A tiny house community, such as Noodle Soup Village – Lite, which is based on the grander Noodle Soup Village – A Tiny House Community, is a model that could be reproduced elsewhere. Even though all of this is just words, and no action has been taken to bring it to fruition, I see the most responsible thing to do is make some plans for the future. To draw out some possible outcomes , instead of just going into the thing all willy nilly, would help to avert a catastrophic breakdown if there is conflict within the community over finances, shared responsibilities, goals set forth, and so on. In time, I’d like to hash out something like a village charter, bi-laws, code of ethics, whatever. For now, I’d like to stick to the fun pipe dreams. Let’s get right down to it, shall we?!
One possible outcome to landing a piece of property suitable to park a few tiny houses, is for one or two individuals to purchase a house with a sizable back yard, and then rent space to a handful of tiny house people. If done with the right people, and the right land owner, this is a quite reasonable proposal. Now, I’d prefer if the landowner intended to live in a tiny house in the backyard with the rest of the crazies, thus leaving the main house for communal activities, washing clothes, guest rooms, etcetera. An arrangement like this would be better for the community, I think, because everyone living on the property is in the same mindset of minimalism and sustainable lifestyles. The alternative might create some tension unless their were an agreement that a certain portion of the house was delegated for community use. I don’t favor this option.
I don’t suppose there would be anything wrong with most of the tiny house people paying rent to a landowner, but a superior arrangement exists.
Shared Ownership, Shared Responsibility
What if a group of people purchased a house and lot as a group? How would that affect their desire to invest in the community, and share the responsibility of maintenance, upkeep, improvements, communal gardening, and so on? Would collective ownership be a liability to the long term health of the community? Perhaps disagreements develop over payments, upkeep costs, or someone not pulling their weight? The truth is, I don’t know. These communal arrangements fall apart all the time, for a lack of clear, concise procedures for dealing with conflicts and unexpected changes that were never considered in the beginning.
Maybe their is a legal entity that could be created that would own the property. I don’t know anything about such things, so I’m going into unknown territory, but it could be less opportunity for conflict when their aren’t specific names on the deed. The tiny house people pay a “membership fee”, and out of this fee would be payed the mortgage, utility bills, taxes, maintenance costs, and a nest egg for unforeseen expenses. Although this might be dangerous territory, with some thorough research and a well planned charter, who knows, it might be a good model for spawning communities everywhere. There might well be a cooperative model in existence that would make a suitable template. Democracy, plain and simple.
Time To Procreate!
Now, what if the community members, through their combined membership fees, were able to pay off the property so that their costs of living are limited to utilities (those that we need by then), taxes, upkeep, and so on, leaving some disposable income? Well, for one, the membership fees could be drastically reduced, leaving the community members to spend that money elsewhere; travel, savings for retirement, or maybe work a lot less. These are all worthy things, and should be explored regardless, but with a viable community model, I see a fortuitous opening to create something more!
One community begets another, and so on. With some seed money saved through membership fees and any cooperative business pursued, a “seed fund” could be used to purchase another property appropriate for a community like Noodle Soup Village. The prospective owners could, through their sister cooperative and membership fees, take on the task of paying off the property and repaying Noodle Soup Village for the down payment. In this way, we serve as a sort of hippy dippy lending institution. That money could be turned around to help other’s create their own communities. Perhaps, no funds would be needed, just the guidance from our learning experience in communal living. All the better! What if it were the express goal of each community to hatch more tiny house communes? Enough of these things spring up around Portland and other cities, someone in government will have to take notice, and make provisions for their legal right to exist.
Imagine it. A city of tiny house neighborhoods, each with it’s own character and flair. All finding ways to live small, live well, live happy, and live with each other. Bartering, cooperative consumption, local currencies, shared knowledge and skills, security, trust, purpose, and sustainability. That is, sustainability in the true sense of the word. When enough people come together with the skills and resources gained through their years, the possibility of these neighborhoods providing for themselves much of what they need, and exchanging with one another for the rest; it’s not only a nice idea, it’s something worth fighting for.
Crazy? Certainly. But, it’s my dream, and that’s how it played out in my truck this morning! Maybe some of it will happen.