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Tribes & Villages: 2 Kinds of Community

In my head I divide community into two kinds.


A tribe is a community of people who meet together regularly and share their lives with each other, but who are spread out across neighborhoods and towns.

This isn’t a Seth Godin kind of tribe, which would involve people around the world connected by some kind of shared passion. My kind of tribe needs to be close enough to meet up weekly.

Sometimes tribes are formal, put together for a reason, and sometimes they are just groups of friends who like hanging out. Sometimes they are a little of both.


A village is a community of people who live together. This is normally called intentional community.

A village could be a bunch of people sharing a house, or neighbors in a pocket neighborhood or cohousing neighborhood, or even neighbors in an apartment complex or traditional neighborhood who are intentional about meshing their lives together.

There is an emphasis not only on sharing life, but on sharing stuff as well.

A village might exist for any number of reasons. It might not even be intentional, like someone needs a place to stay and someone else says, ‘Stay with me.’

But it could also come about as an attempt to avoid loneliness, to live more cheaply, to live with less impact on the environment, to live more spiritually, or just to spend time with people instead of watching actors spend time with each other on television.

Either / Or

I don’t think either of these two ways of doing community are more right or wrong than the other, but both of them fascinate me, so I like to learn about and think about them both.

I have lived both, and I would like to live in a village community again someday, but for now I enojoy my local tribe.

Have you ever lived in a village community? Do you have a local tribe? What have your experiences been?