HENRY DAVID THOREAU was an American author and philosopher living in the 19th century.
His belief in simplicity, living within ones means and self-reliance compelled him to leave his hometown of Concord and spend several solitary years in the woods adjacent to Lake Walden. There, he lived in a hut he built himself with materials he could readily afford. He subsisted off produce he either planted himself or hunted in the adjacent woods and lake.
Through these simple means, he freed himself from the financial burdens of shelter and food, and was able to spend his time pursuing what he believed a more meaningful and fulfilling way of life.
It is his practical application of simple living that inspires us to create appropriate and generous housing options at a sensible price.
Thoreau has said: "The cost of a thing is what I will call life that is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run." Australia has one of the most unaffordable housing markets in the world: we are locked into home loans for a 30 year period, making life decisions based on what can sustain those mortgage repayments. We need to acknowledge that the currency that we as Australians exchange for home ownership is actually quality of life. At The Henry Project, we ask: "Is that really an acceptable exchange?"
Our answer is a resounding "No". The co-ownership method we favour allows a wider range of individuals access to home ownership, and to reap the financial, social and environmental benefits of more efficient, affordable housing.