Norway’s Land Reform of 1859 was like America’s Land Ordinance of 1785 — planning based on surveys and private property, not around the land itself and community. Its a good time to revisit! – Ross Chapin

The image, a painting by Nikolai Astrup named “Soleinatt”, is from a Norwegian “klyngetun”. In Western and Southern Norway farmers lived in “klyngetun”, these were smaller than villages, more like “pocket neighborhoods”. “Klyngetun” were to be found in those parts where farming was some difficult, and people relied more on each other. This was a common way of life until the land reform of 1859, which was a forced reform by the governments. It was inspired from the American settlers and their philosophy, which again was developed from the philosophy of John Locke. After the reform of 1859 these “klyngetun” were banned, and all farmers should have single family farms, not taking care of the land as part of a community.

Mads Langnes at the University of Bergen has written a thesis about how this reform of 1859 took place, and how it ended our proud tradition of “klyngetun”, which in fact were like small ecovillages. You can read an article about Langnes’ thesis in Norwegian here:

– Jordreform endret landskapet (Land reform changed the landscape)

The original thesis might well be written in English, and if somebody should find interest in learning more about the ancient tradition of the Norwegian “klyngetun”, you should contact Mads Langnes and the University of Bergen in Western Norway.

The journalist Eva Røyrane together with photographer Oddleiv Apneseth are currently working on a book about the Norwegian “klyngetun”. The book will be published at Skald forlag.

My hope is that Norway can regain our proud tradition of “klyngetun”, combining old traditions with new knowledge and solutions, as developed by the brilliant Ross Chapin Architects.

The ancient Norwegian “klyngetun” and the modern pocket neighborhood have a lot in common.

Episode 47 – CNU25. Seattle: Pocket Neighborhoods Tour from Active Towns Initiative on Vimeo.


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