Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More on the Choice of Urban vs Rural

Mindful Echo shares the pros and cons of her current living situation.

Last week Eco Yogini shared the fabulous news of her new digs. I'm so happy for her and am totally jealous that she's getting to move someplace with so much outdoor space. I've moved around a lot (A.LOT.) and have lived in most types of environments; from suburbs to urban cores to student ghettos and beyond. I can say with absolute certainty that country living is my absolute favourite.

Being out in the country is my end game, but if we're talking about a real fantasy, I'd have all my like-minded friends out there with me....on the same land, with a communal garden and some chickens, taking turns with childcare and sharing meals....*sigh*

Unfortunately for me, it's going to be a while before I'm livin' the dream. In the meantime, my partner and I decided that our first home purchase would be urban as it fits best with our current lifestyle. In the bustling metropolis that is Halifax, Nova Scotia, urban living means being on the peninsula; that's where the downtown core is located. It's also fairly walkable and bike-ride-able, which is fortunate because my partner works close to the innermost edge of the peninsula and I work just off the highway on the interior - making ride-sharing impractical.

A couple of summers ago we bought a flat on the main level of a two storey house. It's technically a condo, which we share with tenants on the upper floor and one in the basement. It's an interesting set-up as the "condo corporation" consistent only of us, the inhabitants. We have semi-annual meetings to discuss repairs and divide labour, and we pay monthly condo fees to cover the costs of heating, upkeep, etc.

At first I was totally enamoured with this commune-style living. I absolutely adore the idea of sharing space and responsibilities with other families. Resource-sharing is a great way to build community as well as protect our gentle earth. I also love the idea of living in only the space we absolutely need and, although we have a decent amount of indoor space with just over 800 sq. ft., it's probably the minimum I could deal with for two people, two cats, and a dog.

As for the yard though, our outdoor space is tiny and forces us to take advantage of our local parks when we need green space. The bonus of a small lawn also means that we can make do with a manual push mower - no gas needed!

To be clear, despite the environmental benefits, this living situation is not for everyone. In fact, I'm often reminded that it's not really for me either. It didn't take long before my idealistic dreams withered away as I was awakened to scheduled yardwork, noise restrictions, and a grumpy downstairs neighbour. Still, I'm grateful for the opportunity to live small in the city.

How do your housing choices contribute or facility your green lifestyles? Feel free to share in the comments!


Gillian Wesley said...

Ideally for me - a little house with a big back yard (city or country doesn't matter THAT much right now for us). Something like this:!/0

Gillian Wesley said...

Ideally for me - a little house with a big back yard (city or country doesn't matter THAT much right now for us). Something like this:!/0

Christy said...

When I was younger and more idealistic I dreamt of communal living in an intentional community, like cohousing. As I've matured though, I realize that living that closely with other people would probably drive me batty. Now my ideal is to live on a rural property, rural as in a few acres, with a large garden, orchard, berry patch, and livestock, with the nearest neighbour close by but not in earshot or view.


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