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“If, however, as a society, we deliberately start paying less attention to consumption and more attention to non-material quality of life indicators—such as health, education, cultural expression, and environmental quality—then we can adjust happily.”


Mander puts the emphasis on localism.


As all resources dwindle and economic growth declines, mankind needs to “power down and use less,” he advises. “We need to embrace a ‘less and local’ mind-set. We need to develop local systems as much as possible to produce basic needs for our communities, including food and shelter. Local systems tend to be inherently more efficient, as they don’t require as much energy intensive transport. This transition won’t be easy, but if we don’t achieve this, we risk an even greater lack of equity between rich and poor, possibly new resource wars—and loss of democratic control of resources.


“Large homes won’t continue to be the standard,” he adds. “Wood and other materials won’t be as available for building, and viable new energy sources are yet unknown. Where will we live? If distribution channels are viable and equitable, for example, cities will be OK. If we have enough arable soil, topsoil, and clean water, people in rural areas will be able to grow their own food. But the first step is to stop speaking of economic growth, rather than sustainability, as the standard for future economic performance.”


 


MADE TO TRAVEL
Imagine living in a permanent home that you can move just about anywhere anytime, courtesy of a handy mobile platform, sustainably powered.


That’s the concept of HOMEWAY, a futuristic style of living developed by Terreform ONE (Open Network Ecology), a Brooklyn, New York-based non-profit design group that re-imagines New York City as an ecologically sustainable community and promotes green design in cities (www.terreform.org).


“We propose to put our future American dwellings on wheels,” says Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE’s forward-thinking founder. “These retrofitted houses will flock towards downtown city cores and back. We can reinforce our existing highways between cities with an intelligent renewable infrastructure, enabling our homes to flow continuously from urban core to core.”


Is this idea for real? Well, yes and no.


Joachim describes HOMEWAY as an “aggressively sarcastic project to achieve peak oil.” In other words, it’s a concept intended to shake up the status quo, making people think WAY out of the box.


Still, he’s convinced that the concept could provide a much more efficient housing alternative than the typical suburb. “American suburbs fail to work efficiently,” he says. “In the next 25 years we will build 56 million new homes that will consume 18.8 million acres of virgin land and emit 7.3 billion tons of CO2 per year. These frameworks of development need to be rethought to meet the nation’s ecological carrying capacities.”


What would a HOMEWAY portable housing future look like?


“Dense ribbons of food, energy, waste, and water elements will follow the direction of moving population clusters,” Joachim says. “This concept produces a city that is 100% self-reliant in a fluid network. Imagine a society where movement is a choice and mobility is lifestyle.”

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