Laurieston Hall

Galloway, Scotland
Housing Co-Op
1972 - Present

1 Laurieston Hall 2 Cottages 3 Stables 4 Walled Garden 5 Field 6 Back Field 7 Woods
Founded in 1972 as an income-sharing commune, today Laurieston Hall is a housing co-operative. Inspired by the women’s movements and aspiring to a sustainable lifestyle, the group ran a conference center that has hosted hundreds of events, and thousands of people, discussing community politics, education, health care, housing, and work. The community was an early supporter of gay rights and provided a safe space for gay men’s retreats beginning in 1977.

Named for the massive Victorian house at the center of the community, the 47 room Laurieston Hall (1) was built in 1892 by Arthur George Sydney Mitchell. The sprawling building contains dozens of rooms including The Squat, the Billiard Room, the main dining room, and the library. The living spaces, including the cottages (2)  are heated by wood fires and hydro supplies the majority of the electricity.

The community keeps cows, pigs, hens, and bees, and grow organic fruit and vegetables in the walled garden (3). The hall i surrounded by 180 acres of woods, pastures, and wetlands. The housing co-operative pay the majority of their rent through workshare, two and a half days a week of work in exchange for room and board.  

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Annie Schneider

Communes in the New World

The question of how to live together—of how best to live together—is the foundation of any society. The last few years have exposed the fault lines in our current system: climatic catastrophe, economic crisis, supply chain collapse, civil unrest, rampant inequality, and a global pandemic. We live in congested cities and in potentially dangerous proximity, yet remain isolated. In light of these mounting pressures, it’s time to revisit the fundamentals. How to Live Together offers alternative ways of being, thinking, dwelling, and living. It calls into question every basic assumption and prevailing social norm: belief, sex, the nuclear family, property ownership, our relationship to land, production, and consumption. It is both a critique and a roadmap.