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Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities
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Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Creating a Life Together is the only resource available that provides step-by-step practical information distilled from numerous firsthand sources on how to establish an intentional community. It deals in depth with structural, interpersonal and leadership issues, decision-making methods, vision statements, and the development of a legal structure, as well as profiling wel ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by New Society Publishers (first published January 1st 1900)
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Shira and Ari Evergreen
Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: intentional community folks; people looking for cheaper, more humane ways to live
Recommended to Shira and Ari by: Sugati and Chris
When I found this book, I jotted down, "looks like the way to go if you're working on an ecovillage or intentional community project and don't want to doom it to failure." Two careful reads later, I'm pretty sure I was right, and we're using the book to guide our own ecovillage project as it forms. This volume is jam-packed with insights into the many legal, financial, social, and other issues surrounding the complicated but world-changing subject of intentional community. There are sample agree ...more
Sara McDonald
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite community building books is "Creating a Life Together" by Diana Leafe Christian. She has done a lot of consulting work with intentional communities, helping them overcome conflicts, work their way through intractable conflicts, and there is even a thorough discussion on finding land and setting up legal arrangements. I love this book because she is a bit critical (not negative, but critical) of the dreamy notions of community building, and promotes a practical approach.

Aleksandar Janković
Absolutely crucial reading for anyone interested in joining or starting a sustainable community. It's written from US perspective, but most of the information is applicable globally. The following I found particularly useful:

1) Ideas for finding our shared Vision and Mission
2) Guidelines for putting together a detailed agreement between members
3) Conflict resolution and communication processes
Luke Juday
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for anyone interested in intentional communities. While it covers everything from legal agreements and zoning laws to the nuts and bolts of process and emotional conflict, it’s not just valuable for friends who wonder if it would be fun to buy a tract of land and settle down together. This book is about how to live together with other people, perhaps the most crucial and under-appreciated skill in contemporary America.

Diana Christian’s years of experience working with idealists has g
Richard Thompson
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
notes: subtitle: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities / Recommended by Sam at Christmas when we were talking with Sam and Kate, David and Susan, and Jesse and Peter about the possibility of sharing a piece of land in some kind of community. Christian looked at lots of intentional communities and tried to identify what the very few successful ones did right. She looked at everything from vision statements to zoning, and in the end the overarching message was: forming a ...more
Evan Anderson
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simply put, the most practical book we have of the intentional communities movement. Unlike some of the more utopian views that came out from the 1960's - 1980's, this book, while inspiring, focuses on the day to day practice and structure of living communally. The author definitely writes from experience and information gathered from a wide array of communities and communitarians. From start to finish, practically all the tools for community living are there in the pages of this book. As such, ...more
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any revolutionary
While the book is pervaded with a leftist "green" perspective, I recommend this as a guide for anyone interested in the the theory and practice of founding an intentional community - regardless of orientation. The author is an experienced veteran of such movements, and is filled with examples from actual communities, bursting with cautionary tales and useful examples. It doesn't dwell on the wishful thinking and optimism which pervades many of these projects, warning would-be founders that the c ...more
Jun 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to learn about intentional communities
This was the first book I ever read about intentional communities. It made me realize that these communities were what I'd been looking for, and has changed the intentions of my life in major ways. Now I'm very focused on building a community I can live in, one that really makes life better for everyone.
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book has added value in providing tools and structure that applies to any group work. It would help anyone in a Leadership capacity.
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is so practically based that it helps dispel the fears as I move into a co-housing community.
Arthur Davis
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: homestead
A useful book of advice if you're trying to start a close-knit community, or honestly any kind of non-hierarchical organization to a lesser degree. Christian does a good job of avoiding being too dry, though this can be a challenge when trying to explain the different tax and regulatory effects of registering as an LLC vs a 501(c)3 or the like. Perhaps not the best book to read cover-to-cover if you aren't considering setting up your own community, but probably a vital reference if you are.

