Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Thursday, July 28, 2005

First look at a possible Home of the Future

I toured a large home last night. It's not been cared for, for a while, but it's pretty sound. It would be perfect to share with another family (or two!) and still have room to to have a sustainability showcase/seminar room/"green" office. The yard is large enough to show native plantings and backyard habitat ideas. It could be a meeting place for promoting urban infill as well as social justice issues. I've got to get in front of the multi-family programs manager over at They've got a need to promote multi-family solutions to resource reduction and recycling, and I've got a need to have a powerful backer.

Wow, can you imagine having a space that showed, in use, all the good, resource friendly stuff that we've been inventing? And yet felt "normal" and achievable by the average person? That's what this is about: to create a demonstrator for people to come and experience so they can say to themselves, "Yes, I can see that small changes in my lifestyle make big changes in saving the world."

A while back, I illustrated ideas about the sorts of things a visitor would find at the "Home of the Future." From permeable hardscape to solar panels, from non-violence training to food prep using "live" food, people would not only come and experience, but also explore and offer better solutions to use in their own lives and the lives of all of us. They'll leave with resources to find their own architect, green builder, sustainable landscaper, gray water plumber, or whatever they feel is most important to solve in their corner of the world.

My wife wants a place she can call her "own," even if it's a private space within a larger building, my daughter wants room to have friends over, and my son wants to be able to have a rabbit. For me, I have to solve how to shelter my family without contributing to Sprawl. This means finding an abused home like this one, retrofitting it "green," and then opening up part of it to the general public so what we learn is disseminated.

I am eager to assemble the team of people who will go on this journey with me. The wavefront I've initiated hasn't collapsed to reveal the chosen path yet. However, people are already letting me know that I've inspired different choices in their own lives; choices that honor their own carrying capacity, or use fewer resources to get the same job done, or with an awareness of the end-of-life for a product. In an important way, then, this project is already bearing fruit.


  1. This is an awesome vision. I've done lots of communal housing with rental housing and have rented to others in our house, but this is bigger. In Thailand my relatives live quite happily in one house with four generations. Everyone has their own apartment within the house.

  2. You've certainly experimented with (been exposed to) a few types of housing! Thank you for writing them here.

    I like the apartment within the house plan for an extended family. When my daughter was born, my wife started right away telling her to get ready to move out in 18 years; How much sense is that, I wondered? So now after years of gentle persuasion, I think the door is open for an extended family situation of our own.

    Westerners are learning just how abusive amd unrealistic the 50s "nuclear family detached home" is. Hopefully I can be part of the process of weaning our society from that model.

  3. And Amanda: thank you for the positive changes you bring to the world, too.