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.