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General, innovation

Share the Love

Apparently, its more  popular than you may first think and according to this article, its on the rise. Unrelated singles and / or couples living together in large ‘communal families’  (these range from intentional communities, Eco-villages, group marriages   to co-ops, ashrams, co-housing groups and survivalist and radical religious colonies) where tasks from cleaning, cooking, taking the ‘communal dog’ out for a walk, the shopping; to bills and pretty much all else in between is more or less taken in turns or shared evenly by, you guessed it, the ‘communards’.

Its proponents claim Communal living reduces overall living expenses and is good for building an integrated and strong community. In particular, according to another article:

“By pooling our money, creativity, skills, assets, ideas and resources; and thereby supplying our basic needs through communal energies, we find there are both an abundance of all things available to us all, and an optimization in the efficiency of their use. For example, sharing the use of automobiles, and making a communal dinner each evening. One car can serve numerous people, thus requiring fewer of them; and not only does everyone get a wholesome, nutritious meal each night, but they also only have to cook and cleanup once a month, or less, for example and then only as part of a team.”

But the question then becomes, at what expense? Especially since in my view people are not always easy to live with, so you would think that there has to be some underlying philosophy which communers must subscribe to, or at least infinitely tolerate? Something which in nutshell should probably sound like within reason, do unto others what you would like them to do unto you. However, even with that, there probably has to be a little more “gel” (i.e. we are all vegans) than just complementary temperaments (we all love loud music, will kiss communers that do weed in public places or bring in friends at odd hours of the night. And we worship those who do band practce in the basement late at night… ding!! ding!! ding!! badabampapam!) held loosely together by some parametric code.
Further, as a communer I’d expect inherent open-mindedness, consideration for others (pet hates and the allergies) and such like, not forgetting thick skinnedness, if such a word exists.Phew!

Unless where otherwise specified, its certainly not for people who would get offended  by matters such as aetheism; drugs and alcohol consumption, and / or a confused sexual preference. The extreme end of this lifestyle is probably squatter’s lifestyle …but you get what I’m getting at.

Or perhaps its not as rosy as its proponents would have us believe? What if arguments erupt as they often do in shared accommodation:
Your rent is ever late month in month out or more commonly Why have you left the dishes unwashed

How do you resolve these without taking sides? Then there’s “The bathroom is filthy, whodoneit!”  and the not too uncommon “Someone left the front door wide open last night!”

As you can see, the the list of potential disasters is endless, and you wouldn’t be able to tell what living with someone would be like when you’ve just met them. I mean do you get a “probation period” so as the others can acsertain whether you are a tolerable communard?

Yet, these are by no means the only problems. Already, it is a well known fact that the majority of landlords prefer single occupancy over double occupancy. Does this mean that for communal living to be more widely adopted someone effectively must own a house with at least 3 or more double bedrooms and offer it out for communal living? This, or break into an empty property, and become squatters? If thats the case, then how many people out there who own a 3 bedroomed house would be willing to adopt a communal living lifestyle, as opposed to say starting a family with their partners? You probaby have a better chance of success convincing single retirees, although by the very sound of that sentence in itself, its not hard to see where the problems may lie.

While its intentions sound admirable, and while I am curious about it, I’d be probably be more inclined to try car sharing arrangements (1, 2, 3) which luckily doesn’t involve opening up my house to potential violation by strangers I’m not entirely sure about.




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