Introduction to Issue 6: Community

Posted June 2nd, 2009 by Hillary "Tinyhouse" and filed in Issue 6: Community
Cottages that face a common green (Photo credit: Ross Chapin Architects)

Sensibly sized cottages facing a common green (Ross Chapin Architects)

Would you pay $600,000 for 1,000 square feet?

Many people are willing to pay more for less, as evidenced by the popularity of Ross Chapin‘s small homes in custom designed “boutique” communities. They are selling well in the Northwestern US and getting good press nationwide (articles in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and HGTV).

In this issue of the Small Living Journal we interweave the two concepts of living smaller and living in communities because they are fundamentally linked: the smaller your home, the more you take advantage of the community around you.

We can’t help but be reminded of our collective past, one that is wonderfully devoid of clutter, high energy bills, spending lots of time alone in our cars and staring at glowing boxes for 8 hours a day. Is there a way to piece together a new, community-minded existence while living small?

We are Craving Community

Posted June 2nd, 2009 by Hillary "Tinyhouse" and filed in Issue 6: Community
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Ecovillage at Ithaca, NY (Jim Bosjolie)

From expats to college students, breast cancer survivors to renters tired of renting, we are people who crave affordable communities. We have joined the Tiny House Village Network, a private online space I set up to discuss the formation of real tiny house villages.

Americans from all over the country are joining and clammering for the same thing:

  1. the ability to live in a small, affordable home without breaking any laws in the process;
  2. the opportunity to “park” that home on a small piece of land;
  3. to live with other like-minded people and maybe grow some food together.

To paraphrase, we just want to live a little more simply.

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Third Street Cottages (Ross Chapin Architects)

These requests should not be complicated, but because of the bloated housing industry, distorted municipal codes and unnecessary zoning laws, they are incredibly difficult for the average person to navigate.

It’s hard for me to express how important I think this project is. The numbers should speak for themselves: home vacancy rates soar, tent cities are on the rise, more and more people are living in and around the edge of poverty.

In the Tiny House Village I learned that Jeff is building a retreat center in the Adirondack foothills, Willy wants to develop some lakefront land in Michigan, Jeff & Arlene are building a Tumbleweed house on wheels and looking for someplace to park it, Ann is keeping a scrapbook for her dream home which she plans to build herself in 3 years, and Pete has been living in a cabin in the Yukon for 3 years with no running water.

There are over a hundred of us now. We all want to create a community. An intentional community. We are seeking movers and shakers — builders, developers, parks people, land owners and tiny house enthusiasts alike. Please join us and help make things happen.

Hillary lives in a 677 sq. ft. historic home with her partner while renovating a 50 sq. ft. tiny trailer. Her blog is located at thistinyhouse.com. She is a freelance writer and consultant.