Cohousing and intentional living has a serious branding problem. There is no shadow of a doubt in my mind that the principles upon which the movement is built, and the communities they foster are life enhancing. Their problem is that they have no idea how to promote themselves to a mainstream audience. Indeed more often than not they are not interested in promoting their virtues to a mainstream audience. They are quite happy recruiting from an inner sanctum of fellow evangelists.
This brings me neatly on to our next observation about intentional living. It attracts some unusual individuals. I happen to like unusual, I find unusual infinitely more interesting than normal. That said it provides some interesting challenges when promoting intentional living or Co housing to a mainstream audience. I will always remember the WhatsApp introduction to the wonderful community of LaEcovilla from Lexi, the Neurodivergent queer witch who wanted to heal the planet via a greater understanding of the menstral cycle!! By the way she wasn’t nearly as strange as her bio might have suggested but that’s another story entirely.
My point is that cohousing, intentional living naturally attracts a higher proportion of misfits than you might find in your average bar (to use an example of a gathering place). There is also a higher % of introverts within cohousing than you might expect and introverts don’t generally lend themselves toward promotion particularly freely either. None of this is to say that there aren’t sensational people within cohousing and intentional community. We have visited 3 intentional cohousing villages here in Tucson Arizona and we are visiting another in Prescott Arizona today. In every single community we have been received with extraordinary hospitality. We have enjoyed their company, wisdom and friendship. But if living in intentional communities is going to catch on, which I still really believe it has to, in order to help humanity win its fight against climate change etc then we have to change perceptions.
There have to be other viable options to our traditional nuclear family. Plenty of us make that model work but the more we investigate the alternatives the more I realise that we can live life in a more harmonious and efficient way. A life created by design and intention. To get there we need pioneering communities, with more people like Dan (see video) that are outward facing examples of what is possible in order to shift mainstream thinking.