An "intentional community" is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. The people may live together on a piece of rural land, in a suburban home, or in an urban neighborhood, and they may share a single residence or live in a cluster of dwellings.
This definition spans a wide variety of groups, including (but not limited to) communes, ecovillages, student cooperatives, land co-ops, cohousing groups, monasteries and ashrams, kibbutzim, and farming collectives. Although quite diverse in philosophy and lifestyle, each of these groups places a high priority on fostering a sense of community--a feeling of belonging and mutual support that is increasingly hard to find in mainstream Western society.
This term was coined in the 1940s by the original Fellowship of Intentional Communities a precursor to the current Fellowship for Intentional Community. It's first appearance may have been in Issue 11 of a newsletter called the Communiteer in May 1945.