Are There Communities or Neighborhoods of Alternative Housing That I Can Join or Visit?

alternative housing community

People often wonder if there are alternatives to living in high-cost cities like San Francisco or New York. While it’s true that many people who don’t make enough money to afford a home elsewhere choose to live in those pricey locations, there are also alternatives. If you’re interested in alternative housing, you may wonder if there are communities or neighborhoods of alternative housing you can join or visit. 

The good news is that there are many such communities around the world. Communities offering alternatives to traditional homes, shared apartments, co-ops, and communities with alternative housing lifestyles exist everywhere. These communities may not be the right fit for you, but they’re a resource for those who need them. In this article, we’ll explore some communities and neighborhoods of alternative housing you can join or visit.

Find an affordable home in a more affordable city

If you’re not sure about alternative housing and just looking for cheaper traditional housing but housing prices in your city are making it hard to save for a home, consider moving to another part of the country. Communities in Texas, Arizona, and Southern California, or any city in the Midwest (except maybe Chicago) are often much more affordable than major metropolitan areas. 

Another option is relocating to a nearby state; for example, if you live in Colorado, you could try Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, or Nebraska. In some cases, moving far away from family and friends may be worth it to find a more affordable home. The only way to know if moving is financially feasible is to crunch your numbers and see if it’s a realistic option.

Join a co-housing community

Co-housing communities are intentional communities that emphasize community and partnership. In these communities, you often share a house with a group of people who live there full-time. Some co-housing communities are like extended family members who live together and share chores and responsibilities. Others are more like boarding houses where everyone lives together but keeps their rooms and tends to common areas. 

Living in a co-housing community typically pays less than in a regular apartment. The money goes towards common spaces like common kitchens, shared spaces, and management services. You may join a co-housing community if you’re interested in the way of life that’s more eco-friendly, sustainable, and blended with others. You may also want to join a co-housing community to try living with others with similar values. 

Co-housing may work for you if you’re a single professional looking for a low-cost place to live. Co-housing communities often have shared resources like tools, vehicles, and energy systems. Some of the most well-known co-housing communities include Songaia Co-housing in Washington State, EcoVillage at Ithaca in New York, and Our Home Co-housing in Massachusetts.

EcoVillage at Ithaca

Look for group rentals

Some cities have a growing community of people who live in group rentals. These short-term apartments may be managed by an online service, like Airbnb or VRBO. You can find group rentals in cities with significant tourist traffic, like New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orlando. You can stay in a group rental for as little as a few nights or as long as the rental period. 

If you want to stay in a group rental, you may be able to get a discounted rate if you live nearby. You may also be able to join a group rental community if you want to live with others in a shared home. Sometimes, a group rental can be a good option if you want to try living in a more affordable city and are OK with taking a reduced standard of living. Group rentals may not be a good option for long-term living or if you want a more traditional home with a yard and kitchen, and private areas.

Find local shared housing options

shared housing

Shared housing options in many cities allow you to rent a room or an entire house from a group of strangers. These options can be found on platforms like Couchsurfing and WeHost. You can find a variety of shared housing options on these platforms, from entire homes to rooms in someone’s home. Depending on where you live, some cities have a large group of people who share their homes as a way of life. 

You may be able to find someone who shares a lifestyle that’s similar to your own. And sharing a home with others can be a good option for those on a budget or traveling a lot. Shared homes are often cheaper than hotels or apartments and can be a good option for those who want to experience living with a diverse group of people who might bring different backgrounds and lifestyles to your own.

Explore other forms of alternative housing, like cottages, campgrounds, and yurts

If you want to try living more off the grid, there are a variety of options out there, including yurts, cottages, homesteads, and even treehouses. These can be great alternatives to housing if they’re legal in your area. Some people also choose to stay in camping and RV parks when they can’t find a cheaper option. Of course, none of these options are expensive, and they’re also a great way to experience off-the-grid living. 

Alternative housing communities


Ecovillages are intentional communities that aim to live harmoniously with nature while promoting sustainability and social harmony. Ecovillages are typically designed to be self-sufficient, with their own food, energy, and water systems. They often use alternative housing, such as tiny homes, yurts, or earthships. Ecovillages offer a range of activities and services, from organic farming and permaculture to yoga and meditation. Some of the most well-known ecovillages include Findhorn in Scotland, Damanhur in Italy, and Auroville in India.

Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland

Tiny House Communities 

Tiny house communities are communities of tiny homes that offer a sense of community and shared resources. Tiny houses are small, compact homes that are typically less than 400 square feet in size. They are often designed to be mobile and can be moved from one location to another. Tiny house communities often have communal spaces like gardens, kitchens, and recreation areas. Some of the most well-known tiny house communities include The Tiny House Village at Mt. Hood in Oregon, the Orlando Lakefront Tiny House Community in Florida, and the Tiny House Community in Bend, Oregon.

Mount Hood Tiny House Village
Orlando Lakefront at College Park

Earthship Communities 

Earthships are self-sustaining, off-grid homes made from natural and recycled materials like tires, glass bottles, and adobe. They are designed to be energy-efficient, with their own solar and wind power systems and water harvesting and treatment systems. Earthship communities are communities of earthships that offer a sense of community and shared resources. Some of the most well-known earthship communities include the Greater World Earthship Community in New Mexico and the Earthship Biotecture Academy in Taos, New Mexico.

Earthships – Taos New Mexico


Alternative housing is a growing movement that offers many opportunities for people to live sustainably and harmoniously with nature. There are many alternatives to living in high-cost cities, including renting or renting out an apartment, finding a low-cost community, or visiting a vacation rental website. Communities and neighborhoods of alternative housing, such as ecovillages, tiny house communities, earthship communities, and co-housing communities, offer a sense of community and shared resources. If you’re interested in alternative housing, consider visiting or joining one of these communities to learn more about sustainable living and to connect with like-minded people. You can find the community that best fits your needs and values with proper research and planning.


Eva is a freelance copywriter specializing in all things real estate, B2B, PropTech, ReTech, CRETech. Owning rental property herself, Eva's love of real estate has turned into a passion for alternative housing options and educating people about the different types of housing available.

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