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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.

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I was listening to my daughter and her friend as they talked about their homework.  They had been given a list of movies to watch about wars.  We had just watched Pearl Harbor.  It was a well made movie that neither promoted nor ridiculed war, but simply told a story that gave a decent impression of some of the real human suffering that occurred here in the states, and told some of the reasons for what happened. The fact that Japan had Imperial ambitions in China and needed the oil that was being embargoed was the main reason for their attack on Pearl Harbor.

A world war is never started by just one thing, though there is often enough a catalyst for it.  We have many of the factors in place now for another one to blossom; we are just waiting for the catalyst now.  So let’s look at some of the factors that make for a road to world wide ruin and destruction.  Some of you are probably thinking that the bad economies all over are it, but that’s not enough by itself; in fact, that won’t do it at all, if people are sensible and pull together, but we have a Much more solid reason than that hanging over us now, and it has been for at least a decade.

We have become a bloodthirsty people.  We are all looking for a fight.  We are all ready to pick a fight over the stupidest things.  The rhetoric for it has been in place for a while.  You can see it in the comments after news articles, and entertainment pieces, and sports stories.  We Want to Hurt each other. People all over the world want to hurt each other.  We want to do it here in our own country, and when you throw a reason to hurt someone in another country at us, we have all kinds of people ready to jump on that as well.  It doesn’t have to be a good reason, just any reason.

Then you add a bad economy into it.  Not enough jobs, and those that are available are too low paying to make the rent, let alone the other bills.  Two paycheck households are becoming a necessity, and three or more is becoming more popular, as families move in with each other.  Tensions run high under these circumstances.  Rats in a cage… lobsters in a pot ready to boil.

Now we get to throw in radical weather patterns that squeeze people in all kinds of new ways (and I’m not talking about global warming).  Too cold or too hot requires larger and larger amounts of energy to power an electric grid or a heating oil demand that shoves the price up for lack of ability to meet it fast enough.

Because oil prices go up, food prices go up with them.  Prices that we Have to meet, because we have to have this to survive.

Now we get to add in a nuclear fear.  One emanating from a country that has had at it’s core for many years, the ideal of wiping off the map another country.  One that it restates almost daily, like a mantra, to pacify it’s people, so they won’t blame their own poor government for the mess they are in.  Now the world, that is, most of the European neighbors, Israel, and the United States, and maybe a few others as well, want to impose economic sanctions against this country, because they think that if they choke it enough, it’ll cry uncle and give up it’s nuclear ambitions.

I’d like to point out,that Europe tried that with Germany after World War I.  They were choked good and solid.  As it happens, squeezing a country until the economic life is nearly choked out of it, does Not prevent a country from being able to develop a military, nor prevent it from creating weapons, nor stop it from wanting to get back at it’s neighbors who are choking the economic life out of it.

As it happens, this country is in an ideal location to put a hurt on not only it’s neighbors, but the rest of the world as well, should we think of opposing it in it’s mad rush to get strong enough to actually follow through on it’s rhetoric of wiping out another country; never mind that in doing so, it would also wipe out people it claims to support (Palestinians).   Iran is situated in such a way that with only  a little effort on it’s part, it can close a small shipping passage that happens to carry a large amount of crude oil traffic through it out to the broad, broad world.

Now the brilliant minds out there are thinking, the price of oil will go up, and we have oil here, and I could just buy shares in oil stock and get rich off this dastardly result (heh, heh, heh…).; But this isn’t all folks, yes, just like the famous Ginshu knives, there’s yet another sharp blade in this package.  If you look at a picture of the map where the Straight of Hormuz is, you might notice that on the other side of that large land mass that is the Arabian Peninsula, there is a little country called Yemen.

I don’t know how many of you have noticed any of the news out of there lately, but I have, and it’s not pretty either.  They are a poor country, and as a result, they have a serious problem with terrorists.  The government of Yemen is working closely with other governments to keep the problem in check, but as we have seen more than a few times before, the more we try to stifle a problem, the more it struggles to rise up and bite us.  If this one rises up and bites, it could put another whole lot of hurt on us all, and wouldn’t you know it, but they might get some help for their struggle from someone else we are trying to stifle.

Yemen also sits on an oil shipping  choke point.  At the point where the Gulf of Aden buts up to the Red Sea is another narrow passage of water.  Now Yemen isn’t by itself perhaps such a threat, but what if it gets help from a bigger, more well equipped neighbor?  How long would a stand-off at those two choke points take to bring the rest of the world to the overheated boil that always signals war?  I’m betting it wouldn’t be as long as anyone would like to think.  Probably not as long as any of the government think tanks would give us either.

The repercussions of a sudden choking off of regularly delivered and expected flows of oil into countries that had ordered it, and were waiting for it would be devastating in a very short amount of time.  It wouldn’t Just be gas rationing. Not Just long lines at the gas pumps.  It would be shortages of such magnitude that it would imperil the shipping of food supplies, vital repair parts, needed and necessary supplies to finish projects already underway, and would utterly prevent any new projects from being started.

Public transportation would be affected.  Labor difficulties and job layoffs would be exacerbated by it, housing difficulties would expand, and riots would occur as food became more difficult to obtain because no one has the gas to get where they need to go; not consumers, not retail suppliers, not wholesalers, and not even the farmers could get their product to the market.

Sure, you could make a killing in the oil shares, but what good would that do you when the food riots will destroy the city you live in?  Better make sure you have what you need to eat first, then make a killing in oil and natural gas futures.

© 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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