4. LIVING SPACES
While houses were built in harmony with their surroundings not so long ago, we mostly seem to have lost the feel for the quality of a place.
Even in terms of interpersonal relationships, the harmony between people and their environment is greatly reduced. Even the closest neighbors often no longer know each other and do not exchange their know-how, services or human warmth.
Most building materials are toxic – houses can all too often be classified as “hazardous waste”.
When planning new buildings, we seem to have forgotten about ecology – which means, in addition to other catastrophic side effects, the habitats of wild animals are also massively restricted.
Under the pressure of intensive
agriculture, prices for the surrounding land have risen, which makes it difficult for farmers of small organic farms to get access to agricultural land in order to set up their businesses.
NEW GREEN VILLAGES
Around existing town, new villages are emerging, where people are networking and working together. This may include a restructuring of existing villages – a “greening” of old building structures – or the ecological construction of new villages, whereby in each case the “genius loci” has to be worked out – the quality of this particular place in interaction with its surroundings and the human longing for beauty, as well as the geomantic characteristics of the place.
Here, communities of 100-150 people are formed. It is so pleasant to live in these eco-places connected with nature, with their paradise-like garden landscapes and loving neighbourhoods, that they attract a growing number of people who long for this harmony with themselves and the living beings around them.
Housing, development of potential (forest kindergartens, places of learning, etc.), work, culture and community take place in the neighbourhood. This strengthens the community, decentralises cities and at the same time also promotes quality of life,
saves time and money and reduces traffic.
The architecture with sustainable building materials takes into account the experiences of Feng-Shui, Wastu and healing geometry.
New buildings are constructed 100% according to ecological guidelines, as positive energy houses or at least with minimal energy consumption and maximum water efficiency. This also includes composting toilets.
For every new area built, an area of at least the same size is renaturalised, ensuring that at least the same biodiversity can thrive there.
The New Villages consider the healing of the Earth as well as the build-up of humus among their main tasks.
In and around these new villages, nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries are grown in healthy soil according to ecological guidelines, and then sold regionally or in the village’s own organic food shop.
Besides providing food, the fields also contribute significantly to the production of building materials like high-quality insulating materials such as hemp, flax and straw. If the geology of the land is suitable, the excavated material of buildings or a bathing lake can be used as earthen material for the construction of houses.
We propose that farmers make 5-20% of their agricultural land available to neighbourhood communities in exchange for rent or labour to grow crops, plant community gardens or keep animals.
Here In the new villages, people are trained to teach others about humus building, composting and organic farming. Medicinal herbs are also grown for the healing rooms and seminars are offered on how to make herbal medicine.
Springs and village fountains are considered special places that are made freely accessible to all and are specially maintained and constantly tested to guarantee the purity of the water.
Geomantic “power places” are valued and support us to unfold.
Forest areas adjacent to the village are serving as recreational and healing spaces for the people and are honored by them.
As much as possible is shared, such as communal work spaces, common spaces for meeting and cultural activities, agricultural equipment, tools, rarely used kitchen utensils, cars, etc.
People support each other, as was the case in the past, with harvesting work, building a barn, etc., thus forging bonds of fraternity and solidarity. Both here in the countryside in the villages and in the city, cooking and gardening groups are forming. The elders stay in the community. The children and young people learn from their rich experience and in turn inspire the adults.
To facilitate communication and administration within the village and the region,
the inhabitants are offered courses from the most successful communication methods – such as non-violent communication, holocracy, sociocracy, Viable System Model (VSM) or decision by consent – as well as courses on building a regional infrastructure.
The woofing principle makes it easy for people to work on organic farms around the world in exchange for room and board, to learn local farming methods and cultural characteristics, and to network.
It will be easy for people to start alternative housing projects – such as eco-communities, tiny house settlements – or to live in a nomadic way.
From now on we begin to intensively green our cities:
The old and new trees in cities filter toxic particulates, ensure a healthy microclimate, offer shade and provide oxygen. The leaves serve as a nutrient to build humus in the city. The root areas of existing trees are freed from asphalt and concrete.
“Urban gardening” transforms our cities into “edible cities”:
The cultivation of vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts and the keeping of bees within the city, as well as growing flowering meadows, are encouraged – be it in parks, in former industrial areas, in free urban spaces, in backyards, on roofs and balconies, on facades, in vertical or raised beds along wide sidewalks.
Urban composting is organized in the same way as recycling. Residents are trained and involved in maintenance resulting in joint projects such as a “cocott’arium” – a collective chicken coop for recycling leftover food, producing fresh eggs and creating social connections.
The large urban gardens contain their own restaurants or cafés offering fresh local and regional organic produce.
Residents of the city network with farmers to partner with them and supply themselves with the products that cannot be produced in the city.
In both, the city and the countryside, “consumers” and farmers form purchasing groups or what are called CSA communities – “Community Supported Agriculture” groups through which every farmer receives the fixed monthly amount from the community that they need to buy seeds, to till the fields, to harvest and process their produce and to be able to live well with their family and animals. In return, each member of the community receives a sufficient amount of seasonal produce.
Parents with large living spaces whose children have moved out and who are not already providing their living space for non-profit purposes – such as courses or conferences – are encouraged to rent their unoccupied living space to other people. In this way, new shared apartments can be formed.
Co-working spaces invite networking and offer pleasant workplaces.
In the city and in the country, places of encounter are formed, like“repair cafés” in which tinkerers or IT specialists repair broken devices or other things. Physical and digital “swap cafés” make it easier to find or pass on used items, books or clothes. Knowledge exchange networks facilitate the transfer of knowledge and the connection of global and local initiatives, as well as finding and working out solutions among like-minded people.
You can find well-developed bike paths everywhere as well as car-sharing initiatives for transport or trips to the country.
The villages of all regions are well connected to make their resources (means of production, talents) available to each other or to exchange them.
Emphasis is given to ensure that each region can secure food, energy supply, administrative matters and the basic needs of people.