OK, when I was in Russia (at 17 so a while ago...) I remember the dacha villages and this was a total revelation to me...what a fantastic idea. Now the word Dacha just means a summer home. But the villages I saw were so different than our idea of a summer cottage.
The cities were dead in the summer cuz everyone was at their dacha. I dont know why we dont do this in canada. the climate is similar and it suits our life style. Im always looking for ways that I can bridge my own and my husbands (especially) need for city ammenities (primarily employment) and my love of nature and country lifestyle. Im living in the burbs now, and trust me the "garden city" ideal doesn't work! Sorry to all those developers with billboards trying to convince us their suburb is the ideal combination of country and city dwelling - Garage city - no thankyou!
So, back to the Dacha. For those of you that dont know, its a dense little community driving distance outside of a major city. The village has small densly spaced lots that are long and thin so that a very small 'dacha house' doesnt take away from the land used for gardening.
People go to the dacha when ever it is warm enough and they dont have to work! They basically grow lots and lots of food. I've never seen such amazing gardens as I did in far -east russia on the boarder of siberia! you wouldnt believe it. And they preserve the food for winter.
Now granted, this system probably came about due to need for food, but with the planet shrinking and everyone's need for organic healthy food - even in richer nations, I think it makes more and more sense.
This may sound just like tonnes of work to you...but the atmosphere is what is attractive. the lots are small enough that you can talk to all your neighbours while planting potatoes. In the evening people go to each others houses, eat together, tell stories and sing into the night. Children help parents and play all over the village, learning how to work and play together. Idillic? I know.
OK, so there is no electricity, phones, TV's, central heating, etc etc etc, I know that these things are hard to get by without...but then, imagine... evenings of bug screened porches, where you hear the neighbours singing, reading your favorite book, or writing or practicing drawing, and actually talking with your spouse and neighbours, with dirt still in your nails and sun tanned shoulders...the smell of roses and fresh air ...ahhh, now thats the life!
This sense of community is totally foriegn in our world, but we crave it! And this way, people go back to the cities during the week, or winter, and live their private, cold and pavment filled lives...oh, how I wish I had a dacha!