An Experimental Idea to foster Community

Sam had a recent post on the monastic life and ended with the question, "Who has practical ways to put the above in the practice?" I don't know if I would throw this idea into the "practical" category, but I think it would work if a group of people had their mind set on doing it.

Here is an illustration of an idea Lindsay and I have come up with to balance the commune life where a group would all live in a shared building with shared possessions with the common desire to have our own place and possessions. Many people would love to have the friendship a commune fosters without the sacrifices a commune requires. Can that friendship be done without the sacrifice? We think so.

I think it would work best if all of the people were from the same church. If they have a church building, it would be nice to have this be near the building. If they have a paid pastor, I think it would be important for him to live in one of the houses.

The idea is to have this be the center of community for the whole church and the people that might not be part of the church yet who live right down the road or across the street. It is not meant to be in isolation (the problem with the modern commune), but in the center of the town or city that the church is in. It is a place for people to hang out when they are lonely and just want people to hang out with, and they can do it without having to buy a coffee or a beer. The side facing the road needs to be open in order to be welcoming. The backyard would be an open community that would welcome anyone.

The people living in the houses would have to be the type of people who love company and love to be around people. When they get burnt out, they also have to be the type of people that would be comfortable going into their house while people are still playing in their yard.

Also, it allows people who might not normally be able to afford a pool or a nice playground to have one in their backyard because they are sharing their resources with the other houses around them.

Any other ideas would be welcomed.

edited to add: It was pointed out to me that this design might not fit to zoning codes in a community. Like the communes of the time of the Celtic reevangelization of Europe, these communities might have to built right on the outskirts of the town or city then.

Watch out for the potholes.