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How to Build a Village

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  • Eric Britton
    Thanks to Robert Moskowitz for the heads-up. How to Build a Village (Paperback) by Claude Lewenz (Author) List Price: $64.00 Product Description SUBURBS
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 23, 2008
      Thanks to Robert Moskowitz for the heads-up.

      How to Build a Village (Paperback)

      by Claude Lewenz (Author)

      List Price: $64.00

      Product Description


      Toward the end of World War II, American business and government leaders

      saw a second Great Depression looming if government spending ended and

      millions of soldiers returned home. They decided to turn the war-winning

      industries of oil, jeeps and tanks into the post-war civilian industries

      of oil, cars and bulldozers - to go from fighting a war to building the

      new American suburbs. To make the shift they legislated a radical change

      in how humans live - spreading out human activities so the mundane

      chores of daily life required a car.

      The economic plan worked and for over half a century the US economy

      boomed. "What's good for General Motors is good for America". Without

      understanding why, other countries adopted the American way - even

      countries that did not make cars or pump oil. While the plan was good

      for America's post-war economy, suburbs proved to be an immeasurably bad

      use of resources - both natural and in how people live.


      What happens if we design for quality of life rather than to sell cars?

      What would the zoning look like? How would it work? In this 256 page

      book with over 400 color photographs, this question is examined in

      detail. The answer is a "Village" defined as a 5,000 to 10,000

      population, self-contained, high-density community built on 100-400

      acres around multiple plazas with cafes, shops, workplaces and artist

      guilds and no cars within - all is within a 10-minute walk with a

      motorpool for the cars, outside the Village gates. Local governments can

      think of the Village as an environmentally, socially, culturally and

      economically sustainable, self-contained, billion-dollar, greenfield,

      mainstream investment that brings in over 2,000 new, quality jobs worth

      over $100 million a year. Future residents of the Village can think of

      it as a wonderful, thriving and fulfilling place to live.

      Each part of a Village makes another part work. The keystone is its own

      local economy. With a local economy, the Village is micro-zoned -

      everything people need is within walking distance... homes, work, shops,

      cafés, schools and recreation. This removes need for cars, which lowers

      pollution and cost of living. No cars results in smaller roads, more

      human-scaled, lower-cost and better land-use. Elders need not move to

      retirement homes when they no longer drive. Children can play in the

      streets and plazas where working adults keep an eye on them. Small

      streets require fireproof buildings (no large fire trucks), thus the

      book proposes a design that is also rot-free and super-insulated. Plazas

      provide the perfect setting to Slow Food - enriching social interaction.

      Add the cultural enrichment of arts guildhalls and the Village becomes

      more interesting. Another social element include parallel market

      affordable housing, homes for service workers, teachers, youth, elders,

      artists - the glue that holds a community together.

      This book is necessary to challenge a mindset. The ideas are simple,

      conservative, (meaning proven, time-tested, not risky) and should be

      obvious. However, experts spent 50 years inventing a complex, radical,

      and problem-ridden way for people to live now so embedded in mainstream

      thinking that it takes a book, with systematic details, to show a way

      out. Once the book resets that mindset, www.villageforum.com provides

      the forum to build the Villages. The book will be judged not on numbers

      of copies sold but Villages built.

      From the Publisher

      The idea of building a habitat to not only be a wonderful place to live,

      but also solve all sorts of social, economic and environmental

      challenges facing modern society took author, Claude Lewenz about 20

      years, and considerable research, dialogue, focus groups and real-life

      testing to refine.

      Then, shortly before the book was published, global warming and

      affordable housing became political hot topics. Good timing. However, if

      one looks at the proposals people and organisations are making to solve

      greenhouse gas emissions, for example, they focus on making cars more

      efficient, or mixing in biofuel to reduce the adverse effects of a

      car-based society. For long-distance transport this makes sense. But

      within local habitat we have better choices, ones which How to Build a

      Village puts forward.

      What happens if instead we build human habitat where we don't need to

      drive? We don't reduce or offset COv(2) emissions, we stop emitting. We

      burn no fuel - zero emissions. Design to remove the need for cars as

      local transport.

      In the 1990's the new urbanism movement began to advocate more human

      scaled habits. Among other things, it sought to domesticate the car. How

      to Build a Village, goes three steps further:

      First, it identifies the essential requirement that we create a thriving

      local economy that sells local to global and buys local. This becomes

      possible thanks to advances in telecommunications, especially high-speed

      broadband. This makes it possible for its residents to walk to work.

      Next, it places everything people need... work, shopping, schooling,

      cafés, recreation and a wide range of housing, all within a 10-minute

      walk surrounded by a greenbelt. Within the habitat, ban all cars. Not

      needed. Build a motorpool outside the village walls for longer distance

      transport. Banning cars within allows a completely different,

      human-scaled design. Old people need not move to retirement homes when

      they lose their driver license. Children play in the streets safely.

