On Saturday 15 July a large group of people gathered in the Darlington Hall to listen to and discuss co-operative housing in the Perth Hills. We are experiencing growing interest in more community oriented, sustainable and affordable housing, also in this area. With two to three opportunities in Greenmount it was a good time to get together and gauge interest in concrete sites and projects. The response was overwhelming, nearly 90 people rsvp-ed and 50-60 came along on a cold, rainy winters day.
An entire village of earthships sounds like a dream, but it nearly became reality in a small village in the eastern part of The Netherlands called Olst. Twelve of the 24 buildings have tyre walls, filled with rammed earth, supporting the roof. The other 12 buildings are built with a wood frame supporting the roof and straw bale walls.
When I heard about the project I was of course curious to see what it looked like and, being aware of the many challenges earthship projects face, was interested to find out how they did it.
During a visit to The Netherlands I had the opportunity to visit and speak with two of the founders.
In May this year I was fortunate to visit Iewan, the largest straw bale social housing project in The Netherlands. My in-laws had sent me a flyer about the project some time ago. I stuck it on the wall in my home office. What inspired me was not just that it was largely built with straw, or that it was a social and affordable housing project, but that it was partly built by future residents and a large number of volunteers.
Iewan is a housing co-operative in the Netherlands consisting of 24 apartments, each with their own kitchen and bathroom. There are homes for single and two person households, and also homes for group living and families.
The Fremantle Council has announced the introduction of a Baugruppen demonstration project.
The idea is based on a German model of housing development, allowing buyers to bypass developers and create tailor-made apartments. The council is selling off 7 Quarry Street in Fremantle, a 1,477-square-metre block close to Fremantle Park and the central shopping district and next door to a child care centre.
The council is seeking Expressions of Interest from groups of prospective buyers who want to collectively build without the involvement of property developers or real estate agents to show their interest.