commune" to describe a particular kind of intentional community whose members live "communally" in an economic sense--operating with a common treasury and sharing ownership of their property. Most intentional communities are notcommunes, though some of the communities most active in the communities movement are. Myth: Most community members are young--in their twenties.
Fact: Most communities are multi-generational. In the hundreds of North American communities we know about, most members range in age from 30 to 60, with some in their 20s, some 60 and older, and many children. Myth: Most communitarians are hippies.
Fact: While some of today's communities can trace their roots back to the counterculture of the `60s and `70s, few today identify with the hippie stereotype. (Moreover, many of the characteristics that identified "hippies" 25 years ago--long hair, bright clothes, ecological awareness--have become integrated into mainstream lifestyles.)
On the political spectrum, communitarians tend to be left of center. In terms of lifestyle choices, they tend to be hard working, peace loving, health conscious, environmentally concerned, and family oriented. Philosophically they tend toward a way of life which increases the options for their own members without limiting the choices of others. Myth: Community members have little privacy or autonomy.
Fact: The degree of privacy and autonomy in communities varies as widely as the kinds of communities themselves. In some communities individual households own their own land and house, and have their own independent economy (perhaps with shared facilities, as in many land co-ops); their degree of privacy and autonomy is nearly identical to that of mainstream society. However, in communities with specific religious or spiritual lifestyles (such as monasteries or some meditation retreats), privacy and autonomy are typically more limited, as part of the purpose for which the community was organized. Most communities fall between these two points on the privacy/held-in-common spectrum.
The trend among intentional communities forming now is toward more individual control than was common among those which formed in the `60s and `70s. For example, one of the fastest growing segments of the communities movement today is cohousing, where residents enjoy autonomy similar to that of any planned housing development. Finding a healthy balance between individual needs and those of the community is a key issue for the `90s--in both intentional communities and the larger society in general. Myth: Most members of intentional communities live impoverished lifestyles with limited resources.
Fact: Communities make a wide variety of choices regarding standard of living--some embrace voluntary simplicity, while others emphasize full access to the products and services of today's society. Communities tend to make careful choices about the accumulation and use of resources, deciding what best fits with their core values. Regardless of the choices made, nearly all communities take advantage of sharing and the opportunities of common ownership to allow individuals access to facilities and equipment they don't need to own privately (for example power tools, washing machines, pickup trucks, and in some cases, even swimming pools).