Intentional Communities and Transition Towns

Intentional communities are projects in which people live together according to a common vision.  The term covers housing cooperatives, cohousing communities, collective households, residential land trusts, and communes.  Intentional communities may be organized around religious, community, or ecological sustainability values.  Many intentional communities employ democratic governance, using one-member-one-vote or even consensus decision making processes.

The Transition Movement is comprised of grassroots community initiatives that seek to address issues of peak oil, climate change, and the economic crisis.  According to Transition United States, “Transition Initiatives differentiate themselves from other sustainability and ‘environmental’ groups by seeking to mitigate these converging global crises by engaging their communities in home-grown, citizen-led education, action, and multi-stakeholder planning to increase local self reliance and resilience.”1 The Transition Movement is characterized by seven guiding principles:2

  • Positive Visioning
  • Help People Access Good Information and Trust Them to Make Good Decisions
  • Inclusion and Openness
  • Enable Sharing and Networking
  • Build Resilience
  • Inner and Outer Transition
  • Subsidiarity: self-organization and decision making at the appropriate level

Transition United States. “The Transition Town Movement.” Accessed August 19, 2013.
2 Transition United States. “The 7 Guiding Principles of Transition.” Accessed August 19, 2013.