Parallel Villages

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= central concept of the book How to Build a Village


Claude Lewenz:

"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)

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