10 Criteria for Intentional Community


​1) It was founded as a conscious and purposive act.

2) Membership is Voluntary and based on a conscious act (Even if the member was born in the community).

3) The group sees itself as separate from and different to its environment and relates as a group to (or withdraws as a group from) its environment.

4) The community is relatively self-contained  - most members can potentially live their entire lives in it (or for the period during which they are members)

5) Sharing is part of the community ideology

6) The community has collective goals and needs and expects members to work towards their satisfaction.

7) The ideology claims that the goals of the community, even if orientated to the benefit of the individual, can only be obtained in a collective framework.

8) Ultimately the community, or people appointed by the community, but not the individual, is the source of authority.

9) The general way of life of the community is considered to be inherently good, i.e. is an end in itself over and above its instrumental value.

10)  The community's existence has a moral value and purpose which transcend the time-span of individual membership.


Shenker, B (1986) Intentional Communities.  Ideology and Alienation in Communal Societies.  Oxon. Routledge and Kegan Paul