Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Long House

I recently had an out of town speaking engagement in a populated area. Living in the country I rarely find myself among a large group of people. It takes some mental adjustment for me to meet with a large group. I start my adjustment period while driving through the suburbs where I can see houses and condos from the freeway. They are close together with small plots of land that rest behind fences. I think of all the work my land requires and how easy it would be to manage the postage stamp back yards behind these homes.

One item I find striking is the amount of roofs one can see from the freeway. It is indeed a petroleum product composition world out there. I see all those new condo roofs and realize that they will all need to be replaced within 20 years. What a shame. Pete Seger’s song, “Little Boxes” always comes to mind.

I wonder, if I had to live in a populated area, would I be able to stand the standard suburban house or condo? My answer is that I’d prefer not to, but what would I find acceptable? Then it came to me; Courtyard by Marriot.

If you’ve never stayed in one, they are usually large hotels with a courtyard in the center which is totally enclosed within the building. The courtyard is garden like with water features. There is usually a restaurant somewhere in the mimicked outdoors.

Upon further thought, consider a shopping mall. Imagine having a building like a big indoor shopping mall. Get rid of all the stupid mall shops like Victoria’s Secrets, Orange Julius, Pottery Barn and turn the shops into apartments. Sure some community shops can stay, but they would be normal community shops like a butcher, a baker, a market and a library. There would be a lot of natural light from above and indoor plants.

The advantages would be numerous, such as fewer building materials needed to accommodate all the homes and shops. This would use far less land than the equivalent shelter and shop space would require in a single dwelling neighborhood. Crime would be reduced if not totally eliminated. A sense of community would be enhanced. Energy could be saved. The environment can be controlled for recreation when it is hot, rainy or cold outdoors.

Think of the job you presently have. Would it be possible to have your place of work in this environment? Could the business you work for be head quartered in this environment? It probably could unless you work in transportation or in industry.

This building could have attached schools and a hospital. Everything could be under one roof.

No, I'm not planning on giving up the farm, but if for some reason I had to it just makes more sense to live in a community under one roof. Almost like a later version of a long house.

Just a thought.


Blogger Zoe said...

More a question than a comment here, have you read 'The Next Great Metropolis'?

6:29 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

No I haven't, Zoe. Does it build upon or shoot down my comments?

Hey kids, I'm on the road again, speaking out of town. I'm not sure if I'll be able to up load articles from the hotel where I will be staying, so if you don't hear from me again until Sunday, that's why.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Amaya said...

What about fresh air?

9:30 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Doors and windows, I'm not talking about a total bio dome. I have an hvac system in my house with an ionizer. The house smells like (when we aren't cooking) like the outdoors after a thunder storm.

Off I go, I'll try to check in later.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

People seem astounded when I tell them that, should my husband die before me, I'd sell our 43 acres. Horses and all. I don't drive, and I'd get along just fine as long as I had access to a bus line to transport me to a library and the few stores I need... and a place to walk outside every day. No mall-type living for me, though. An apartment where dogs are allowed would be fine. I can do without rubbing shoulders with humanity.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

It sort of builds upon the idea of community, mixed use neighborhoods and town squares, planning neighborhoods more as a community where everything you would need is in walking distance form your home, irradicating urban sprawl, that sort of thing.

12:00 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

It is an area where things can go wrong in the design. I was just thinking out loud.

Oh...connectivity. I'll be able to post.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

The trailer park works just fine for me!

6:53 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Places like this already exist. Wiith the possible exception of the hospital, Crystal City, in Arlington, Virginia, sounds like this sort of frightening science fiction utopia. There are people there who live like moles, rarely seeing real sunlight or breathing fresh air. Instead, they live by artificial light day in and day out. They go from their condominium to the workplace by tunnel, shop in underground stores and eat at equally uninviting restaurants. Then they return via elevator to their flats where they can observe the real world from on high. I'd rather be dead. Don't believe the bullshit about "sidewalk cafés" and "tree lined streets," people who live there resemble the living dead.

8:06 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I guess if I spend any more time at the computer I'll be considered the living dead as well.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Little Boxes" was written by Malvina Reynolds. She was a contemporary of Pete Seeger.

Love the blog. Read it every day.

Warwick Thom

5:17 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Thanks Thom. I was thinking of you and Deb just the other day. Actually I was thinking of deer ticks and your tales of east coast horror. Please tell Deb I said hi.

4:56 AM  

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