I always thought of urban homesteading as people squatting in abandoned buildings, making improvements, and generally acting as if they were responsible for the place long enough that the government allowed them to take ownership.
According to wikipedia, it can actually mean a variety of things, including self sufficient urban agriculture, and government programs to get people to move into houses in the city.
All of these definitions seem in general to be positive, heroic actions, which is why it is a shame that I read on the EFF website about a trademark dispute with the Dervaes Institute about this phrase.
The Institute has managed to trademark this term, despite its common use in many settings for quite some time, and then used take-down notices on Facebook and other sites to prevent other people from using this term.
Considering how widespread and common the term is, this seems completely ridiculous. For example, see this books:
- The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living
- The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City
- Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living
Today is the Urban Homesteaders Day of Action, to protest the Dervaes Institute’s attempt to commandeer this phrase.