One Garden, One Small House... Bliss
Living in small homes is nothing new, but the concept is becoming a major revolution in the way people are thinking about the housing industry in Canada and the United States. Then comes the topic of Cohousing: Living Large In Small Houses, where people who want to live in a tiny house, but need space to do other things like practice their hobbies, or bake and cook larger meals, can do so, without having to personally own all of the space. When people down size to a tiny house, many must give up the space that they once had for things like a studio or a workshop. They can make it work in their tiny home space, but sometimes it is just really hard to do so without feeling extremely cramped and disorganized. This is where co-housing comes in.
Co-housing is a way of planning a community of tiny house dwellers who are all on the same page and share common interests, to share spaces and tools, work and duties, and more importantly share a sense of community and connectedness. These co-housing communities are built around people each having their own tiny house spaces for sleeping and having some alone time, but most everything else is shared. They share gardening work around the property, kitchen work, cleaning, and other household duties. This makes for the perfect arrangement for people who want a tiny house life and the affordability that comes with it, but also, the added space, and shared items that they may have not been able to afford otherwise. Things like tools that would be very expensive if they were owned individually. This is a sharing community of people who have mutual respect for each other and it works to all of their benefits.
The co-housing communities pictured in the article, are in Portland, Oregon, where many people were faced with the economic crisis. Co-housing was a wonderful way for people to come together to make a difficult situation much less strenuous, and all co create a space where there is enough for everyone, living in a state of abundance instead of lack. Eli Spevak, has been the catalyst for many of these housing projects in Portland, where the idea is to keep building models for a means of providing affordable community based housing for the people of Portland. In the photos in the article on Small House Bliss, you can see how he accomplished this by using Portland's accessory dwelling unit regulations, and adding accessory buildings onto the properties that already had two smaller homes on them. The residents have everything they need - a place to sleep, a kitchen to cook in, bathrooms, garden space, bike storage, courtyard, water, even an outdoor fire place.
A diverse range of people live in these co-housing communities in Portland, people who are retired, young couples, smaller families, single people. They really are open to anyone who is willing to pitch in and live in harmony and respect with everyone else. This type of living arrangement is not for everyone, but the people who really want to live this way, truly thrive in these communal living situations. It offers people a different option, and this is a wonderful thing. With more options like this, there will be less homelessness, and the return of community values, of sticking together instead of being against each other, which, in the long run can create a better environment in larger centres. This seems like the way to build a sustainable future.
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