Why Does The Transition Advocate Shared Housing Arrangements?

Today many people associate the idea of Intentional community only with the hippie communes of the 1970s, but that flurry of collectivism was just the most recent of a series of waves of interest in experimental common living arrangements that goes back centuries. The history of the earlier waves is told in many books, some of which you can find in our Online Store. These waves often coincide with periods in which society as a whole becomes uninspiring or unbearable. Economic depressions spawn Utopian experiments, as do times of cultural decline. In retrospect, the 1970s fit that description well: a generation of young people, disillusioned and alienated by a pointless costly war in Southeast Asia and surrounded by a culture of soulless consumerism, understandably struck out on their own for other destinations, founding thousands of communes and Communities they went- some of them still in existence, such as The Farm in Tennessee and Twin Oaks in Virginia.

Any competent analyst of social trends would have to conclude that we are today entering a period in which the potential for economic and cultural decline far outstrips that of the 1970s. Today, the debt-import model is itself unraveling, and the threat is not just to America's economic leadership, but to the basis of the entire global industrial system. We are well into the new century and collapse appears increasingly likely due to climate chaos, water scarcity, and a growing list of other environmental problems. In order to establish a different path we will need to not just a few new policies, but the invention of a whole new culture- a culture not of growth, but of material modesty; one not of militarism, but of cooperation and negotiation. How and where will the needed attitudes and practices be pioneered, if not in small experimental Communities started by Contributors of our site?

Moreover, if hard times lie ahead, what would make more sense than to band together with people of like mind so as to ride out the storm together, sharing resources and companionship along the way? In short this might be the most propitious moment in history to join an Intentional Community.


In these difficult times of higher housing costs and lower earnings, sharing housing makes sense. According to the 2009 U.S. Census, more than a quarter of the households in the United States are single occupancy, for a total of 31.5 million Americans living alone. Some 6.6 million Americans live in households with people who aren't related to them.

This trend is growing, as single householders of all ages realize that with home-mates they can make ends meet. 

People share housing for many reasons some of them are:

  • Recently divorced
  • Trying to save money to invest in starting a business
  • Reducing expenses to pay down student loan debt
  • Elders who want to stay in their home and not move to a retirement home


The most natural reason for someone to join or encourage the formation of Community should simply be to be more free to be able to be more responsible and have more sovereignty over their own life. Imagine the type of life you could have if you cut your costs on housing and utilities by half or a third. How would that effect the quality of your life?

People who choose to share housing discover other unintended benefits.

  • Some people feel younger with young home-mates living with them
  • The ability to have deep meaningful conversations and get to know people well
  • Companionship at meal times


Sources: Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community,Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates

Contributors: Annamarie PluharDiana Leafe Christian, Richard Heinberg

Recommended Reading:  Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community, Sharing Housing: A Guide for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates