Communal groups are nothing new and have just about run the gamut of different religions, ideologies, and reasons for being such. As far back as times before Christ, there were Jewish groups who formed monasteries and lived in hermit-like groups, isolating themselves from the rest of the world and spent their time in worship, prayer, reading, fasting and such. Of course, these were different than the later groups and modern day communes in that they normally consisted only of men.
During the 1940's and 1950's, there were a number of communes formed in a wave of "getting back to nature" desire of many who were becoming disenchanted with urban living, gangs, drugs, hippies and the like. Some had a religious root while others simply wanted to "get away from it all". Also, a number of religious cults came into being and dwelt together. Many were short lived and faded back into society after the illusion of peaceful leisure in the quiet solitude of the countryside and like-minded neighbors began to return to realism where hard labor was required to furnish all with food and medications and some neighbors turned out to be as they were in the city.
But some survived and remain today, and some have been started since those years. Below you will find links to several that will give you some idea of the diversity of purposes of these groups, their means of sustenance, and so on. Also please read my "Musings" article.