It is
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-info
Worth it if even only for chapters 5, 6, 17, 18 - which cover procedures, common pitfalls, schemas, and places to go for further education on consensus decision making, conflict resolution, and recruitment. The advice is specifically geared for people going off to live together, but can be applied to any 'flat'/bottom up group, like a cooperative, dungeons and dragons group, or even band.
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: utopia seekers
Recommended to Sarah by: food justice book club
Shelves: future
reading for a book club looking at this from a poc/immigrant/queer perspective - what makes a living community?
this is mostly nuts and bolts for future imaginary dream farm life
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Since borrowing this book from a library , I have twice had conversations with people who have said this is the book to read if you are interested in forming an intentional community. The emphasis on planning and visioning is very valuable. I appreciated some of the ideas for topics and themes to discuss as a group in order to really get to know each other on a deeper level, which is a great idea to do if planning to live and work together. The explanations of varying legal entities are also ext ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Practical workbook/guide for those interested in founding and living in intentional communities. Extremely useful practical advice, including hard statistics on what has proven workable and what has not. Everything from land acquisition tips to sample vision documents to legal options for incorporating and information on types of foundations. Also important, essays on the roles (and non-roles) of founders. US focused, though some aspects may be helpful internationally. Recommended.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I did not finish this because I'm no longer interested in the details. I think much will have to change in the world before ecovillages become available to the average person, so knowing the legal restrictions now isn't useful.

Still giving this a high rating because if its a topic you are interested in, the writing is clear and it is written by one of the top experts in the field.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book once ten years ago, have used it as a reference book ever since, and just re-read it come to cover. This book is a treasure for anyone interested in intentional community life.
Lily So-too
Oct 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book will probably take me a very long time to finish reading. Maybe every book does. I am not sure that I have ever finished reading a book.

So far it is really interesting. It is not giving me all of the long-sought answers I crave about what doesn't work in community life or collaborative work, but it is teaching me to ask better questions, I think about what might work or why.

I am most enamored of chapters 4 through 6 which I've barely begun to read but which contain ideas about communit
Ingrid Wood
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-finished
It must be because I am practical oh, but I love this book. It touches on all the important parts such as being willing to grow emotionally to be able to form an intentional community. One of the things that stood out is the quote that creating an intentional Community is like getting married as well as starting a business together.
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This would have been a five-star book, except for its total lack of editing, which was very disruptive. Otherwise, it was very thought-provoking (but still not the book I'm looking for about how to build rural community with the people already around you).
Aug 24, 2009 added it
I'm working through this book in order to learn how to start a successful intentional community someday.
Casey Doss
Fantastic book! Covers so many topics for people wanting to learn about (and possibly join or start) intentional communities. I highly recommend this book!
Andrew Rasmussen
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
highly reccomended reading for anyone wanting to effectively co create an eco community
Trampas Jones
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
excellent book om forming intentional communities with the good and the bad thouroughly explained.
Sep 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
This would be a great resource for anyone starting an intentional community. Also an excellent reality check for anyone with daydreams about community..
Good primer for those considering living in community
Matt Richads
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Provides solid historical evidence, but lacks forethought around the possibilities for a growing movement.
Dec 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Esther by: Karen Sloan
Shelves: self-help
This book has helpful tools for group process, even if you aren't part of an intentional community.
Mindy Vera
rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2015
Jessie Giles
rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2019
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Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
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“Community does involve psychology stuff — which, in my opinion, is why roughly 90 percent of new communities fail. Forming a community is deeply psychological. Emotional pain and hidden expectations exert a powerful pull on people, and community founders are no exception. Put a group of people in a community visioning session, and you have dozens of different needs and expectations, known and unknown, ricocheting invisibly around the room.” 1 likes
“1. What do you want more than anything? For yourself. 2. What do you want more than anything? For the world. 3. What do you want more than anything? For your children. 4. What do other people do that hurts you? 5. What do you fear? 6. What makes you mad? 7. What makes you cry? 8. If you could go back in your childhood and change your mother (or primary female care-taker), what would you change? 9. If you could go back in your childhood and change your father (or primary male care-taker), what would you change? 10. What didn’t you get as a child? 11. If you could make something in your childhood better, what would it be? 12. If you could make something in your childhood go away, what would it be? 13. What do you need to feel safe? 14. What do you need to feel loved? 15. What do you need to feel happy? 16. What kind of community do you want?” 1 likes
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