Growing a Sustainable Neighborhood

From Green Garage Detroit
Revision as of 11:24, 28 June 2010 by Tom Brennan (Talk | contribs) (Foundational Ideas)

Jump to: navigation, search

What if...neighbors got together and began to find ways to help their neighborhood grow in more sustainable ways. What if ... they had fun doing it.

Image what would be possible if we worked together.

Foundational Ideas

  • Wholeness of Place describes how to evolve place so it's wholeness is enhanced not destroyed. It calls us to first understand what makes a place whole. What is is fundamental relational structure?
  • Introduction... to the foundational views of neighborhood (i.e what kind of organism are we trying to help grow?)
    • Jane Jacobs offers in her chapter "The Kind of Problem a City Is" that it is a "organized complex" system requiring a deeper systems understanding before any changes are made. The solutions will come from the life sciences, not the physical sciences. (i.e. A city is not a machine it's a grow one, you don't make one.)
      • Jacob's recommends ... "In the case of understanding cities, I think the most important habits of thought are these:
        • To think about processes;
        • To work inductively, reasoning from particulars to the general, rather than the reverse;
        • To seek for "unaverage" clues involving very small quantities, which reveal the way larger and more "average" quantities are operating.
    • Christopher Alexander says that a "City is not a Tree" (i.e. a hierarchical tree...but instead a "semi lattice" where there are many relationships that follow no "fixed" relationships.
    • They both argue that a healthy city has a high concentrations of intersections/relationships both vertically (diversity) and horizontally (density) that are grown in patterns where they are harmonious with each other and the space around them. They are the result of many minds, actions and accidents.
  • Human Scale Development by Manfred A. Max-neef.
    • Human Scale Development is defined as "focused and based on the satisfaction of fundamental human needs, on the generation of growing levels of self-reliance, and on the construction of organic articulations of people with nature and technology, of global processes with local activity, of the personal with the social, of planning with autonomy, and of civil society with the state."
    • "Human needs must be understood as a system; that is human needs are interrelated and interactive. As as such, no hierarchies exist in the system."
    • "In Human Scale Development our emphasis is on empowering civil society...democracy of day-to-day living." "Instead of relying on ideological options, HSD advocates developing processes of political and economic decentralization; strengthen day-to-day democratic actions; and encourage autonomy in the emerging social movements.
    • Human Needs vs. Satisfiers - Max-Neef sepatrates human needs and the way they are satisfied..."satifiers." The human needs transend history and cultures and remain relatively the same. It is how they are satisfied that is different by culture and history.
    • Human Needs - Max-neef classifies the fundamental human needs as: subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, recreation(in the sense of leisure, time to reflect, or idleness), creation, identity and freedom. Needs are also defined according to the existential categories of being, having, doing and interacting, and from these dimensions, a 36 cell matrix is developed which can be filled with examples of satisfiers for those needs.
    • Satisfiers - also have different characteristics: they can be violators or destroyers, pseudosatisfiers, inhibiting satisfiers, singular satisfiers, or synergic satisfiers. Max-Neef shows that certain satisfiers, promoted as satisfying a particular need, in fact inhibit or destroy the possibility of satisfying other needs: eg, the arms race, while ostensibly satisfying the need for protection, in fact then destroys subsistence, participation, affection and freedom; formal democracy, which is supposed to meet the need for participation often disempowers and alienates; commercial television, while used to satisfy the need for recreation, interferes with understanding, creativity and identity - the examples are everywhere.
    • Synergic satisfiers - not only satisfy one particular need, but also lead to satisfaction in other areas: some examples are breast-feeding; self-managed production; popular education; democratic community organisations; preventative medicine; meditation; educational games.
    • Promotes a process by which communities can identify their "wealths" and "poverties" according to how these needs are satisfied.
  • What are the important, even critical, processes?
    • Starting a business
    • Making a home
    • Raising a healthy child
    • Connecting with the earth...sitting under a tree, sitting on cool grass
    • Meeting interesting, loving people
    • Being inspired
    • Having a conversation
    • Buying / borrowing something you need
    • Playing
    • Getting to food, work, play and friends

Crazy Ideas

  • Incubator for sustainable neighborhood ideas