Real estate costs are on the rise, making affordable housing in big cities hard to find. editor Clare Trapasso looks at the modern day equivalent of a commune, called "an intentional community,” which is becoming a more popular trend as housing costs skyrocket.

Some indeed fit the classic ’60s definition of communes—where members have jobs in their communities and share finances, lifestyles, everything. Others are modern varieties of co-housing communities, such as eco-villages where participants strive to be more environmentally friendly. Cheaper prices tell part of the story. But so does a desire for a simpler, more unplugged lifestyle.

Aurora DeMarco, 53, left her pricey condo in Brooklyn, N.Y., to move to the Ganas community, a 75-member group in New York City’s Staten Island, and now pays $810 a month for her own room in a 10-bedroom house. Other communes out there operate on a work for room and board system, where residents work full time at the commune but have no housing costs.

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