I’ve had a goal for many years to live in a community that respects the rights and needs of children as much as I do.
Because it’s so rare (in the US, at least), a community like this would likely be an “intentional” one.
IC.org is a directory of intentional communities.
Caution if you try to use it: The search is somewhat broken as of May 2021. I notified them, but only after wasting a couple hours looking at incomplete lists and scraping the data.
I narrowed down the communities by state and by number of people and ended up with a list of about 130. I then excluded communities with less than 10 people. And looked into those with dozens of people but few children. A lot of communities are for 55+.
Plenty of “cohousing communities” just looked like typical neighborhoods. They are well-designed neighborhoods in the middle of a city with 30 or 40 separate homes, occasionally built by the same construction company. Homes are $500k+. They might do something “radical” like not have driveways for each individual home, so residents have to walk a bit further, a mingle a bit more. A community hall might sit in the center, perhaps neighborhood potlucks once per week. (Potlucks are a must in my dream community).
They look like retirement communities. Retired people can afford this lifestyle and have the freedom from work or other responsibilities needed to make the move. Young parents are less likely to have those luxuries.
The landscape matters. Kids need trees to climb, dirt to dig, creeks to explore. A glance at google satellite view is usually all the data I need to know if this is happening. Adults seem to function better with regular walks in nature too.
I’m know there are gorgeous wooded neighborhoods at the very upper levels of wealth. The million dollar homes in the hills have low crime, space to explore, and the families likely have a social life. But are the kids playing together? Are neighbors inviting each other for cookouts? And are parents who worked so hard for their comfort and status willing to let go of the reigns, or encourage their kids to go “get lost”, and just “be home by dark”.
I’m reminded of golf. There’s nature involved, but just barely.
It’s not the money, it’s the mindset. Mine is that a good education involves things like slaughtering a goat, trying to build a raft, and most importantly navigating the social world of 100 others kids doing their own similar but different creative workplay.
I did find a couple communities that seemed to fit the bill. I’ll keep you posted : )