Below you will find a selection of resources into the the broader themes of sustainability, social justice, food and education. All the resources on below have been developed from research conducted by students whose work we’ve supported. We are proud to provide a platform for the dissemination of student research on our website.
International Communities Directory
- This directory lists the following types of residential communities:
- Abbeyfield Homes (Seniors)
- Camphill Communities (Developmental/Learning Disabilities)
- Collective Houses
- Co-op Housing
- Farm Co-ops
- Rural Land Co-ops
- Student Housing Co-ops
Documentary Film Guide
Space Activation / Creation
There are three major sub-types of collective houses: (1) Activist Houses, (2) Punk Houses, and (3) Catholic Worker Houses.
1. Activist Houses An activist house is a residential house or apartment that a group of activists share together. These houses often serve as activist hubs, acting as creative spaces and hosting events such as meetings and film screenings. These residences provide both mutual support and networking opportunities for resident activists, while providing them with an affordable and cost-effective residence.
2. Punk Houses Punk houses are residences comprising of those who identify with the punk sub-culture, and are sometimes squatted. These houses have many features of communes, often serving as crash-pads for others, while residents often share expenses such as food and live in relatively close quarters with each other. Many punk houses have specific ideologies, often anarchism, straight-edge, or vegan. Punk houses often serve as hubs for the local punk scene, hosting bands and concerts.
3. Catholic Worker Houses and Faith Houses The Catholic Worker movement is an egalitarian and communitarian movement founded in 1932 centred and originating from the Catholic faith and drawing heavily from anarchist thought. The movement is centred on communal housing — residents live simple lives dedicated to helping the poor, resisting war and fighting social injustice. Each house is autonomous and there is no global or regional Catholic Worker headquarters. Income for the house can come from in-house business activities, or from residents working outside jobs. There are currently 200 houses in the United States, 6 in Canada and 2 in Mexico. Modeled off the Catholic Worker Houses, there are a few mulch-denominational Faith Houses that now exist in North America, such as Faith House Ottawa.
What is an Ecovillage? An ecovillage is a sustainable community, committed to living in an ecologically, economically, and spiritually sound way. Astrophysicist and environmentalist Robert Gilman created the term ecovillage in 1991. Self-sufficiency, designed for community and well-being, local economy, minimal environmental impacts and growing organic food are features of an ecovillage. It is this commitment to the environment that differentiates ecovillages from other intentional communities.
What is Cohousing? “Cohousing” is a concept for communities and housing from Denmark. The key principles of cohousing are that of a sense of community, participation, having some common shared facilities, affordability of the units and residents managing the building themselves. Everyone works together as a collective and shares ownership of common areas, but rents or owns their own unit. Most co-housing developments are designed to be environmentally friendly.
What is a Cooperative? A “cooperative” is a legal arrangement that serves as an alternative to for-profit incorporation that is owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit. There are numerous different models of cooperative ownership and governance. The scope of the cooperative, along with the period of existence, can also be limited. Such is the case with building cooperatives, which only exist until a building is complete and ownership of the units is transferred to individual members. Co-operative housing is cooperatively owned and managed. Residents share the responsibilities and have control of their own units, which they either rent from the co-op or own themselves. There are over 2,200 housing co-operatives with 90,500 units in Canada with a market value of 5.7 billion in assets. Over 250,000 Canadians live in Housing co-ops. Housing co-ops offer more security at a lower cost than renting or condominium ownership. Co-operatives are a way for a group of committed or caring people to accomplish great things. Some of the better known co-operatives are Gay Lea Foods, Cooperators Insurance, Ontario Natural Food Co-op, Autoshare, Windshare and Mountain Equipment Coop. Many ethnic communities use cooperatives to facilitate the creation of non-profit housing for their community; in addition to community centres which they rent out for events and banquets that make them self sufficient for the services they provide to the community.