      People connect on plazas, no appointment needed; quality of life goes

      up. Streets are narrower, cost less to build and maintain. The

      development costs less to build, needs less land, yet is more charming.

      Third, it builds to a critical mass, 5,000 to 10,000 persons, and it

      creates parallel housing markets to provide permanent, non-bureaucratic

      affordable housing for key sectors of the community... youth, elders,

      teachers, public servants, artists and so on.

      The book offers hundreds of other design patterns that fit together in

      the Village concept. Yet, in providing them, the book does not dictate a

      master plan - no cookie cutter design. Instead, it provides a process in

      which the people who will live there, the professionals with expertise,

      the approving governmental authorities, and the attributes of the land

      work together to produce an authentic design reflecting the distinct

      character of the people and place. This assures each Village is

      distinctive, reflecting the authentic character of its people, and that

      it remain interesting and fulfilling for a lifetime.

      From the Author

      "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come."

      [popular misquote of Victor Hugo]

      I think the universe must not only be intelligent but interested in

      human affairs. After spending many years in ressearch and then 16 months

      taking photographs and writing a book, in the final few months of

      writing this book, the world shifts its attention to the subject matter

      of the book. Amazing!

      The pressure to get this book in print is growing daily. Over coffee in

      the village cafe, friends made it very clear the book needed to go to

      the printers now, and further they were ready to call a circle of their

      peers prepared to do whatever might be necessary to get it underway now.

      I recognised that as author this was not about me, but the book.

      I was the midwife to some ideas bigger than me, ideas that will take on

      a life of their own as others pick them up and cause them to become

      manifest, to enter the public arena. Fine by me, I want to live in a

      Village, not spend my life talking about them.

      A very long time ago, when I first began to promulgate the idea of using

      design and architecture to address some of the challenges facing

      society, I got soundly thrashed by those upon whom I tested the ideas.

      Like wine that requires aging to become fine, the ideas slowly evolved.

      When funds were needed to focus intense attention, such as running the

      think tank, funds came, usually from completely unrelated places. When I

      would get stuck on an idea, an email would come in requiring a response,

      and in writing it, the answer would emerge for the book.

      In writing this book, I confess to be a collector of ideas. While I'm

      sure I would love to be credited with all the insights and inspirations

      I hope readers find herein, most have come from dialogue with others.

      The ideas are part of a collective consciousness where I take

      responsibility for the bad ideas, but attribute the good ideas to over

      forty years of asking questions. This book is also the product of

      interviews, focus groups and a two year think tank that I ran in the

      1990s. I use the collective "we" in the book to reflect ideas that came

      from these groups and interviews.

      The best advice I got in writing this book: "Don't worry about making it

      perfect, the readers of the first edition will give you plenty of

      advice. Get it done and get it published."

      From the Inside Flap

      The Village:

      A 5,000 to 10,000 population, self-contained community built around

      multiple plazas with cafes, shops, workplaces and artist guilds and no

      cars within. With its own local economy, affordable housing,

      environmentally sustainable design, it offers a fulfilling, wonderful

      place for all ages and diverse peoples, where everything is within a ten

      minute walk.

      From the Back Cover

      Buy good shoes and a good bed, you'll spend most of your life in one or

      the other.

      If we extend that thought to our wider habitat, to everything that

      surrounds us in daily life, we notice the extent to which our

      environment has become generic and bland. A shopping mall in Italy looks

      the same as one in Australia, and for the mundane chores of daily life,

      we need a car. Character, authenticity and the rich flavours of life

      seem to have been lost as we packaged our daily lives. None of this

      happened by accident. It came about because Americans invented the

      suburb. They invented the suburb to sell cars and petroleum.

      To create a wonderful place to live, we need to start with a different

      plan, one that asks different questions. Can we solve today's problems

      without creating problems for tomorrow? Can we construct a habitat not

      to concoct a market for cars, but to provide for Quality of Life? What

      does it mean to create a human-scaled community in which people of all

      ages and interests can thrive?

      In this manual, Claude Lewenz explores what such a place would look like

      if it was designed for quality of life. Using a language of patterns

      developed in 1977, he weaves timeless patterns with new opportunity

      offered by technology. The outcome is a large Village; one with many

      plazas, where people work, shop, meet at cafes, conduct all the affairs

      of daily life within a ten-minute walk. No cars inside the village

      walls. Such a Village has its own local economy; it can stand on its own.

      This handbook does not dictate what the Village should look like. Rather

      it offers a process whereby people create their own - so each Village

      becomes unique, reflecting the character of the people who will live there

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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