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In Brittany, these wooden houses cost between 12,000 and 15,000 euros

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In the heart of the village of Saint-André-des-Eaux, in the Côtes-d’Armor (22) drowned in the spring greenery, several wooden houses: welcome to the hamlet of Placis, habitat of a new type which wants to be shared , accessible to all and integrating climate change. Round glasses, blond hair, Xavier Gisserot, barely 30 years old, is one of the designers of this associative project, one of the ambitions of which is also to support municipalities in search of alternatives to housing estates. «One of the ideas for us is to lower the constrained costs of living, such as housing and energy, charges that often prevent people from carrying out projects as they would like.“, explains the thirty-something.

Here, everyone designs their house as they see fit, in the spirit of the hamlet, but no one owns their land: it is rented to the municipality, up to 50 euros/month per house, in the frame of a emphyteutic lease, a long-term real estate rental contract, here for 80 years. The cost of the majority of houses, mostly self-built, is between 12,000 and 15,000 euros, with an average footprint of 20m², a little more with a mezzanine.

It is also «to have the lowest possible ecological impact, at all levels« : foundations «that do not waterproof the floor(on piles, on tires) to be able to return it to nature (principle of reversibility), construction materials with low carbon impact (wood, hemp, earth, etc.), even recycling (frames, for example ), efficient energy (wood, solar panels), water recovery, sanitation by phyto-purification, etc… To compensate for the modest surface area of ​​the houses, a common building includes a laundry room, a large hall for parties, a few bedrooms for passing guests.

A rent of 5000 euros per year

Although he was the one who contacted the association, the mayor acknowledges that at the start the municipal council was «share« . «Some already saw yurts, a village of beatniks… The fear of the other coming. Like any innovative project, it’s legitimate, it raises questions», justifies Jean-Louis Nogues. Balance sheet: “It cost the municipality nothing in terms of servicing or roads. We receive a rent of 5000 euros per year, we have eight houses and new inhabitants. In addition, we have kept two beautiful oak embankments that had to be razed if we had built an ordinary housing estate as planned”. And, as a bonus, “coffee and groceries are running again”, rejoices the elected official, farmer “in conventional“, he specifies. From 270 inhabitants ten years ago, the village is «almost gone to 400 today“, welcomes Mr. Nogues.

Nolwenn Le Nir, 29, has “designed all the plans» of its cozy interior: a single space with a kitchen area, a rest area, a shower currently being installed. «So far I’ve had it for 13,000 euros« , she says. Originally from Grenoble, the young woman had «desire to slow down, to live in a rural environment« . She passed the second confinement with the association and is «never left“, she says, seduced by”shared governance, solidarity and mutual aid« . Graphic designer, she is currently preparing a CAP de cuisine and participates as «full time volunteer» to the construction of the common building. «I have fewer economic needs. I prefer to use my time and my energy elsewhere than in work (employee). This is what I want to give myself« .

The social mixis at the heart of the project», assures Xavier Gisserot. «We have a great diversity of profiles and incomes« . Many 25/35 year olds looking for “a way of life that corresponds to their values« but also of »future or young retirees who are looking for a setting where they will be able to age well socially and reduce their expenses« . The association, which employs around ten people, currently supports around ten municipalities, most of them in Brittany. «This aspect of sobriety, to live with less (…), it is a way of life which allows freedom, it is a lever of emancipation. In 10 or 20 years, it will certainly be more developed“, anticipates Xavier Gisserot.

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