Permaculturing Occupy

House-Free Commons
Urban Habitat for the House-Free

This initiative permanently addresses the social and shelter requirements of house-free young adults occupying Eugene's urban environment. The young adult is a growing sector of the homeless/ houseless population. Within this sector there is a visible and active "house-free" subgroup. While claiming the need and the right to assemble and associate, they disavow needing to be housed at all. They are not homeless, houseless or unhoused, they are house-free, and recognizable as 'cultural creatives' whose ongoing house-free experience has become an important harbinger to our urban society in middle-class descent. In light of the economic transition that's now begun we acknowledge the house-free young adult, having successfully shed the cultural fantasy of the over-housed, as a crucial early-adapter asset to our civil society going forward.

Further, an established Commons will begin addressing an even greater challenge, that of our city's economy being overly monetized and consumerist. In this regard the House-Free Commons proposes to mature and steward the young and houseless experience toward the rapid infusion of natural and restorative economies into our local and bioregional communities. In this vision Eugene is underway to becoming a renowned eco-society, a tourable hotbed of the social innovations that a deepening green future requires. The house-free are well positioned to pioneer this emergent sharing and commons-based economy and its way of life.

Even while being distinctly forward looking this initiative offers an expenditure benign, culturally poised and unique bipartisan direction to houseless reintegration here in our particular city. It is decidedly not about building a "homeless camp", it is about re-animating the Commons with house-free stewardship neighborhoods as a necessary best first use of those commons.

We therefore call upon the City of Eugene to allow for the prompt and steady establishment of a network of eight Community Supported Shelters campus sites throughout the city. Wherein each and every city ward will internally and carefully select a permanent site through the agency of resident actionists within their own ward. These sites taken together are to be a Commons. There would be no homelessness if there where a Commons. The need to begin appears urgent.

Some details of a first-use house-free commons as neighborhood:

Each 15 to 30 person neighborhood will be comprised of members from each of these groups:

The Permaculture Community: The local permaculture community will design and raise each campus through already established alliances and local workshop parties. Within the local permaculture community there are numerous individuals, young and older, who have grown suspicious of the financial and ecological sustainability of their housing and are looking to transition to a truly sustainable shelter system. The project itself becoming a local and global permaculture attractor.

House-Free Young Adults:
Will comprise up to half the neighborhood population and be asked and guided to become administrator/stewards of the neighborhood Commons.

NextGEN Ambassadors and Green Nomads: A growing group of often certified earth conscious worker philosophers who are willing to gift exchange their skills to earth-worthy and social justice projects. Having a global eco-village perspective they are often nomadic and house-free. We ask them to maintain the campus through well established wwoofing work trade arrangements. They are willing teachers as well.

In-Ward Resident Actionists:
Neighborhood and ward citizenry will steward their district campus-to-be through local political initiative. As the national energy and economic transition deepens each campus will offer much to the ward's neighborhoods in the way of practical demonstrations of emerging economies and green innovation. Becoming seasonally house-free will increasingly suit the transitional needs of numerous ward residents.
      A house-free neighborhood will demonstrate:

      An established campus is to be:
  • An off-grid and zero waste community 
  • An incubator for the new and sharing economies  
  • Bicycle oriented and pedal powered
  • An "indefinite sustainability" campus and council for the greater neighborhood
Some Project Directions:

To construct a social charter claiming the urban houseless experience as a 'common pool resource' and develop the trusts to define our role in the global commons.

To establish the community model for a city wide eco-social shelter system. 

To form enduring associations with Community Supported Shelter and the City Repair Project.

To acquire an urban One Planet zoning determination as we await global commons arrangements to take form.

To achieve food sovereignty through nearby neighborhood yardsharing outreach, avant gardeners, CSA alliances, city community gardens, co-operative gleaning and urban foraging initiatives, outlier bean and grain farming and on-site aquaponics.


Building further upon the OccupyEugene camp experience of 2011, the House-Free Commons Project offers a dynamic social model that holistically meets the needs of the rising house-free sector of the houseless population. 

Using permaculture principles and green nomadic skills each campus is to have a minimally built infrastructure consisting of the basic shared utilities required for safe group assembly and sustainable sanitation.

It is both an immediate and deep, long-term solution.

Of equal purpose for each campus is to promptly offer every young resident of the City of Eugene an 'eco-social classroom' for acquiring authentic experiential knowledge of 'sustainability', both socially and structurally. The importance of this opportunity is not to be under-estimated as we move together into the transitional era of peaked oil, post money and climate instability. 

The Commons offers great hope for the future, providing practical, effective forms of governance and resource management that can address the growing failures of both the fundamentalist market order and our centralized, hierarchical institutions.

If you would like to see this happen in Eugene, 
Ready, set, go!
Jan 2012