Concept Paper: Intentional Neighbourhood and Intentional Neighbourhood Housing Co-operatives

Concept Paper:

Intentional Neighbourhood and Intentional Neighbourhood Housing Co-operatives

January 6, 2022

Sarah Arthurs

What is an Intentional Neighbourhood?

Intentional Neighbourhoods are created by individuals, couples and families who come together with a shared commitment to the Four Yeses.

  1. It’s All About The Food – Eating together is the secret sauce of community. When we enjoy meals with people, we like them more and they like us more.
  2. The TCP Factor – Being part of an Intentional Neighbourhood is about being involved – Time, Commitment and Participation.
  3. The Three Ups – Show up, Speak Up and Listen Up. In thriving neighbourhoods, people speak their truth kindly and listen hard to their neighbours.
  4. Gift Mindedness – Our neighbourhood will be stronger as we share our gifts and appreciated the gifts of others.

Another crucial enabler of Intentional Neighbourhood is proximity; living in units that are next door or nearby. This relates to the Proximity Effect, the positive correlation between the amount of time spent together and the attraction between people. We like people who we share space with regularly and for extended time, hence developing strong friendship with people we work with or who live next door.

Intentional Neighbourhoods can and do happen in cohousing, housing co-ops, rental apartments, condos, suburban and urban neighbourhoods.

What is an Intentional Neighbourhood Housing Co-operative?

An Intentional Neighbourhood Housing Cooperative is a mixed tenure housing co-op including home ownership units and continuing housing co-op units.  Members who choose ownership of their individual units, purchase and sell their units at market rates. Members who choose continuing housing units pay a monthly fee. All types of members have equal responsibility for the management and governance of the co-op.

What are the contributions of this model?

  • It integrates what we know from cohousing, housing co-ops, Asset Based Community Development, Abundant Communities and enables us to create thriving connected communities.
  • Incorporation as a cooperative provides the legal and governance infrastructure.
  • The cooperative model enables the allocation of financial assets to create housing security and support the social well-being of its members.
  • This cooperative structure enables the transfer of wealth for the purposes of creating stable housing options. Some members may come with financial assets to invest or contribute, and others will not. All members will participate in the governance and management of the housing cooperative for the benefit of both current and future members. This creates a legacy of Intentional Neighbourhood and secure housing.
  • There is the possibility of designing housing appropriate to changing climate conditions and the end of the fossil fuel era.

Several factors over the last 70 years have resulted in the uneven distribution of wealth and options for housing security. This is especially impacting young adults in their 20s and 30s who are moving into the developmental phase of launching families as housing prices reach repeatedly shocking milestones.  These factors include

  • the financialization of housing
  • the uneven distribution of wealth from a fossil fuel driven economy
  • the impact of climate change on careers
  • the impact of the pandemic on careers and job security
  • the lack of options such as housing co-ops and other than home ownership, for secure housing.

The benefits of this model are that it creates the opportunity and provides a structure for a creative and meaningful use of assets for the long term legacy of socially vibrant and resilient communities as well as housing which is stable affordable and built for changing climate condition.

There is room within this model for investment and contribution from members with available equity as well as support from government sources through grants and mortgages and from financial institutions with aligned ESG commitments.

The long-term legacy is stable, secure housing and a lively, responsive and connected human community in the form of Intentional Neighbourhood.

The Benefits of IN Housing Co-ops for repurposing faith community property

The structure and ownership model of Intentional Neighbourhood Housing Coops  – creates the opportunity for faith communities to repurpose their properties in close alignment with their values and goals;  providing  housing  for lower and middle income individuals and families and proactively seeding resilient connected communities. The cooperative model is designed for self-governance, so a management organization is not required.

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