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Definitions of Community

eurotopia definitions for different forms of living together – to explain our classification

We understand that the boundaries between intentional communities and a shared flat or a co-housing project with little community focus, an ecological settlement or other are not fixed – but we use the following guidelines to assess wether we consider a project an intentional community or not.

An intentional community is a group of people who live together intentionally in order to pursue further goals apart from the mere living together (possibly material goals). They try to give up part of their individual freedom in order to manage/design some personal aspects of life collectively. Ways to accomplish this might especially be collective decision making processes, but also collective ways of working, a cooperative/collective economy, a common agreement regarding the education of children or other.

ECOVILLAGE (usually also intentional COMMUNITY):
People in ecovillages intentionally live together in a community or in several communities (see above). They strive for designing a common structure and a common culture of living which fulfils a major part of the most important needs of those people at that place, all in a sustainable way. The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) lists the following aspects to be integral for ecovillages: Social aspects, ecology, economy, ideology.

SETTLEMENT/CO-HOUSING PROJECT (can be, but doesn’t have to be intentional COMMUNITY also):
Members of an (ecological) settlement or of a co-housing project life in their own houses or flats or under similar conditions . They share a common infrastructure for supply/maintenance and consciously pursue qualities like close neighborhood, mutual support or care. Collectively run social facilities might be part of the project. Housing projects might strive to integrate people with special needs or of different generations. Individual ways of living are of no common concern.

SHARED FLAT (usually no intentional COMMUNITY because of lack of growth and/or relatively little commitment to communal structure):
A shared flat is a single living unit inhabited by people whose main objective is to share living space and infrastructure.