If I had but a nickel for every time I heard such a phrase. We are going to build a community. It sounds harmless enough. We’ve got some land. We love little houses. We have watched a YouTube video and we know how to build a french septic system. We have money saved so we can buy one of the larger pre-fab barns for a common area. We even have some chickens and some seeds so we can start a bit of a self-sustaining food system to be shared by the community members. It all sounds so lovely. We all yearn in some way for the village life. We long to share each day with those who are like minded and equally yoked. Starting a community then should be little more than providing a place for those folks to gather and “live and let live.” It is that simple. And being the logophile I am. If you just swap two words in that sentence you end up with an entirely different notion. Is it that simple? I am not sure…at all. For every dream I have a reality and while the utopian Peter Pan occasionally gets to roam and play my dystopian Beatrice Prior typically steals the spotlight. It isn’t that I want to be a naysayer. I just want people to think rationally about what building a community looks like, smells like, sounds like, etc.
5 Strategies For Building Tiny House Community
KNOW THE LAND. Just having a couple of acres doesn’t mean it is going to become a destination. An understanding of the orientation and nature surrounding the land are perhaps even more important. Is it wooded or is there sunlight? How much sunlight? Does it drain well or does it sit right on the water table? Is much of it cleared allowing for easy access in and out? What kind of infrastructure is already present and how much is needed? A community has to play to its most immediate surroundings. If it is an urban community it is important to know if the proposed land has easy access to things like mass transit, shopping, eating, entertainment, etc. If the community is more rural it is important to think about how automobiles play into the equation and what issues may arise with them. A rural community has to think about whether or not it is accessible to phone lines, Internet connectivity, natural sunlight, water, etc.
LOW FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS. Whether the community would be rural or urban it is important to not just connect within the walls but also outside of them. How will the community access its neighbors? Will there be transparency surrounding the community or does it intend to be private allowing little access? Building up fences and obscuring sight lines leads to public speculation and concern. No community with a survival rate has increased one by becoming a microcosm of the world around them.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMMUNITY AND COMMUNAL. It may not seem like much but the difference between community and communal is vast. Community is a gathering of like-minded individuals while communal is a facility or accessory shared by all members of a community. Will your community simply provide a place where like-minded people can live amongst each other or will your community rely on the co-dependency of its residents? Will there be a community garden? How will that look? Who will govern it? Whose responsibility will it be? Will a community kitchen and dining area be available? Who will create rules for the sanitation of the kitchen? Who can eat there and when? This line of questioning points to a governing body within the community which needs its own developed strategy.
CULTIVATE INTERACTION. If the community is going to be a fully-functioning, single minded unit, the focus should somewhat be on synergy within. Building the community kitchen within eyesight of the playground allows a parent to cook a meal or help with a meal while watching his/her son/daughter play. It recreates the more traditional “home” atmosphere into a community setting. Gardens, laundry rooms, Internet libraries, etc. all lend themselves to activity and if they are put in remote places they take away from the ability of community members to interact regularly. The mingling of residents should be encouraged both in word and deed.
LET NATURE REIGN. There is no good reason to make people live against what is natural to them. Each person is naturally drawn to another and when living in community a person may feel more akin to one person or one family in particular. Don’t work against that and try to encourage them to separate. Allow them to cultivate their own relationship and comfort levels. We are a creature that can succeed alone but craves the acceptance of a pack. Allow community members to act alone and within the pack.
Do you long to build a community? Have you found yourself dreaming of one? Do you have the resources to do so? And if you do, do you you see yourself living in it or just creating it? Let us know by commenting below.