Building Urban Communes: A Point A Report

by Raven

Point A was started by folks who realized that income sharing communities were flourishing in rural areas (there are now five in Virginia and four in Missouri), most people in the US live in cities and communal situations were not doing as well there.

The few urban communes have been struggling. Seattle’s Emma Goldman Finishing School stopped income sharing several years ago. The Midden, in Columbus, Ohio, just transitioned to being a co-op rather than an income sharing community. Quercus, in Richmond, Virginia, lasted less than a year. The Baltimore Free Farm currently doesn’t have an income sharing group (although there are people there that would like to have one again).

 

UC1a
Poster by Reynaldo

Point A started in 2013. I’ve reported on its history elsewhere. Here’s what I see happening now.

Washington, DC, is our big success story. Compersia has been up and running for over a year and folks are strategizing on what to do next.

CompNewHse3
Compersia’s house

I think that New York (where I’m working) is on the cusp of something. I’m hoping I’ll have more to report very soon.

Even though there isn’t an income sharing community in Baltimore, there seems to be a lot of folks there talking about it. I’ve heard of people from four different groups that are discussing the possibility and I’m not sure why they aren’t co-ordinating with one another.

As I’ve said, Quercus in Richmond is gone. I’m not sure what next steps, if any, can be taken there.

We also had a try at getting a co-op house in Binghamton, NY, to move toward income sharing, although that didn’t happen.

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Sign at the old Genome Collective in Binghamton

And there is a group in Newark, NJ, that is working toward creating a two fold community that would contain an urban portion and a rural farm portion. (An idea that always seems interesting to folks but seems very difficult to pull off.)

In addition, Point A has been going up to the Boston area (the place I’ve lived most of my life) and been giving workshops (as we will be doing this upcoming week), hopefully seeding the area for future commune building.

One US East Coast city (at least in the northeast US) that we haven’t done work in is Philadelphia. I think that it has great potential (New York and Boston are becoming increasingly unaffordable where I’ve heard that Philly still has a lot of lower cost housing stock–and the city has a history of movement organizing, including the group Movement for a New Society, which had a bunch of communal houses called the Life Center). Unfortunately, Point A’s resources seemed stretched to the limit these days, so it’s unlikely that there will be a project in Philadelphia anytime soon unless there are people there who want it.

UC2
Smiling Hogshead Ranch in Queens, which we are trying to build an NYC community around.

If we can get a commune in NYC up and running, I think this could be a starting place for building more income sharing communities in urban areas. (I call this the Frank Sinatra theory of commune building from his line, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere…”.) Hopefully if we can make it in New York, we can begin to build more urban communes. There’s a lot of cities on the East Coast alone, never mind in the country and the world.

I’ll keep you up to date.

 

 

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Building Urban Communes: A Point A Report

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