This is the publication that inspired me to visit intentional communities, eventually join one – Redfield Community in Buckinghamshire, where Lowimpact.org was founded. It’s a handy directory of communities / communes / co-operative living in the UK and elsewhere, together with a collection of insightful articles. Highly recommended – Dave.
Over to James
Yes, for a quarter of a century Diggers and Dreamers has covered the ups and downs of those in the UK who have chosen this different way of life. Once again there’s a handy directory of UK communities that you can pop in your backpack.
In this 25th Anniversary Edition we have our usual mix of articles kindly contributed by some of those at the heart of the communal living scene in the UK, not to mention hearing all about the iconic Christiania community in Copenhagen, Denmark. The main change is that now it’s in full colour! We have chosen to celebrate some of those that didn’t quite get off the starting block as well as looking ahead to see what steps are being taken to keep these valuable housing assets slipping back into the mainstream markets.
We take a look at how a new co-operative town was planned; hear how we might, or might not, survive a collapse of society; ask ‘what would a new UK eco-village look like?’; and explore how not to lose your housing co-op. Once you’ve had the dream of living communally you may need a bit of guidance so we finish off by giving you some pointers on becoming a member of an existing community.
Take a glimpse inside – click here
Come along and join the kaleidoscope of people who have set out on the communal road.
Come and join us, digging and dreaming. Communal living is here to stay!
The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's
1Callum Nash December 24th, 2015
Great stuff, would you say these communities tend to have much outreach? Recently I’ve been leaning on the thought that whilst experimental communities are brilliant in that they prove everything we know to be true about the potential for different living systems, they can also be counter-intuitive as one is taking the most angry and most vocal members of society and removing them from it. I know that most communities do host outside groups and do go out into the wider world, but I do not know whether this is as effective as being within the extant toxic living systems, shouting loudly about why it’s wrong and putting the same effort in there.
2James Dennis December 24th, 2015
Thank you for the comment on the book and general interest. Communities listed in the directory have various ways to visit e.g. regular visitor and/or volunteering opportunities. Check out the book or our website to find out about individual groups.
Outreach for the movement (and I mean the term loosely) as a whole is really the reason D+D exists.
After visiting around 80 groups in the UK in my opinion I would say that the intention of the vast majority of communities is not to act as vehicle whereby individuals can remove themselves from society (indeed this is something which might be looked out for in potential members) and that most people (importantly, I would argue) have jobs and family and work outside the group… where they can be their natural angry, vocal selves for everyone to see ;). A good example might be the LILAC community which is a co-housing group who recently built a cluster of new flats right in the centre of an enormous housing estate in Leeds.
I recommend checking out the Radical Routes organisation if you want to find some people using communal living (housing co-ops) as a platform for individuals to ‘work for positive social change’. The Co-operative Living Freehold Society – http://www.coopliving.net/ – is another such organisation which is recently formed.
D+D editorial team
3James Dennis December 24th, 2015
…Just to clarify, I meant to say that in this case Radical Routes chooses to use Housing co-ops as the legal structure for groups (they also have workers co-ops and social centres involved). Not that by communal living I really mean housing co-ops as there are loads of different ways to do it, like the Co-housing I mentioned… Hmmm hope that actually does clarify it?
4Dave Darby December 24th, 2015
My twopenny worth – a) yes, people in communities can be quite involved in their local communities, and have lots of people passing through, to see alternative ways of living – visitor days, open days, WWOOFers, personal guests etc., and b) they tend not to be the most vocal and angry members of society, they just like living that way.