The possibilities of intentional community in McMansions

A Craigslist ad for living in a Silicon Valley McMansion highlights the potential for intentional community:

What is Le Chateau McMansion?

At the end of the day, after everyone has gotten home from work, and we’ve shared good food and good stories with the people we find ourselves surrounded by, we are a family. It means we care for each other, for each other’s things, and for the home we’ve created. It means spontaneous trips to National Parks, creative and fun house projects, and weekends you wish would never end. Sometimes it is kitchen dance parties, rooftop lemon golf, costumed 7-course dinners, farmers market trips by bike, homebrew beer contests, or chill weekends of grilling and gardening balanced by late-night deep philosophical debates. Without a doubt, it is a place to experience learning and growth, friendship, adventures, acceptance, and awesomeness in our home. We are more than roommates. We are community.

Who lives at McMansion?

A French roboticist, a talented couple from Texas whose music will pluck on your heartstrings, a rowdy outdoorsmen who can prepare the best breakfast burrito this side of the Mississippi river, a spunky dude from the dark corners of Tennessee, a project engineer from the Chicago suburbs, a sweet heart from Boston, and a troop of native Californians.. each with a hand in the tech industry, rock climbing, and a passion for cycling. Oh, and another techie as well. He flies balloons. He’s always gone though. Forget we mentioned him.

McMansions are often criticized for having too much space for not enough people. Even as the average household size has shrunk in the United States, new homes have gotten larger. Does a family of four really need 3,000+ square feet? (Perhaps it is not for the people; perhaps it is for their stuff.)

Yet, McMansions could often house a lot more people. Those big spaces that may seem empty with just a few residents could easily accommodate a larger crowd. This is especially needed in tight housing markets like Silicon Valley. As noted in this ad, a renter would get a lot of space (and utilities and food) for $1,210 a month. And having a lot of residents doesn’t even require splitting the McMansions into multiple housing units. However, it does require living in close proximity to more people, a feature probably more amenable to (1) younger adults and (2) people in tight housing markets.

It is also intriguing that this McMansion opportunity is listed as an opportunity to participate in intentional community. Don’t many people buy McMansions (and perhaps many single-family homes) to get away from other people? Again, this sounds like a feature that would appeal to a certain demographic.

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