by Sandy Baine
Urban homesteading today is a new spin on an old idea. In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Homestead Act, which basically gave an opportunity to regular folks to stake out a claim on a piece of land, at least 160 acres. One of the criteria was that they were to improve the land, which would often mean building a home and working the land. The work done on the land typically gave the new land owner the ability to be self sufficient, in addition to providing products or services for market.
Over the course of 126 years, 1.6 million homesteads were granted. While urban homesteading today does not allow for the receipt of free land, it does follow the tenants of developing the land toward a less depe….