Ryan Mitchell lives and breathes tiny houses. He has been running the popular website The Tiny Life for the past five years; is currently planning a tiny house conference for approximately 120 people in Charlotte, N.C., where he lives; and has written a book on tiny living that’s due to be published in July. To top it off, he recently finished construction on a tiny house of his very own.

Mitchell’s dream, however, is a community of tiny houses. When asked what that would look like, he describes a grouping of mini-cottages around a large communal structure, which would include space to have shared meals, shows, and workshops. “The community aspect is actually a big part of what we [tiny house enthusiasts] like,” says Mitchell. With The Tiny Life, Mitchell has created an online forum of sorts for tiny house enthusiasts from all over the world. He wants to bring that community out of the virtual sphere and into the physical one.

How idyllic! But as Mitchell has learned firsthand, building a tiny house community from scratch is not as simple as it seems. Local building and zoning restrictions, not to mention securing startup money to buy land, are just a few of the obstacles to achieving a cottage-laden utopia.