Off the Grid With Training Wheels

The Problem: Getting “Off the Grid” can be difficult and sometimes scary. Most people don’t want to give up their electronic toys and running water, and the biggest problem is finding the perfect place to do it. Land, especially land in close proximity to large metropolitan areas, is very expensive.

The Idea: There are varying degrees of low impact living. Every person has a different idea of what comfort is and what she can live without. What if there was a community where you could try out varying levels of low impact living in order to decide which was right for you? What if this community also had a shared building with a workshop, gathering space, laundry, and guestrooms for family or residents on the journey to intentional, low impact living?

The Design:


The Core: This building  will be the community center. It will have a large kitchen for shared meals, spare rooms for visitors (or residents who had a mishap), wifi, showers, laundry, gathering space/lounge, and a workshop to build houses and test new technologies.  It will house all the amenities and comfort as well as serve as a place to meet with neighbors and friends. This building would of course have to be experimental itself by trying out new carbon neutral technologies, and possibly being underground. Ideally, it will include a fantastic underground greenhouse. This center will be the educational hub with exhibits about living with the land, art from locals on the wall, and A place to feel at home.

The Garden: A centerpiece of the community is the garden.  Many of us have forgotten the age old skills of agriculture.  This would be an opportunity to learn the patient art of orchard care and gardening.
The Village: The village will be made up of a series of tiny houses that are up to regular building codes, but small and as well made as one can build. Perhaps hobbit houses, arts and crafts bungalows, Usonians, and other nature-inspired  houses would co-exist with the land. Among the houses, there will be experimentation with passive solar, active solar, wind, and other alternative energy systems. It will be very interesting and educational to compare the energy performance of different types of houses.

Outskirts: This area will be much like car camping but more spread out. There will be electricity and running water hookups out in the woods so dwellers could test their off the grid skills while still being connected to the amenities they have been so accustomed to.

Off The Grid: This space is for the real “outside the grid” people where they can live out in nature, totally free from the tick-tocking world.  It is my opinion that there are many people who would love to live this way – they just haven’t realized it yet.

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