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I was reading a post by “Musings”  which spoke of temporary architecture, and it’s recent usage.  There were individual mobile platforms for ice skaters, reminding me of miniature North American Plains Indian Teepees, and really large, recyclable venues for Olympic stadiums too.

I got to pondering a bit about the direction this new mobile architecture might be taking us on.  New materials can be light weight, easily assembled, transportable, and strong.  There has also been a new emphasis on smaller scaled living, probably due to the economic downturn that has lasted for so long.  With that in mind, take a leap of imagination with me toward a slightly different looking future:

Picture a wooded slope, previously not to thickly inhabited, but now you see glimpses through the trees of small, sometimes bright colored constructions.  Here in the flatter foreground is a ring of small personal spaces sharing a central area with a water spigot and hot water source, and each having easy access to a nearby row of privies and showers, somewhat like vacationer campgrounds.

61st St. Community Garden, Chicago

61st St. Community Garden, Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Areas of urban blight have been transformed into guarded miniature homestead parks, occupied by individuals with a collective agreement to share responsibilities for the space while in residence there. Structures from Yurts to geodesic domes to re-purposed shipping crates occupy empty lots formerly used as dumping grounds.  Former welfare recipients and newly-released-from-state-care orphans find a place within these communities to begin their upward climb out of poverty.  These communities serve as half-way stops for both those growing into new responsibilities, and as stopping places on the way out of the working life while one still wishes to be useful.  Social security check recipients now reside here and live well, while contributing their aid and skills to the community effort.

The structures aren’t quite tents, nor are they as permanent looking as sheds, but something of a cross between the two.  Light weight composite materialbolted together and anchored into the ground with flexible steel cables attached to long pegs in the ground to keep them from blowing away in storms.  Electricity powered from a central source run into each personal space,  powering lights and small unit cooler/heater systems.  No individual structure taking up more space than what can be easily assembled and taken back down.

Portable home

 

Among the trees  of the turnpikes and within the canyons formed by empty lots between buildings, there are individual sites with similar footage, some on the ground and some built into abandoned buildings.  All of them  parts of guarded community agreements in cooperation with city and municipal governments. There are gardens, both vertical and horizontal in the available spaces, and chickens are raised in long, portable  coops which both fertilize the ground and help control pests in the community garden tended by rotating shifts of volunteers.

This is an urban oasis for the new overworked, and underpaid entry level  technicians in Any Company, America.  This is the new retirement villa’s of the recently retired.  This is the refuge for the homeless and the hopeless.  This is where the shared community garden is carefully raked into the earth and just as carefully tended to by various residents who enjoy growing their own food.  Several Converted shipping crates serve as canning kitchens and storage space for the food stuffs created and preserved here.

There are rental bike racks not far from these new urban residences; and mobile food vendors ply their trade nearby as a service to these hardy human beings.  Clothing and sundry other mobile vendors work the streets nearby to meet the constant needs of these just in time consumers.

Stacked shipping crates have been modified to easily and properly house refugees and migrant workers.  Showers and public facilities are engineered into some of the shipping crates as shared utilities and others are converted into community kitchens. Bunk beds and hammocks are strung through others as sleeping spaces, and still others are rooms for entertainment or study.

A daycare has been created from a grouping of shipping crates and a lightweight cover extending over a guarded play area.  Meals are served on tables that fold down from the inner court’s walls as complete seating and eating units.  Colorful murals by local artists depict a happy environment for growing children on the outsides of these structures, adding to the delightful ambiance of the neighborhood.

An out of service semi-trailer, painted in murals by local artists,  serves as a covered bus stop with benches lining the walls between the doors.

These communities can be located anywhere there is available space; the various occupants working in either the community itself (Guard, daycare, gardening, laundry, clean-up crew, cooking) or outside in whatever labor or industry the occupants can locate, and contributing by helping to pay for the water access and available electricity while being fed by the community for their contributions.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, llc 2012.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

English: Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch...

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English: Family History Library of The Church ...

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English: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day ...

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English: The Reno Nevada Temple of The Church ...

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Bishops' Storehouses

Image by Travis S. via Flickr

There have been people who complained that the reason they became non-religious, was because the people in the churches were so imperfect.  I too have seen the imperfections of humanity, and once upon a time, I too withdrew my support from official religions because I was incensed that the people weren’t more perfect.

I could have continued in this path of indifference, being perfectly right in my position of “the people aren’t perfect enough”, and it would have gotten me exactly nowhere. Nor would it have changed anything within the church except to leave it one body shorter of those who Could have been doing something to assist each other.

God saw fit to withdraw His support from me during this time (turn about is fair play).  I was allowed to suffer the full effect of the buffetings of the world.  Without His protection to keep me from harm, without His spirit to guide me in my choices, without His angels to watch over and protect me in my efforts, I became just another casualty of a dog-eat-dog world.  I met the man who would become my husband during this time.  Things went well for a while, but then, I changed jobs, and some issues which hadn’t been issues until then, suddenly became issues.

Once brought down low, and in need of assistance (no work,no money to pay bills, no food) my husband suggested that we turn to the local food banks at the local Christian churches.  When he said this, I looked at Him, and with a sinking heart I said, “If we are going to do that, we might as well go to the one that does it the best.”  He asked me what I meant by that, and I told him about The Church welfare department.

So we went to church together, and he met the congregation of people that I had left some five years before.  It was only a little changed since I had been there.  Some people had moved out, and others had moved in, but it was largely the same human family. We asked the Bishop for some food assistance.  He said gladly, but also, the ward could help us with some other bills as well, like utilities.   We were overjoyed at this blessing.  Thank you.

