So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Saturday, April 27, 2013
From the ground up
We can rebuild the world, but it has to be from the ground up.
Local laws is where to start. Let's take something as small as zoning and home owner associations. Rules and laws tie people to the old paradigm. Cities like MacMansions. They can tax the heck out of them while providing minimal services. It's all about property values. Property values are image driven. That's why “unsightly” clothes lines, solar panels, and windmills are often banned.
Now imagine, instead of a half dozen MacMansions, we take the same piece of land and put in 30 microhouses. Each microhouse has it's own solar or wind power. They may share a common well or all share city water. They all have their own composting toilets so don't need city sewer. The gray water is used in a communal garden area. There is a mini common space for art and music.
Someone living in such a community would have a pretty good life. Their lack of a big mortgage means they could get by on a low paying part time job. They could spend time with family and friends. The microhouse community would be able to share things like child care, gardening, and transportation. They'd be ideally set up for barter.
Businesses zoning would have to change. Picture a number of people working out of their homes, woodworking, pottery, sewing, repair work, computer services -whatever. Jobs and hobbies that would not normally be economical suddenly are due to very low overhead.
While it would have many of the advantages of a commune, everyone would still have their own living space. The house might be small, but it would be their castle. If for some reason you didn't like your neighbors, it would be fairly simple to hitch up the microhouse and take it someplace else. In fact, it might be normal to do so now and then. Spend the summer near the beach and tow the house back in the fall.
The greater community as a whole would benefit. The microhouse village would be an attraction. A person could drop some mending off to be fixed, pick up some veggies and eggs from the local microfarmers, and then catch some live music in the park. Doesn't this all sound friendly and fun?
It could all start from something as simple as changes in local zoning ordnances. There's nothing special here beyond a slightly different way of thinking. Do this in enough places and the word will get out. There's no need to force anyone to live this way. It would attractive enough for plenty of people.
What's not to like? Freedom from debt? Freedom from job slavery? Freedom from communter maddness? A chance to know your neighbors and have a sense of community? How about a chance to have fun with life again?
There's big things that could come from small local changes.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.