Innovation That Matters

Promoting a fresh take on communal living

Work & Lifestyle

The word “commune” may connote images of long-haired hippies and failed experiments, but in today’s ailing economy, that’s no reason to abandon the concept altogether. So goes the thinking behind Wanna Start a Commune?, a website now in beta that’s dedicated to promoting a fresh take on the communal-living idea. Wanna Start a Commune aims to provide members with the tools they need to share resources of many kinds, whether or not they actually live together. The site’s 24-page “Tools for Commune Starters” pamphlet—downloadable for USD 3—includes a “get started” checklist, resource-sharing guide, potluck and workshop planning tools, organizational documents and technology tips for managing and growing a commune. Commune-related events are in the works; meanwhile, interested consumers can follow the organization’s three pilot projects currently underway in the Los Angeles area at In one pilot in Topanga, for instance, members are taking a communal approach to planting wildflowers, rodent control and building a new well, as well as carpooling and installing a communal pizza oven. The other two—one in Hollywood and one in Rustic Canyon—are teaming up to barter services, install a shared solar array, create a disaster preparedness plan and offer salsa dancing lessons. The group invites consumers interested in starting pilot projects of their own to contact the site for help. There’s nothing like necessity to make once-discredited ideas gleam anew with fresh possibility, and that’s particularly true in this case given that neighbours are already forging new connections online and shoppers have begun teaming up to wield their crowd clout for discounts and other benefits. The communes of the ’60s may not have lasted, but who’s to say a modern approach won’t make them just what we need today? (Related: Neighbourhood approach to renewable energy.) Spotted by: Alex Warren



Download PDF