Saturday, February 19, 2011

Urban Homesteading

I have just finished reading the post from Canadian Doomer about the whole Urban Homestead "trademark" stew: "Urban Homestead NOT a Unique Trademark".

Just out of curiosity, I did a search of the Library of Congress titles list, for the exact term "urban homesteading" and found 57 titles, the oldest of which dates back to 1974.  Most of the titles were from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board which was established in New York City in 1974.  Are these people going to tell this organization that has been existence for the last 37 years that they are not entitled to use their duly registered name?

Why, even the meaning given to the phrase "urban homesteading" by the original legal users of that phrase has a complete different meaning:  "The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board was founded in the midst of New York City’s economic crisis of the 1970s.  While landlords abandoned their buildings en masse, the city found itself with over 11,000 buildings on hand and no idea what to do with them. UHAB became a voice for the residents living in those buildings – longtime New Yorkers who had no intention of leaving.

"Turning buildings over to the residents began as an experimental idea. But soon the city was convinced it could be sustained. The first year UHAB offered training in Harlem, 200 buildings learned how to cooperatively govern and operate their own buildings."

Furthermore, this term is in common usage, and has been since the early 1970's with a variety of meanings related to self reliance in an urban setting, and clearly is not eligible for trademark status.  Read Canadian Doomer's post.  And buy the books of those writers who are being victimized by the family who shall go unnamed and shall be shunned.  And keep on using the words Urban Homestead and Urban Homesteading.  It's your right!

The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series), 2008

Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living, 2011

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading, 2011


Canadian Doomer said...

Thanks for the mention and link. :)

If the family in question had left lines of communication open, I think the whole issue might have been dealt with.

In the end, what has happened - most of the homesteading/self-sufficient community has banded together and unified against a common enemy. It's wonderful to see. Go to Crunchy Chicken's Urban Homesteading "Blog Like a Pirate Day" to see hundreds of homesteading bloggers.

Anne said...

Amazing, isn't it? Totally insane they managed to get it trademarked. What blows is the other blogs, fb pages, books, etc. that got taken down were good reference materials as they actually shared how they got things done.

I first encountered the phrase "urban homestead" when I worked for a real estate office as a teen almost 20 years ago. Not a new concept, not a unique concept, and not something that can be used to an exclusivity IMO.

Although the upside is the response brought forward so many others (like Doomer who I found too!). By that which they sought to use to set themselves apart... instead has shed light and awareness of so many others. woot!