The Community of People -- Our Only Real Asset
Homes, money, income, livelihood, health, youth, enjoyment, control and a myriad of other illusory constants in our drastically changing world are neither secure nor are they stable. What we have taken for granted is now slipping away. All that is left is ourselves. We are all in this together.
In this series of essays, I will describe my vision of community in terms of the challenges and obstacles that generally afflict it. My goal is to assist the development of a meaningful alternative to the present non-functioning social structure of the western world.
Every community requires to be planned. As we all utilize transportation, we require roads. Roads are best designed before the community is constructed. Facilitating the ease of flow through the community and access to all the plots that will have homes is the goal. Alongside roads should be placed water and sewage lines, utility lines, communication lines and so on, to minimize the expenses of bringing services to the community. If the services procured from the outside world can be hooked up to one location and thus serve the entire community, it will make setting up new homes easier and less expensive.
Each community must consider the relative placement of houses on the plots to maximize the comfort of the residents and minimize the potential disturbances. Placement to the sun, drainage, privacy and protection are all important factors.
Even though it might be somewhat hard to do, having some codes or principles would be useful for attracting new members to the community. Sometimes people get upset by what their neighbors are doing and need some protection from those who are insensitive.
Not all homes are equal and the amount of money one can put into the design and construction of a home is often the main factor. However, with careful and innovative planning one can create a unique and fully functioning ecological home from common materials. Simply digging the home’s bottom floor into the North Face of a hill will help keep it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. I have seen innovative designs that have a grass garden roof that insulated the house wonderfully. Students have created homes that have liquid filled glass walls to capture the heat of the sun and use it to create hot water or to heat the home. By cycling this water in the summer it will also help keep the home cooler. Thicker walls made of solid materials reduces the effects of the elements. Using only natural materials reduces allergies, asthma, and a host of other problems now known to arise from the chemicals found in new homes, new rugs, and new materials.
There are many resources to be found on the internet that explain about the best methods to build “green” homes.