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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: 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.

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