How to Build a Village
Book: How to Build a Village. Claude Lewenz.
"How to Build a Village is a handbook, a toolbox, and an opener to a larger conversation about how better to be in the world. Have 50 years of suburbs delivered on their promise? The book offers solutions to the problems facing modern suburbs through the design and construction of a different type of living arrangement; a Village founded on improving quality of life.
The Village differs from the suburban model of sprawling neighborhoods that necessitate a car to get to work and other amenities to describe human-scaled development, scaled at a friendly size for a human. Streets, buildings and the village grid are tailored to give those who live, work and play in and around them a feeling of intimacy, naturalness and safety. People remain the focus of the Village: they are its main resource and have priority. Emphasis is given to the construction of numerous plazas where people are able to gather, patterned on those in old Europe with cafe tables and local shops.
Significantly, if the Village is human-scaled then then it naturally becomes car-free. Streets designed for pedestrians are narrower; they follow the curve of the land and lead to places of interest. The focus becomes the journey as well as the destination." (http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/007385.html) (http://www.villageforum.com)
What are Parallel Villages
"Perhaps the key difference between what I propose in the book, and many of the ideas for 21st century habitat that we see is that between reacting to a negative, and moving forward toward a positive. Even “sustainability” is reacting to a negative, a bit like my mother constantly hounding me as a child to clean up my room. The problem was that even when clean, my room was boring, mediocre and uninspiring... Likewise much of our late 20th century habitat.
The primary driving force behind the parallel village is to create a wonderful place that all its inhabitants love. Enable people and communities to create a place that provides them both what they need and what they love. Note what is missing here… I did not include “what they want.” I want candy, I crave candy, but I suffer when I get it, because it is not good for me. We crave many things in life, yet when we get them, we do not find them fulfilling. In contrast when we get things we love, life moves to a higher plane… we describe it as full of joy, delight, happiness. When we pick fresh vegetables from our garden and eat them minutes later, I do not get the rush of candy, but something more sublime – a deeper pleasure that lasts… I am nourished. This is the difference with parallel villages. Its about fulfilment, not sustainability. Sustainable is a given, but not the goal.
If we can cause such places to come into being, it makes the developer’s life much easier, as naturally we can expect very high sales demand for such homes and workplaces – especially if we can make them affordable. In fact, for a number of reasons, we set out an expectation that before we begin a parallel village, we will know our buyers. We need them to participate in the design, but this has the side effect of assuring a low-risk development.
We do not propose banning cars because they are part of the problems of peak oil or global warming, but simply because one cannot have a human-scaled habitat when the car is paramount. Modern parents no longer tell their children to go outside and play because they risk being run over, or abducted by an anonymous predator driving through." (email, August 2008)
- A positive review from a conversative paper, at http://www.baconsrebellion.com/Issues08/04-07/Bacon.php