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Posts Tagged urbanism

Reburbia Finalists

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Many of you read a week or two ago about REBURBIA, a contests about revising the way we live in suburbia.  Many of you understand that we need to relocalize in order to sustain ourselves.  The day of the 1400 mile salad needs to come to an end.  Anyway, the contest has announced its top 20 submissions and you can vote on them.  Check it out here

Land Sharing

Part of the issue of tiny houses is figuring out where to put them.  While building codes are so restrictive, it simply isn’t possible to legally place them on land in most states. landshare There is a county in my state of NC where the minimum square footage is 2500 square feet!  I continue to feel that the only viable is to buy a large chunk of land and have your house nestled deep within it.  But this presents a large barrier for some, including me at the age of 25.  Once I do get a sizable piece of land I have often thought of opening it up and sharing with other tiny houses to form a tiny community.  The group would contribute to a community garden, upkeep and improvements.  There would be public areas such as botanical garden, small park, perhaps a pool or swimming hole.  I apparently I haven’t been the only one thinking about this.

Reprinted Treehugger Bonnie Alter January 2009

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a national treasure–a writer, organic farmer, chef, t.v. personality and passionate believer in local communities. His latest venture is “Landshare“–a scheme which puts people with large unused gardens in touch with gardeners wanting space. He calls it a “food revolution destined to be the next great thing.” With more people wanting to grow their own food and allotments being harder and harder to come by, he just may be right.

It is a simple and optimistic idea. People register their interest as a grower, a spotter –someone who has seen land in their area that may be suitable for growing–or an owner. The register, once it is up and running, will put these people in touch with each other.

The facts are that 80% of Britain’s population live in towns and cities, Britain’s food travels 17 trillion miles every year to reach our plates and it costs four barrels of oil per person to feed us every year.

So there is a good reason why the concept is growing and others are proposing variations. “LandFit” is another group that is “encouraging local food production by matching would-be growers with under used land.” They too want to increase opportunities to grow good locally by bringing untended and ignored bits of land back into use. They see it is a way to not only grow food and encourage organic gardening but also as a way to discourage anti-social behaviour. It’s a variation on Jane Jacobs all over again: when you have a well-kept street with local people interested in what is going on then you have a sense of community and involvement.

It is complicated and political because it involves land ownership and the use of private property by others. The group is in the process of discussing matters such as ” governance issues, and developing a model agreement between gardener and ‘lead stakeholder’, and ways in which LandFit style agreements can be supported.”

These are two examples of groups trying to come to grips with sustainability in food production, taking control of food production and the growing numbers of people interested in gardening but without access to land. Landshare and LandFit

ReBurbia Design Competition

How to reshape suburban sprawl?  If you think about it the demands of today are high.  People want their McMansion on decent sized lots (which they think is 1/3 an acre, but that’s for another day).  I live in Charlotte, NC where our outer beltway is over a hundred miles long and it doesn’t even begin to encircle Charlotte’s suburb.  If you have errands to run, in a single day, I constantly drive 100 miles just for errands!  How can we fix this?

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Enter the Inhabitat / Dwell REBURBIA competition, by sending up to 5 images and a statement about your design proposal. You can submit as many entries as you like, but each individual entry should be focused on one singular design problem/solution (i.e. a McMansion farm rehab, a bicycle transportation hub, a piezoelectric, energy-generating freeway paving system). Entries will be judged on clarity of idea, usefulness of design, and visual/aesthetic appeal of renderings.

go to http://www.re-burbia.com/ to check it out!

New Urbanism

While I may have a Tiny Lifestyle blog, I have always been trying to really hone in on what the Tiny Lifestyle truly is.  It is more than just owning a tiny house; it is a culmination of many things which leads us to a life which addresses human needs that we find are absent in our lives.  It’s seeking more time, discovering ourselves and loved ones.  It’s getting back in touch with nature; I would even go as far as saying there is a spiritual side to it as well.

I feel that the course we are going on as humans isn’t sustainable in both ecological and psychological terms.  With so many humans on this earth we are feeling cramped, we lack room to roam, time to be and other needs of the human condition.  What does this all have to do with Urbanism?

Like I said the way we live today isn’t sustainable in many ways, we must rethink, reengineer and adjust our behaviors.  With 6.5+ billion people on this world urbanism will happen and we have to be smart about it.

So today I want to share these a few videos (if you only watch one, take time for the first it’s phenomenal) about building better.  There are many people who are part of the Tiny House Movement that do so in an urban setting.  For those of you whom are a bit more remote, while these things talk about cities and urban area, there are undoubtedly gems we can gleam.  Whether these ideas are used to develop your community, your own tract of land or a small community of tiny houses, these ideas are invaluable for the backwoods or cities alike.

More great videos after the link

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