A more modest real estate footprint, according to online tiny house enthusiasts, can appeal to everyone from debt-saddled graduates and recent retirees to those who simply want to leave less of an environmental impact.

Alternative housing options are not new to the upstate New York region. EcoVillage Ithaca, which was founded more than two decades ago, has grown into three co-housing neighborhoods with over 200 homeowners and renters dedicated to sustainability and collective living. The Aurora Street Pocket Neighborhood, also in Ithaca, is an “urban ecovillage” which features net zero energy buildings clustered on cooperatively-owned parcels.

Offering a more rustic experience, White Hawk Village is a “homesteading village” with permaculture gardens and farm animals located just outside of Ithaca. Second Wind Village, in Newfield, is a non-profit, small cottage community developed as transitional housing for formerly homeless men.