Even though I had told my husband about the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he was still surprised at the extent of it.  He held up a can of Chicken noodle soup and exclaimed, “They have their own canning factory?”

Actually, the members do that themselves with volunteer labor.  I have been part of groups that volunteered time in both canning chicken noodle soup, and wrapping cheese for shipping before.  It is a balance between a very efficient human chain, and a mechanical process.  It is very well managed.  The whole process is very efficient.

There are many Bishop’s storehouses scattered all over; tucked away in small industrial neighborhoods mostly. They are centers for charitable giving, both temporal and spiritual.

I am grateful beyond belief for this eye-opening experience; to have finally understood my place in the chain of service; to have been able to see, finally, that I was just as imperfect as the ones I was pointing fingers at; to understand that our imperfections are the very reason for Christ’s atonement; and the reason that we all finally stand before God with fear and trembling to work out our eternal salvation; and to know, without a shadow of a doubt that God loves even me, imperfect as I am, and that His love is so all encompassing that He will show me the error of my ways, if I am but willing to look, and set my feet back on the path to home.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I have been pondering this for a while.  A recent article that oddly mixed news of whale bones and Hooters waitresses in the same article got me thinking about it again.  Someone at a Career day in a special needs school got offended that a person who was a waitress at a Hooters restaurant was speaking to the children about her type of work; that is, serving tables in a Hooters restaurant.

Wow.  I thought.  What is her problem?  Does she never go out to eat?  Maybe she only eats in fast food restaurants, or buffets, and doesn’t let anyone wait on her.  Or maybe she only cooks at home and does all her own serving.  Still, even if that were the case, why look down on someone who is taking food orders and delivering it to people who want it that way?

If this is because of the pay scale…..  again, I say Wow.   This is a subject that seriously needs addressing.  The inequalities present in our system are there because we put them there.  We choose to place one person’s type of work above another’s, in spite of the fact that we want all those different types of work to exist within our society.  We choose to assign different levels of pay to those different types of work, in spite of the fact that all the types contribute to the smooth functioning of all our lives.

Does the person who works in the tall buildings with the corner window office actually believe they would be able to do their job as well without all the things provided him or her by all those people interacted with on a daily basis?  What makes you think that the  person serving you your coffee at the drive up window, to help you be alert and ready for your job,should be paid less than you?  Or the person who cleans your suits to make you look presentable for your other interactions. Why is their  job considered less valuable than yours?   The arbitrary dollar value someone places on the different jobs is not actually a good indicator of the worth of either the person doing the job, or the necessity of the job being done.

The fact that some people had to pay large amounts of money out for a required education is sometimes used as a justification for charging higher fees for services.  That is a subject for another day, but suffice it to say, that the founding fathers wanted our nation to be educated in order to compete with other nations.  A College education should be free for all our people, all the way through a Bachelors degree, since that is what is required to be competitive.

If we take out the need to repay the educational dollars as a reason to assign an arbitrary dollar value, that leaves just the expense of doing the job.  For doctors, that would mean more, since their equipment is more expensive (shared offices help with that),  and the liability issues become another factor (torte reform).

Some people believe that the number of people served is a justification for an increase in pay scale.   Does the person who thinks this live on an island, entire of itself?  Yes, that is a reference to Don John.  We do not exist without each other.  There is no real independence except for hermits who live in caves in the hills or holes in the desert, and they don’t get paid by anyone.

The garbage collectors in New York city proved that they are a necessary and valuable part of your existence.  They had to stop doing their job to make you acknowledge it, but you finally gave them their dues.  Now they get paid a better wage.  The person who harvests the food that you eat is also worthy of the same consideration.  Alabama is now finding out just how valuable that job should be.  No one who is Not an “undocumented worker” will stay with the job at it’s current pay scale.  The tomatoes are rotting in the fields because there is no one to pick them.

The person who drives the bus to carry so many people to work is valuable, and so is the person who drives the bus that carries your children to school so that they may have the ability to properly co-exist with others both in the now, and in the future. Why should their pay scale be so low?   Or the teacher who shapes their views of the world?  Why should you think that the advertising executive should get paid so much more than the street sweeper?  Does the advertising executive actually improve the most people’s live’s?   The street sweeper keeps the streets in a state of clean that makes it possible for many people to walk about or drive on it in a reasonable condition.  The successful advertising executive only improves the lives of  those who work inside the firm that they work for.  Why should you respect the advertising executive, and not the street sweeper?

Why should the worker who serves you the hamburger be despised for their work?  Are they not giving you something you want?  Are they not providing you with a valuable service?  If you wanted to be serving yourself, you’d be in a different restaurant, or at home, making your own food.  If you don’t directly benefit from someone who serves hamburgers for a living, then you benefit indirectly.  The hamburger server provides a service to many people.  All of them members of your society, in one context or another.  When someone, anyone, provides any service to you or any member of your society, that you could not, or did not want to do for yourself, that service is valuable to you, and should not be dismissed as beneath you; neither the work, nor the worker. They have added value to your life, they are worthy of your respect.

I’m still pondering the ways and means of how we could change things in a fair way, to raise the pay of one type and lower the pay of another type of work until we all get paid the same for an hours work.  Maybe this isn’t possible, given that no one would then harvest the food, being as it is harder work than sitting at a desk writing.

Hah!  Wouldn’t  that be something, when the food harvester gets paid more than the advertising executive.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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