Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Open Source Housing

The idea of sharing is palatable enough for things like power tools and even cars, but our homes? Like underwear and teeth retainers, homes are the kind of things that are best when they have clear lines of possessions. Not so says Embassy Networks in San Francisco. Just like ZipCar allows you to pick up a car whenever and wherever you need it, Embassy wants to create a network where you can find your home in much the same way. This is how Embassy describes their vision:

We see a nascent model of housing emerging in a new generation of community houses around the globe. It is a model based on intention, creativity, sharing, and travel. A network of houses, connected together by members who flow freely between locations.

The project is quite a bit like co-housing for hackers–a population for whom transparency and sharing are sacred virtues. All house members have public profiles with links to their Facebook, Twitter and professional pages on Embassy’s homepage. The public is invited to attend and even organize salons, concerts and other events at the space. The house has an open invitation for guests, who are encouraged to mingle with fulltime residents. This permeability and transparency would be essential should Embassy grow beyond one house (it takes one bad apple to spoil the whole system).

Right now the Embassy Network is more of an Embassy Cell with only one house in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood (pictured above). But we think the idea has a lot of promise: A huge network of homes for our more flexible, mobile generation. Similar to ZipCar, which enables you to rent cars you might not want to own, the housing network would permit you to live in places you might not want to live in fulltime. For example, you could experiment by living in Fargo, North Dakota just to try it on (for the record, Fargo is a delightful place).

White picket fences it is not (though that could be an option). But what you trade in individualization and privacy could be more than compensated by a dynamic, lightweight and inspiring living experience.

  • Marrena

    Isn’t condo timesharing still around? How is this different?

    • Soundovertime

      Having spent some time there on a trip late last year, I can say it’s pretty different! Much more social – you actually meet people – and these people are all cool and smart…not to mention they have a bowling alley in the basement!

  • aklinda

    How about an RV? Home is where you park it.

  • Monica

    My parents have traded houses for over 30 years. My siblings have continued the tradition with our own families. Many vacations were spent in others homes (in all parts of the world) as they stayed in ours. It’s been an enriching experience because its allowed us to lived like locals. You treat their home as you want them to treat yours. It works because both parties are at equal “risk.” The key is good communication and preparation.

    Today for those who’s jobs can bee done mainly via the internet you could arrange a series of city to city, country country trades and see the world while you work!

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