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 cities, “New Villages” are emerging in which people connect and cooperate. This may include a restructuring of existing villages – an “ecologicalization” of old building structures – or the ecological construction of new villages, whereby working out the “genius loci” is a must – the quality of each place in interaction with its surroundings and the human longing for beauty, as well as its geomantic peculiarities. Architecture with sustainable building materials also incorporates the lessons learned from Feng Shui, Wastu and healing geometry.
New buildings are built 100% according to ecological guidelines with minimal energy consumption. This includes but is not limited to composting toilets.
For each newly built area, an area of at least the same size is renatured.
Here, communities of 100-150 people are formed. It is so pleasant to live in these natural eco-places and loving neighborhoods that they attract a growing number of people who long for this kind of harmony with themselves and the living beings around them.
Housing, development of potential, work, culture and community all take place in the neighborhood. This strengthens the community while simultaneously promoting quality of life, saving time and money and reducing traffic.
As much as possible is shared collectively, such as workspaces, communal rooms for encounters and cultural activities, agricultural equipment, tools, rarely used kitchen appliances, cars, etc.
People support each other again, as was the case in the past, with harvest work, building a barn, etc. and thus create bonds of community and solidarity. Both, in the countryside with its villages and in the cities, cooking and gardening communities are formed. The elderly are an integral part of the community and children and young people benefit from their wealth of experience.
In order to facilitate communication and administration within each community and region, residents are offered courses on the most successful communication methods – such as non-violent communication, holacracy, sociocracy or decision making by consent – as well as courses on building a regional infrastructure.
In these new villages, nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries are grown according to ecological guidelines and sold regionally.
People are trained to teach others about building up humus, composting and organic farming. Medicinal herbs for the healing centers are also grown and seminars offered on the production of herbal medicine.
We suggest that farmers allocate 5-20% of their agricultural land to neighboring communities – in exchange for rent or labor – in order for people to be able to grow crops, create community gardens or keep animals.
Springs are considered to be special places that are freely accessible to everyone. They are especially cared for and constantly tested to guarantee the purity of the water. Village fountains are cleaned before reopening.
According to the WWOOFing principle, it is easy for people all over the world to work on organic farms in exchange for food and lodging, to connect and learn about cultivation methods and local cultural peculiarities. Even within a country, people contribute their skills to the eco-communities in return for board and lodging.
It is made easy for people to set up alternative housing projects – such as eco-communities, tiny house settlements – or to live a nomadic life.
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 roots of existing trees are freed from tar 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 are encouraged – be it in parks, in former industrial areas, which are often located on very fertile soil, 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 produce.
City residents connect with farmers and agricultural communities,
to gain access to products that cannot be grown or 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, “repair cafés” are formed in which tinkerers or IT specialists repair broken devices or other things. Physical and digital “swap circles” make it easier to find or pass on used items. 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.
Each region is encouraged to secure the food and basic needs of the people as self-sufficiently as possible.