We Are Going To Build A Community

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.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Deborah Rideaux - December 16, 2016 Reply

looking tobuild a tiny houston

Jerry Myroup - December 29, 2016 Reply

The RTYD (RockTilYouDrop) community has been kicking round this idea for several years and believe me, it’s harder to get going than one might think. This article just begins to touch on the many things to consider when thinking about building a community.

The biggest problem for myself has been just trying to get my head around the enormity of such an undertaking.

While I’m the founder of this group and mostly the idea guy, we’ve been trying to find the right people who have just the right kind of experience and drive to actually make this happen.

Are you that person?

Paula Loniak - January 9, 2017 Reply

I’ve lived in Athens, GA, since 1992. It’s a ‘college town’ with a growing population & lots of construction of student (off campus) housing, while housing for ‘townies/non-student citizens’ has been getting ignored, even after a “Workforce Housing Study” was done and revealed that there was a lack of affordable housing for the people who actually live & work here for more than four years (ex: students).

I’ve attended countless Mayor & Commissioners (M&C) meetings, as well as Planning Commission meeting in order to inform/educate them about Tiny Houses and how they can be ONE option for affordable housing in Athens. The government, so far, doesn’t know what to do about changing any zoning laws/restrictions which would allow for Tiny Houses to be legal here.

There are several (don’t know how many, but probably a hundred or more…? Many more…?) citizens who would love to live in Tiny Houses IN Athens. I enjoy all of the things/events that Athens has to offer, so ideally, I’d love to remain living IN Athens. I tried. I was then told by the Zoning Dept. that the location I’d been planning to live would NOT be legal for my TH. Even though it had previously been used for some trailers/RVs and had electricity & wells for water…

For financial reasons, I had to start building my TH in April 2016; I had the money then and didn’t think I’d be able to restrain myself (out of necessity or desire) from spending it before my house could be built. I ended up having to move onto a friend’s property outside of Athens, about a 30 minute drive away. This is NOT my desired location; I need to be closer to town due to some mental heath issues…I’ve lived about this far from town/Athens in the past and had to move back into town in order to be closer to friends & socializing (I live alone). So I’m pretty fed up with the town of Athens’ government officials and their feet-dragging lack of action with regard to changing some zoning to allow Tiny Houses IN Athens. they seem to have their heads in the sand about this issue; they are (possibly?) hoping it will just “go away”…?

For now, I’m living where I CAN, but not where I’d LIKE. I’m disgusted with this situation.

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