by Raven Cotyledon
The Federation of Egalitarian Communities (the commune people) have had rural communes in Virginia and Missouri for decades. Which is great, except, as someone pointed out, most people live in the cities these days in the United States.
Building a commune in the city is a little different than starting a rural commune. It’s harder to grow food in the city. It’s harder to create cottage industries in the city. It’s harder to find land/property/places in the city. People are less trusting in the city. People have less time in the city. People are more distracted in the city.
Co-ops and cohousing communities have flourished in urban areas. Ganas, on Staten Island, New York, has been going strong for nearly forty years. But these communities require less commitment than egalitarian, income-sharing communities–that is, communes.
I helped build a commune in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the 1990s. I am currently helping to create one in Queens, New York. I can tell you that it isn’t easy, for all the reasons that I listed above and more.
But it is possible. Our Cambridge community lasted five years. There have been FEC related communities (or attempts at communities) in Seattle and Baltimore and Richmond, Virginia, and Columbus, Ohio, and there are currently (besides Cotyledon, our commune in Queens) communes in Washington, DC, and Portland, Oregon. I have been particularly watching Compersia, the commune in DC. They seem to have a bunch of members and look like they are going strong.
But cities are hard on communes. I don’t know of any that have lasted longer than ten years. Yet.
We’re working to change that. Hopefully you can check this space in ten years to find out how we did it. I’m certainly curious. But I think that urban communes are the leading edge of the communities movement.
Thanks for reading! This post was made possible by our patrons on Patreon. The Commune Life team works hard to bring you these stories about our lives in community, and that work couldn’t happen without support from our audience. So if you liked this article, and want to help us make more like it, head on over to https://www.patreon.com/communelife to join us!
Deep gratitude to all of our patrons:
- Acorn Community
- Compersia Community
- Cotyledon Community
- East Brook Community Farm
- The Federation of Egalitarian Communities
- Twin Oaks Community
- Sumner Nichols