Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Thinking About Where to Start Designing A House


the future will be a little


We will need to be too.

I work in public transit. I do this because it pays the bills, but equally important, I do believe in it. So, I sort of naturally want to start exploring what a good house is by exploring my interest in all aspects of moving people about from more or less sustainable house to hopefully sustainable workplace and back. Without spiraling off into another subject altogether, how will streets, bus stops, train stations, bike paths and autogiro pads look and work in communities of the near future. I'd like to examine how personal and public assets could be thought of and treated in a more civicly responsible manner first, the decide on the house.

An holistic solution to current housing problems, throughout the world, would start with an acceptance of the real estate dictum that the value of housing really is all about "location, location, location", but redefine the meanings of "location" and "value". City cores become over-valued for housing, forcing those who depend on work in them to locate further and further away - To the places where "there is no there there". To the endless sprawl of modern cities' suburbs and shantytowns. What if it were possible for people to live closer to the places they work?

What would happen if public transportation were so good that no urban dweller needed a car? Would people then be willing to pay a significant portion of the money they no longer need to spend to own and maintain a car on taxes or fares sufficient sustain public transport and alternative infrastructures? Would they appreciate the cleaner air and greener and improved health of their city enough to offset the loss of that womb-like privacy of traveling in a personal car?

I'd like to find out if streets are even necessary. In terms of the total expenditure of energy, time and road usage, would it be better to deliver groceries and other necessities door to door rather than via millions of inefficient, random and often rambling shopping trips by individual house-holders? As it is, millions upon millions of people in North American and European suburbs cannot buy a loaf of bread or a litre of milk without getting into their car to drive to the store and millions of shantytown dwellers need to walk half a day to get a day's supply of water.

I appreciate that some of this may not be what comes to mind in a project to design a better house... But even a perfect house must exist within a community, and to achieve it's potential, it may be necessary to redesign the community, including the complete infrastructure in order to maximize the potential of one house.

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