Urban Homesteading

urban homesteading

​Summary: Urban Homesteading

Urban homesteading means different things to different people. It might focus on several unique issues: services by local, state, and federal agencies in the United States which try to assist folks back into urban houses, squatting, applying urban agriculture, or practicing eco-friendly living techniques.

For the purpose of this website urban homesteading refers to legally occupied premises in which the owner uses everything in his means to reduce their exposure to the negative effects of urban dwelling. Instead, the urban homesteader, “goes off the grid” in terms of food, utility, and mortgage payments using legal means at his disposal.

urban homesteading

Urban homesteading and affordable housing

Urban American cities, for example New York City, used plans of urban homesteading to stimulate people to undertake and repair empty houses. Guidelines by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development permitted government held houses to be offered to homesteaders for minimal amounts as little as $1, funded normally by the state, and assessed after a one-year timeframe.

Homesteading is put to use in Detroit, but as of 2013 zoning legislation do not allow such undertaking in spite of talk to motivate more urban farming and battle the diminishing population.

Urban homesteading and agriculture

As outlined by UC-Davis, "an urban homestead is a household that produces a significant part of the food, including produce and livestock, consumed by its residents. This is typically associated with residents' desire to live in a more environmentally conscious manner."

Aspects of urban homesteading include

urban gardening
  • Resource reduction: using solar/alternative energy sources, harvesting rainwater, using greywater, line drying clothes, using alternative transportation such as bicycles and buses
  • Raising animals, including chickens, goats, rabbits, fish, worms, and/or bees
  • Edible landscaping: growing fruit, vegetables, culinary and medicinal plants, converting lawns into gardens.
  • Sufficient living: re-using, repairing, and recycling items; homemade products.
  • Food preservation including canning, drying, freezing, cheese-making, and fermenting.
  • Community food-sourcing such as foraging, gleaning, and trading.
  • Natural building.
  • Composting

Urban homesteading methods will often clash with existing city zoning restrictions and homeowner's association by-laws.

Urban homesteading is related to urban agriculture. Urban Homesteading might also be known as Backyard Homesteading and Hobby Farming.


Squatting is the action of living in an deserted or vacant portion of land-or a building, generally residential, that the squatter doesn't own, rent or otherwise have legitimate approval to use.


Author Robert Neuwirth suggested in 2004 that there were one billion squatters internationally. He predicts you will see two billion by 2030 and three billion by 2050.

However, according to Kesia Reeve, "squatting is largely absent from policy and academic debate and is rarely conceptualised, as a problem, as a symptom, or as a social or housing movement."

Squatting might also be linked to, and used by, political movements, such as Occupy Wall Street. Squatting by necessity is in itself a governmental concern, consequently another "statement" or rather a 'response' to the political process creating it.

Throughout the global economic downturn and heightened real estate foreclosures in the 2000s, squatting became much more common in Western, developed nations.

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