Changes to housing rules could bring intentional communities out of the shadows

At first glance, the term “intentional community” seems odd. It seems to me that most communities are somehow unintentional, that unless you map out your social structures ahead of time you’re dropping some kind of ball.

But in a way, that’s exactly right. Most families and neighborhoods don’t involve much forethought; as most teenagers would attest, you can’t choose your parents. Intentional communities — a form of housing co-operative where residents form a household organized around an idea — have a long history in cities like Minneapolis. But thanks to the city’s longstanding “unrelated adult” ordinances, these unique households have often been forced to remain off the books, technically illegal but overlooked by trusting neighbors.

That might change this year as people from Minneapolis’ intentional communities are pushing changes to the city’s housing ordinance. If the proposed change passes, intentional communities might be embraced not just culturally, but legally in Minneapolis.

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