Abby Quillen

Hi. I’m Abby Quillen. I’m a freelance writer, and I live in Eugene, Oregon with my husband, son, three cats, and four chickens. I started New Urban Habitat in March of 2009.

New Urban Habitat is a blog about simple, healthy, and sustainable city living with researched articles, tips, and personal essays.

What’s the New Urban Habitat?

Several decades ago, a bunch of folks moved out to the country with dreams of achieving self-sufficiency. Quite a few of them were inspired by the likes of Helen and Scott Nearing.

Well, we’re a new generation of homesteaders. We’ve got stacks of dog-eared Mother Earth News and Foxfire Books stowed on our bookshelves. But we’re young, hip, and urban. We’ve ditched the pickup for the bicycle cart and swapped isolated acres of tilth for backyard raised beds and apartment-deck container gardens.

We’re learning to grow organic veggies, raise hens in our back yards, pack our pantries with preserves, bake bread, sew quilts, knit, crochet, build things, tell stories, and play instruments. We brew beer in our spare rooms, ferment sourdough in the back of our refrigerators, concoct wines and vinegar, and treat our ailments with the plants growing outside our back doors. A few of us even have babies in our living rooms.

We’re connected to the natural world, the seasons, and the fruits of our own labors. And the best part is, we live within walking distance of farmers’ markets, bike paths, health food stores, libraries, cultural events, and each other – and we love it. It’s the New Urban Habitat.


You’ll find articles here about topics such as:

  • Backyard chickens
  • Family life
  • Simple living
  • Natural parenting
  • Organic gardening
  • Health
  • Whole-foods cooking
  • Car-free living
  • Homelife

I’m also interested in broader social movements, particularly New Urbanism – a planning movement aimed at retrofitting suburbia and building less car-dependent, more livable cities.