For a large portion of young city dwellers, roommates are simply a fact of life. The high cost of living in urban areas often necessitates a shared living situation to (somewhat) slow the rapid drain of cash from your pockets. But for some, that reality has gone beyond finding a decent person who'll pay his/her rent on time; instead, it's become a search to form a modern commune.
The New York Times recently wrote an article about two such people: Mariel Berger, 28, and Harmony Hazard, 24, who put an ad on Craigslist advertising for roommates interested in "permaculture, living sustainably, gardening, dancing, hula hooping, yoga, herbalism, making music, active listening, non-violent communication..." Their ideal was to create a sort of family in the city, a group home or collective that is less about money and more about community building. It's definitely a throwback to the 1970's commune model, except these groups "are tiny, urban-centric and linked to outside interests like fixing bikes or, here in New York City, membership in the Park Slope food co-op."
Apparently, communes and collectives have been noticeably on the rise in recent years as there's been an increase on cleaner, lighter and more sustainable living, which includes the desire to find or build a community of people who share your values. Laird Schaub, executive secretary of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, points to "an ever-increasing level of dissatisfaction with traditional lifestyle choices, because there's too much alienation and lack of connectedness. Humans are inherently social animals, yet we don't particularly know how to get along with one another."
Read the whole article at The New York Times.
What do you think? Have you ever or are you currently living in a commune or collective? What is your experience of it?
Originally published 2009-10-01 - CB