Frequently Used Terms

Tiny houses (or microhouses) are the hallmark of the social movement sparked by Jay Shafer. Groups and businesses supporting the paradigm shift to “smaller is better” include Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, Small House Society, Small House Life, Bungalow To Go, Tortoise Shell Homes, Sidekick Homes, and many others. From Wikipedia: “The advantages of a small home exceed basic economics; such houses change the way people live and are attractive for people who want to lead a less cluttered and complicated life and reduce their ecological impact. The typical size of a small home seldom exceeds 500 square feet.”

Intentional communities are planned residential communities designed to emphasize teamwork and camaraderie. The members of the community typically hold a common social vision and may follow alternative lifestyles. They typically also share responsibilities and resources. Intentional communities include collective households, cohousing communities, ecovillages, communes, and cooperatives. There are many intentional communities in the Pacific NW and California, including 40th Avenue Cohousing, Cascadia Commons, Orca Landing, Ravensong Collective, and Yarrow Ecovillage.

Writers retreats and artists colonies flourish on the West Coast, due to the diversity of artistic communities. Poets, singers, painters, novelists, and techno-artisans (such as web designers and graphic artists) are found in abundance. Writers can attend retreats at the Oregon Writer’s Colony, Fishtrap, Hedgebrook, Artsmith, and Mesa Refuge. Fine artists can converge at the Pilchuck Glass School, Oregon School of Art and Craft, and Headlands Center for the Arts. Retreat centers offer a supportive atmosphere and (usually) housing for residents.

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