Friday, January 17, 2014

An Affordable Village

The establishment of Opportunity Village as a transitional housing project in Eugene, Oregon has led many to ask, "where are they to transition to?"  Some have found stable income and have been able to make the transition back to conventional housing, but it is clear that this may not be a realistic, long-term solution for everyone.  So, while Opportunity Village is intended to be a stepping stone to more permanent living situations, it also strives to catalyze a more sustainable vision of what those situations may look like.

The "affordable village" can provide permanent housing based upon a similar village model.  The dwellings would be slightly larger with utility hook-ups, and residents would pay a modest rent or mortgage.  A goal is for the cost to be similar to government subsidized housing, without the assistance.  Below is an initial concept plan for what this could look like:

The return to the village scale is evident elsewhere in society as well.  The spread of eco-village and cohousing developments represent a recent shift in this direction.  But these places are often exclusive in that they tend to be pursued only by those with a strong, existing commitment to social and ecological consciousness.  This is great, because those people are awesome, but I believe we need to expand the demographic living in this way, and that will take something new.

I want to build something for people that maybe don't have such strong beliefs, but just want something affordable and come to live more sustainably as a result.  Not because they are into permaculture but because they simply have few material needs.  If people are content living in tiny houses, why don't we capture that and build upon it?  Doing so could blur the lines between the housed and the unhoused, where the two finally begin to converge rather than diverge.

1 comment:

  1. Great thinking Andy. I'm still planing how to put the village model into action here. I like the idea of creating an alternative to conventional housing for those who have little means, and few material needs. I think the idea that with this type of housing they no longer need subsidy, AND they are no longer homeless reducing the homeless population will appeal to HUD and other Government agencies. Keep up the great work!!