Community Living

Understanding community living

What is the definition of community living?

Community living is where a group of people reside among one another to form a community that is based on certain shared demographics, interests or ideologies. In some cases, lots of people live under the same roof sharing everything which is usually referred to as a commune. In other instances, looser interpretations are commonplace where a group of families and individuals live close to one another but independently from each other, only helping out each other on an informal basis here and there. Essentially, community living boils down to residing in a community that requires people to take an active part in. Therefore, it differs from simply living in a town or city close to other individuals but who you have no meaningful interactions with.

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 Where is community living conducted?

Community living models are conducted all over the world. In some former communist countries, entire communities would live together rather like a large family in communes. These days, communities have been artificially created for specific demographic groups, such as retirement estates where only people over a certain age are allowed to buy or lease properties. Certain spiritual communities also engage in these forms of living arrangements in order to support one another in life and spiritual matters.

Can community living be advantageous?

The proximity to a wider community of – often – like-minded people can be beneficial if you want to live among people that you have something in common with. However, some forms of community living can be exclusive by their very nature, which means being cut off from wider society to an extent. In open models of community life, inhabitants get the best of both worlds. They can enjoy the wider world while retaining a supportive group of people around them, often working together towards a common goal.

Which models of community living are there?

As mentioned, retirement villages are a common form of community living these days. In many societies, nuns and monks live with one another in communities made up exclusively of one gender who share the same belief system. Monasteries exist throughout the Buddhist world as well as in Christian communities all over the planet, for example. In addition, collective living models exist in Israel, known as a kibbutz, where entire families come together to live and work with one another. These can be secular as well as religious in their nature.

Is community living helpful for the environment?

Although most people do not engage in community living for environmental reasons, there can be some benefits in this regard. Firstly, where a community is living together, and resources are shared rather than being consumed individually, wastage should be lower, for example, from food being thrown away. Furthermore, fewer energy costs from heating will be needed where people share their living quarters and so on.

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