Alpha Farm Alpha Farm Alpha Farm is an intentional community of people who have chosen to live and work together to share a more harmonious way of living. At our home in rural western Oregon, we live the largely self-reliant style of a close-knit expanded family; we average 15 to 20 people, including singles, couples and families, and have ranged in age from infants to elderly. We also help others who wish to touch, in one way or another, the cooperative and whole-rounded way of living here. Many people write to us, and many also visit.
It also appears in English translation as courtyard houses and, less often, as Chinese quadrangles. History[ edit ] Siheyuan dates back as early as the Western Zhou period, and has a history of over 2, years. They exist all across China and are the template for most Chinese architectural styles.
Siheyuan also serves as a cultural symbol of Beijing and a window into its old ways of life.
Siheyuan today are typically used as housing complexes, hosting multiple families, with courtyards being developed to provide extra living space.
The living conditions in many siheyuan are quite poor, with very few having private toilets. In the s, systematic demolition of old urban buildings took place in Beijing under rapid economic development. Many siheyuan are being torn down to address the problem of overcrowding, and have been replaced by modern apartment blocks.
View of a section of a siheyuan neighborhood in Beijing The Mao Dun Memorial A gate into a siheyuan; the style of the gate indicates that it belongs to a lower-middle class urban family.
A traditional-style hotel in Beijing. Some of Beijing's historic siheyuans have been purchased and renovated by hotel chains and now function as hotels. A study by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in estimates that there are still aboutresidential courtyards remaining in Beijing.
For residential siheyuans in the Dongcheng and Xicheng districts inthe prices can go up to 40, yuan per square meter.
For siheyuans near the Houhai and Shichahai area, the prices can go up to betweenandyuan per square meter. These passages serve as shelters from the sunshine during the day, and provide a cool place to appreciate the view of the courtyard at night.
The entrance gate, usually painted vermilion and with copper door knockers on it, is usually at the southeastern corner. Normally, there is a screen wall Chinese: A pair of stone lions are often placed outside the gate. Some large siheyuan compounds would have two or more layers of courtyards and even private gardens attached to them.
Such is a sign of wealth and status in ancient times. The layout of a simple courtyard represents traditional Chinese morality and Confucian ethics. In Beijingfour buildings in a single courtyard receive different amounts of sunlight. The northern main building receives the most, thus serving as the living room and bedroom of the owner or head of the family.
The eastern and western side buildings receive less, and serve as the rooms for children or less important members of the family. The southern building receives the least sunlight, and usually functions as a reception room and the servants' dwelling, or where the family would gather to relax, eat or study.
The backside building is for unmarried daughters and female servants: A more detailed and further stratified Confucian order was followed in ancient China. The main house in the north was assigned to the eldest member of the family, i.
If the main house had enough rooms, a central room would serve as a shrine for ancestral worship. When the head of the household had concubines, the wife would reside in the room to the eastern end of the main house, while the concubines would reside in the room to the western end of the main house.
The eldest son of the family and his wife would reside in the eastern side house, while the younger son and his wife would reside in the western side house. If a grandson was fully grown, he would reside in the opposite house in the south.
Unmarried daughters would always reside in the backside building behind the main house. When a funeral is held in a siheyuan, the location of the casket depends on the status of the deceased, but all caskets are oriented so that the head of the deceased points south while the feet point north.
If the deceased is the head of the household or his wife, then the casket would be on the center line in the main house. If the deceased was the concubine of the head of the household, her casket would remain in the main house, but could not be in the center.
If the deceased is a younger male, then his casket is placed on the center line of the courtyard. If the deceased is a younger female, her casket is placed in the courtyard but cannot be on the center line. Though from antiquity, a siheyuan is a practically sound, engineered structure. Northwestern walls are usually higher than the other walls to protect the inside buildings from the harsh winds blowing across northern China in the winter.
Eaves curve downward, so that rainwater will flow along the curve rather than dropping straight down. The rooftop is ridged to provide shade in the summer while retaining warmth in the winter. A siheyuan offers space, comfort, quiet and privacy. Siheyuan walls provide security as well as protection against dust and storms.Seattle has an active alternative living scene and there are a wide variety of cooperative living arrangements available - so, if you want to live WITH people, you can probably find a place and group that works for you.
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The data for the Cohousing Directory is maintained by the Fellowship of Intentional Communities as part of the Communities Directory at webkandii.com Loneliness is a problem of epidemic proportions, affecting millions from all walks of life.
But while its roots are complex, remedies may be within reach. Living in cohousing, one thing I don't worry about is what my kids are up to in the neighborhood for hours at a time without me. They have been running in packs together since the age of four or five.