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A community can look like this

Posted on August 9, 2008 by ari

a community can look like this (color version)

Originally uploaded by arimoore

Shira and I continue to do research on our future housing options. The drawing here is me puzzling over certain house types and just messing around with pretty shapes. (I feel like I’m getting better at drawing trees freehand thanks to all of my tree drawings! I guess that’s what happens when you don’t draw much else for a couple of years.)

Making these drawings, and reading about natural building and the owner-builder concept, is liberating and empowering. Reading through Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter and Shelter, you can see how capable and powerful ordinary people are at creating beautiful and livable solutions themselves, without any help from “professionals.” You begin to see that folks have been making their own homes and workshops and such for as long as we’ve been able to improvise tools and manipulate our environment. Over time we’ve come up with better and better ways of housing ourselves. Strawbale, cob, stone and other natural building materials are safer, easier to use, more energy-efficient, and far less expensive than the chemical-leaching, wasteful drywall and vinyl siding and asphalt shingles and other stuff that so many of us use in new houses today.

There are some major obstacles though, to us housing ourselves. Land is expensive and hard to get your hands on. There are a lot of rules and regulations that are difficult to understand and to meet to enforcers’ satisfaction, and which curtail creativity and demand the development of expensive, environmentally-unfriendly, and often unnecessary infrastructure. We think the solution is to band together with an affinity group to make infrastructure and land costs more affordable, and to share resources and labor to make house-building easier, cheaper, and more fun. Hence our Ahimsa Ecovillage project.
To see many more housing drawings, visit my “i made this” photoset on Flickr.
For an in-depth though now slightly outdated discussion of this whole housing thing, don’t miss Shirari’s Peace and Love Podcast #2: Housing. If you listen to it please let us know what you think – we want to make our podcast more entertaining and useful for folks, and feedback really helps us. Thanks, and peace!

Related posts:

  1. Report from the Community Sneak Peek of “Empowered”
  2. I wrote an article about how to organize a community swap/barter meet for Shareable
  3. Shirari’s Peace and Love Podcast #2: Housing
  4. An update on Ahimsa, our vegan ecovillage project
  5. Ahimsa evolves, and an a-frame emerges


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