Pass the Olives

Jumbled Opinions on Living, Democracy, and Making Things

Category: Strong Neighborhoods

Combining my experience with living in strong neighborhoods, weak neighborhoods, cohousing, condominiums, dorms, and big buildings with what I have learned and am still trying to learn from socioeconomic protest and organization, I’ve set about to explore what makes strong neighborhoods. The focus on neighborhoods is because that is where people have the most to gain or lose on a daily basis. It is immediate and known. Understanding organization has to start there.

80 Billion Pounds of Wasted Food

A note that says by reading this text instead of viewing a photo, you .are saving .2 grams of carbon emissions.

Over Buying Food Means Wasted Food The latest news, after the war in Ukraine, is the 80 billion pounds of wasted food that Americans produce every year. 22% of the space in our municipal landfills is used to bury wasted food. 37 million cars would be necessary to produce the carbon emissions produced to grow wasted food. 242 pounds of food is wasted by or on behalf of each American […]

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Am I an Anarchist?

Book cover. The Democracy Project.

I woke up this morning wondering, “Am I an anarchist?” Of all the things I might have awakened wondering, this would have never made the list. It took a second to remember what an anarchist was, and another to remember why I would be thinking about it. As usual, I had been awake at 3 am reading instead of sleeping. Following the Dawn of Everything, it was David Graeber’s history […]

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Understanding Construction Is Comforting

Some days just begin themselves. Today Elon Musk inspired my daughter to look up the Boxabl homes because he is living in one (probably only a few hours a week but still). She emailed me to see if I had heard of them. A Boxabl is a prefabricated 375 SF finished house that costs under $50,000, is shipped folded flat, and then unfolded and installed in less than an hour […]

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Missing Middle Pattern Book

The Missing Middle Pattern Book contains free plans for flexible and affordable housing that will be preapproved for building in Norfolk Virginia. This option opening in Virginia is an opportunity that you can use to convince local city councils and zoning boards to approve a wider range of housing types. If you have an example of a plan that is working and can demonstrate that another city is benefiting from […]

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Man Digs Home in Mountain

Man Digs Home in Mountain and is proof again that spending a Saturday morning browsing YouTube videos can be relaxing, exciting, and rewarding. After watching “Mr. Tiger Builds Cave House,” I truly believe that I could build such a house—if I had a mountain. A 15-minute well-edited video of Mr. Tiger with all manner of electric tools (where is his energy source?) carving a home out of the side of […]

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Tiny House State Guides

The Tiny House State Guides by  The Tiny Life contain local information for specific states, counties, and cities that is relevant to small houses. So far they have Tiny House Guides for: Arizona California Colorado Florida North Carolina Oregon South Carolina Texas Washington Each webpage and ebook contains information about the legality of Tiny Houses, the most friendly cities, a list with descriptions of Tiny House builders, the price ranges of […]

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Home Depot Architecture in Detroit

“Home Depot Architecture: How one developer is turning farm storage into sleek apartments” in this week’s Fast Company is a quick look at an inspiring architectural project going up in Detroit. Since Detroit was devastated first by the almost total decline of American auto manufacturing and then by the lead in the city water scandal the city has been in physical decline for years. It needs new ideas to rebuild. […]

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Remember Cottages?

Just hearing the word cottages brings back memories of wandering along boardwalks through a maze of small Victorian cottages on Fire Island to go to the ocean. Or a New Jersey beach with little houses tucked away in the sand dunes, some photogenically falling down. Enclaves of brightly colored little fairy cottages all in a row near the beach. Or chaotic assemblages near lakes and streams where families have built compounds over […]

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Beautiful McClendon Tiny House for $100,000

A beautiful McClendon Tiny House for $100,000 that is simple and not tricked out with super expensive custom features. Taylor McClendon and Michaella McClendon were all set up to develop their destination wedding business in Hawaii when the Pandemic hit wiping out both destinations and weddings. Having time on their hands they decided to build their dream home. And did. And now they are selling plans and offering to build the […]

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Converting a Bed and Breakfast

Converting a bed and breakfast to cohousing will provide instant living space for early joiners and land to add clusters of tiny houses or a new wing. Wow! How? How do you find a Bed and Breakfast for sale? You can drive around town and see what’s out there or you can call your friends who travel a lot. Or you can go to and find more information than […]

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