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.
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.
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.
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- China Plans to End Nomadic Life in Tibet, Uyghur and Inner Mongolia (intercontinentalcry.org)
- City Bountiful: The Rise of Urban Agriculture (dirt.asla.org)
- Community gardens improve health, enrichment (mentalflowers.wordpress.com)
- A Network of Community Gardens – Now Online (greenvilleforwardthinking.com)