Virtually everyone I talk with in our region names homelessness as a major area of concern. Despite this concern few had suggestions of how to address the issue. So I want to explore some ideas of how we can address the homeless issue. Dive deep into ideas that others have implemented and what might work here. In the end the goal is to create more affordable housing that serves the needs of people across the homeless spectrum. 

In the face of growing housing crises in many parts of the world, innovative solutions are urgently needed to provide affordable, sustainable living options. One such solution is the concept of micro communities, inspired by the Brøndby Haveby or Brøndby Garden City in Denmark. This model not only offers a potential remedy to housing shortages but also fosters a sense of community and belonging among its residents. In this blog post, we will explore a proposed model for building these micro communities, focusing on a village of ten dwellings around a central courtyard, and discuss funding strategies to build equity for the dwellers.

Understanding the Brøndby Garden City Model

Brøndby Garden City, located near Copenhagen, Denmark, is a renowned example of a garden city where small plots of land are allotted for individual, often circular gardens surrounded by hedges, with a communal space at the center. Each garden hosts a small house, creating a community that is intimately connected with nature and neighbors. This model emphasizes communal living while allowing for personal space and privacy, making it an attractive model for modern housing needs.

The Proposed Micro Community Model

The proposed model involves creating a village comprising ten individual dwellings arranged around a central courtyard. This setup encourages interaction among residents, promoting a tight-knit community atmosphere. Here’s how it could look:

Design and Layout

  • Dwellings: Each dwelling would be compact and designed with sustainability in mind, using eco-friendly materials and solar panels.
  • Central Courtyard: This would be the heart of the community, a space for gatherings, communal dining, and events, enhancing the social fabric of the village.
  • Shared Facilities: Facilities might include a laundry, a small library, and garden spaces for growing vegetables and herbs.

Funding the Community: A Path to Building Equity

Funding such a community requires innovative approaches to ensure affordability and equity-building for the residents. Here are a few strategies:

1. Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

A CLT could be used to purchase the land, retaining ownership of it while leasing the right to build on it to the residents. This reduces the upfront costs for residents and keeps the housing affordable over the long term. Residents can own their homes and possibly gain equity, but the land remains a community resource.

2. Cooperative Housing Models

Residents could form a housing cooperative where each member owns a share. This model not only helps in distributing the cost but also in democratically managing the community, allowing residents to have a say in the decisions that affect their living environment.

3. Crowdfunding and Social Impact Bonds

Crowdfunding can raise initial capital to support the development of such communities, appealing to investors interested in social impact. Additionally, social impact bonds could be used to attract investment from those looking to achieve social returns on their investments.

4. Government Subsidies and Grants

Leveraging government programs for affordable housing can also be pivotal. Subsidies or grants can lower the cost of construction or offer tax incentives to encourage development in underserved areas.

Building Equity for Dwellers

Equity for dwellers is built through stable, affordable housing costs, and potentially through financial structures that allow for equity accumulation in their properties. The cooperative and CLT models ensure that any increase in property value benefits the residents and the community, rather than external investors.

Conclusion

By adopting and adapting the Brøndby Garden City model into a micro community format, there is significant potential to address housing issues in densely populated areas. This approach not only provides affordable housing but also enhances the quality of life, creates sustainable environments, and builds strong, supportive communities. Through careful planning, community involvement, and innovative funding strategies, micro communities can become a viable solution to the global housing crisis, offering a beacon of hope and a model for future development.


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