This story has everything: Family, drama, issues of class…

PhotoWSCampbell4-12I wrote about the Scarborough 11, the group of people who’ve banded together to form an intentional community in Hartford. They’ve been living in one for years in Hartford, but stuff started flying when they bought a mansion on one of the city’s toniest streets and the neighbors cried foul.

The column is  here. For Mother Courant. I wrote about this group earlier for Connecticut Magazine. I really hope this family — now heading to court — prevails.

(Up top, that’s the Scarborough 11 minus 7: Simon DeSantis, Julia Rosenblatt, Hannah Simms, and Dave Rozza. They just happened to be around the day I visited. You should get to know them. They’re good people.)

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  1. I cannot access the new article.

    I don’t doubt these are fine folk. The only thing about the description of the situation that makes my old Socialist brain buckle is the term “living intentionally.” It doesn’t convey the reality…especially the legal reality… of the situation. (I mean…we all live intentionally…don’t we? If we’re not locked up one way or the other, that is.) What these folks are doing is living communally. Which is fine…as long as they remain within the law.

    1. Lemme see if I can fix that link. “Intentional living” may seem like a buzz word, but that’s the phrase batted around to describe people like this: But I see what you’re saying and am changing the wording. UPDATE: I just checked and the link works from here.

      1. It’s not really your fault. I’m not a subscriber.

        Cooperative might be a better term in some instances. I’m part of of food cooperative. Residential/real estate cooperatives are common. In the case of the Scarborough 11, I think communal is a better descriptor.

        1. I get it, but I’m not going to rename what they’re doing when this is the term they prefer. However, I AM going to start calling you “Cuddly.”

          1. An old girlfriend used to call me Cuddles.

            I understand why people would want to use different terminology. “Intentional living” saves bourgeois hipsters from any consequence from possible evocation of Cold War imagery. “Commune” and “cooperative” just don’t connote a capitalist friendly sentiment. Intentional living…it’s ultra-spiritual.

            But as long as you don’t cal Bernie Sanders a Socialist, Elizabeth Warren a Populist, or Barack Obama a Liberal, I won’t get too cuddly.

        1. In my opinion, Hartford — like so many other struggling NE cities — need precisely this kind of resident (active, involved and in love with their city). Saying no like this makes Hartford look completely unappealing and fractured by issues of class. Ask a North End neighbor (a part of the city that’s struggling financially) how quickly THEIR complaints are answered.

          1. I see your point. I don’t entirely agree with it. But I understand it.

            How’s that for cuddly?

            1. It qualifies, considering how low we’ve set the bar.

              If you’re not laughing at that, I’ll worry about you.

              1. No worries.
                I do epitomize a low bar when it comes to cuddly. Generally.
                It’s part of what makes me such a $#*^%@g sweetheart.

    1. You are so right. Thank you. I looked right at him and typed Josh. Time for my nap.

  2. I think “intentional community,” a phrase I’ve heard batted around for years, describes a group that comes together with the intention of making their own community. I moved into a neighborhood, and it’s not a community — except once in a great while when one neighbor will get together with another, or one will help the other. I know of the Scarborough group (actually I know, slightly, one of the participants) and I know of one where there are individual houses in a cluster, where neighbors choose to live in that place and be part of whatever the group gathered for: community meals, social gatherings, mutual help, etc.

  3. I’m confused about what neighbors could be objecting to (I’m kind of a neighbor, as a very active congregant at the Unitarian Society of Hartford, right around the corner).

    Do they concern themselves with who’s having sex with whom? Are there too many cars in the driveway? Are these folks not keeping the yard up and the house painted? Was the neighborhood in any way better off when the house was empty?

    I suppose someone got a bee in his/her bonnet, and went and checked the zoning laws. I bet it was some dang lawyer (full disclosure: I’m a lawyer).

    Are the objecting neighbors embarrassed yet?

    P.S. I’m not a Courant subscriber (sorry, Susan) and couldn’t get in through the Courant site, but if you just search the title of the article, you’ll get a direct link:

    1. There ya go. Sorry about that. The neighbors have expressed concern that this family is running counter to zoning laws. They’ve said out loud and in public that they like these people, generally. It’s the law, they say.

      1. One concern that I heard was that someone would buy the next available mansion and turn it into a boarding house for University of Hartford students – or similar.

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