Off-Grid Urban Housing
Climate Change appears likely to bolster an already strong in-migration as the Salish Sea provides a refuge from extreme weather. Existing infrastructure both increases the cost of housing through impact fees while urban stormwater impacts and nitrogen loading from municipal waste water is damaging marine water quality. Finally, private forestlands are overstocked with dense timber that would benefit from pre-commercial thinning that could supply a generation of small post-and-beam micro-houses.
Citizens all over the Salish Sea are choosing mobile off-grid housing as an affordable housing option (this is also known as being "homeless" and living in RVs, trailers, and tents). Government programs are designed to encourage people back into extremely competitive rental markets of mortgaged housing. Zoning and codes prevent people from high quality small scale shelter. Local low cost infrastructure could replace dysfunctional infrastructure, but depends on citizen stewardship of off-grid waste management systems, primarily greywater and Composting Toilets. However these systems also achieve multiple ecological benefits that could benefit damaged urban ecosystems by reducing resource use and if well designed, restoring soils. If poorly implemented such systems result in sub-standard housing that damages local soils and groundwater.
- https://medium.com/@tmccormick/the-new-urban-autonomous-off-grid-house-484bc77df152 broadly describes the concept.
- https://www.ecohome.net/guides/3334/a-toronto-off-grid-home-20-years-later-how-did-it-fare/ revisits an off-grid Toronto House built in the 90s.
- https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/08/going-off-the-grid-in-the-middle-of-a-city/495518/ how Keya Chatterjee cut ties with her urban electrical electrical service.
- https://www.openbuildinginstitute.org/ - The open building institute is an open-source project to make ecological affordable housing widely available.