Imagine an enormous intentional community of 2,000 residents, all living sustainably off-the-grid. This is what Nick Rosen is noodling over since working on his book, Off the Grid.
As he traveled while researching stories for his book, he met many people making off-the-grid lives work in remote places. But he also learned how tough it can be to do it all alone. Nick found that the folks making it work well, relied a wider network of people. From this exploration the idea to create a sizable sustainable off-grid community came together.
To do it right he figures he’ll need to raise about $200 million. That seems like a lot of money but he’s of the mind that to make it successful from the start there would need to be the right mix of infrastructure and expertise in place. The cost of an average home would cost in the $150,000 range.
Nick says he is currently working to build the multi-disciplinary team, and the secure the funds that will be needed. He’s also on the lookout for land, possibly in the form of an investment in the project. In fact he told me, “I will swap my first edition of Walden for 25 acres of South facing mixed farming and woodland.”
We’ve not chatted about the possibilities of tiny houses, but I suspect Nick would be open to listening to just about any off-the-grid sustainable living strategy. Who knows… maybe this off-the-grid city dream of Nick’s could include a tiny house eco-village as one of the neighborhoods.
To learn more about living off-grid visit Nick’s website, off-grid.net.
So many books, so little time- this one looks great! I’ll have to get a copy and review it soon-ish for the blog and tv/web show. Very cool…and thanks for the heads up Michael!
The irony of modern (n.) america is that in order to achieve the american ideals, you must escape from america. Surely it’s time for a new revolution?
$200 million? Aren’t we just replacing one grid for a different, possibly less reliable one, grid?
I keep running up against the same problems with these alternative community ideas over and over again. Too many to list. Just a couple of mentions:
At some point does this just turn into a variation on the trailer park theme, or some sort of ramshackle subdivision?
Another problem, there are so many people in the world, how do we avoid the conclusion that high density is the only workable solution for the vast majority. If we plan to leave room for wild animal populations (and what would it profit a man to gain his freedom only to lose his fellow creatures?), we had better consider that adding people to un-peopled land stresses wildlife. We are losing species at an incredibly rapid rate.
Maybe what makes this whole off-the-grid thing work (to the extent it does) is its very haphazardness. Communities of this sort may not work at all. They may turn out to resemble refugee camps more than anything else.
Let’s everybody, when we get a chance, sit down and imagine ourselves in such a community. Visualize it. What would life be like there? What is the downside? Consider the downside first. Thinking is hard, we have a limited capacity for it. So tackle the hard stuff first.
I wish there were an edit function.
By \haphazard\ I meant that communities of tiny houses might not work, that possibly the only way the tiny house, off-the-grid idea works is with individuals living in hidden, out of the way places, and not as part of a group.
I will say this: If this movement ever embraces the bulldozer the way conventional development does, count me out.
Starting off from the money angle is a bad sign. $200 million? What does Nick want to be, Donald Trump?
I suggest Nick start with THE PEOPLE first, since the people, not the money, will determine the success or failure of such a venture.
I think that once he started finding the right people, he wouldn’t think he needs $200 million worthless pieces of Bernanke.
I don’t see why an OTG house needs to cost $150K. If all you get for that is the house shown on that cover — good luck.
I’m working on an OTG micro neighborhood concept for low income retirees. It includes gray water, solar, composting, raised beds, shared kitchen/laundry and a natural pool all done with recycled materials. I figure the houses will cost less than $10K apiece. Total buy in for 15 tiny houses on an acre will be right around $18K. Property is owned in common.
Please think about the reason people need tiny houses. It’s not all just about small footprint. Sometimes it’s also about quality of life and affordable price.
IMO of course.