SUCCESS IN BUILDING LIVING NEIGHBORHOODS DEPENDS ESSENTIALLY ON A KEY SEQUENCE OF SEVEN PROCEDURAL ASPECTS OF UNFOLDING.
|Step 1||FIRST VISION OF YOUR LIVING NEIGHBORHOOD|
|Step 2||DEVELOPING A GENERATIVE CODE|
|Step 3||FIRST UNFOLDING OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD: CREATION OF KEY CENTERS, GRADUAL PLACEMENT OF MOST IMPORTANT POSITIVE SPACES AND BUILDING VOLUMES|
|Step 4||MONEY, PROGRAM BUDGETING, AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT|
|Step 5||BUILDING DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION : THE INTERLOCKING TEAMWORK OF PROFESSIONALS, CRAFTSPEOPLE, AND FAMILIES|
|Step 6||CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT IN ACTION: INDEPENDENT SUBCONTRACTORS AND CRAFTSPEOPLE WORKING UNDER FIXED-COST, FLEXIBLE CONTRACTS|
|Step 7||MAINTENANCE, IMPROVEMENT AND CONTINUED LIFE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD|
STEP 1 FIRST VISION OF YOUR LIVING NEIGHBORHOOD
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|GET SIZE CLEAR||Remember, a neighborhood can be quite tiny -- hardly more than a group of buildings -- or large, or very large. Even if you a dealing only with a small project, it is likely to benefit by being considered as a minute neighborhood.|
|MAKE A START ON A VISION OF THIS PLACE||Take the first step in articulating your intention and your vision. As a possible help to this task, read and fill out this worksheet. Discuss it with your partners, and see if you can make a shared vision.|
|WHO ARE YOUR PARTNERS?|| Your partners are the people who will do this project together. They may be lay people, neighbors, professionals, city people, and anyone who has an important part to play, to get the project done. It will take a while to identify these people as a group. Allowing it to form gradually will help the process.|
Sometimes you just do not know the people who are likely to live and work in a new neighborhood; it is too early, or too hard, to identify them. Even in this case, it is helpful -- almost necessary -- to involve people who are living and working nearby, and treat them as a source of information, and inspiration, so that what you are doing becomes as real as possible, even in the temporary absence of some of your future occupants.
|DO YOU ALREADY HAVE YOUR LAND, OR IS IT NOT YET CHOSEN?||Two different scenarios:|
(a) A site is identified. People have a piece of land and have an idea of what they want to do there. Walk the land together. Spend time on the land where you imagine this project can be done. Visit the place fairly often. Involve your partners in continuing conversation about the place and its value. Make sure that you gradually achieve cohesion as a group by being on the land together, and continuing to talk.
(b) A site is not yet identified. People have an idea of what they want to do but haven't yet found a piece of land where they feel it's appropriate to do what they have in mind. Even then you can begin thinking about the ingredients, and what will be unique to this place.
|WHAT MIX OF INGREDIENTS WILL DEFINE THE NEIGHBORHOOD?||
Given the piece of land, what are the ingredients you are thinking about putting there?
Is it a conventional group of houses?
Can it contain businesses and workplaces?
How much park and green space would you like to see? How much in the way of gardens?
Would you like something communal -- church, town hall, association? This is very important -- but it needs an inventive attitude and time to work it through.
The mix of things should be inventive, and particular to you. How they fit together may not be immediately obvious and may be hard to talk about, but it is important to do so.
How will it work economically?
How will it work socially?
Given your choices of the above ingredients, you also need to answer the key question How much of each is going to be happening there? |
Later these ingredients, may be refined to become patterns, and then steps of the generative code.
|A MORE VISIONARY MIX OF INGREDIENTS||The list above might seem a bit bureaucratic or unexciting. If you and your friends see a more vivid picture, one with very particular emotional colors, activities, buildings, and businesses -- then give that voice. It will be a more lively place, people are more likely to love it there. And there is more chance of it helping to make the world a better place.|
|UNIQUENESS ARISING FROM THE PEOPLE AND THE LAND||
What truly belongs in this place? This is the deepest question. It needs patience, insight, and emotional reality, for it to be discovered. Once you find out what it is, hold on to it, and make it happen!|
Living neighborhoods usually have something unique -- something slightly surprising. A mix of things develops there and gives the place its character. What are the passions, skills, and dreams, of individuals involved, that could bring life to this community? The only place a successful mix will come from is people – it depends on the genius of people and characters who have fun things to bring into the picture that will spice up the whole community for everyone.
|LAND DIAGNOSIS|| Once you have the beginnings of a shared vision, then again assemble the team and walk the land (or existing urban place) to see how your shared vision fits into the place, and makes sense there. Allow the experience you have with the land and place now, to influence and expand the vision that has formed. Identify special spots in the land that must be enhanced and protected. Determine needed density by considering what the land can hold comfortably -- not based on how to make the most money, but how to hold the land as sacred in perpetuity. In any case, as a preparation for making a generative code for a particular place, it is essential to make a diagnosis of the place. This is essentially a list of all beautiful and important spots, all places in need of repair, all views and view corridors, and important trees and buildings which are especially vital to the heritage and spirit of the place.|
|SEE THIS VISION WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED||As a first rough approximation, it will be helpful for you to squeeze your eyes shut, and imagine whatever you have so far constructed in your mind, so that you now see it physically in your mind's eye. If there are several of you, try this together.|
|ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE END OF THE FIRST STEP||A 1:200 scale map, on which you and your partners have written a record of your observations while walking the land: arrows to show important views; circles to designate important precious places; good places to come in, to leave. You may have a chance to build a topographic map model so you can really visualize the land, its existing buildings, and its trees, at 1:200 scale. This map, and model should be shared by all the partners, with a preliminary agreed on sense of what you are going to do there.|
STEP 2 DEVELOPING A GENERATIVE CODE
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|FIRST, WRITE A ROUGH OR POETIC PATTERN LANGUAGE||Now take this rough vision, that you have arrived at intuitively, and write down what you think its features are, one by one. This does not need to be a shopping list. It may better be thought of as a kind of poetic list, where you let yourself go, and describe your longing for the place without censoring what you write or say. An example of such a "poetic" or visionary language may be found at Samarkand "poem".|
|ONE-ON-ONE DISCUSSION WITH PARTNERS||Now begin a process of slow one-on-one discussion with partners and families and businesses to reach their deepest intuitions. These discussions should then be milked for their most important content and combined with the stock of material which will be incorporated into the common language. |
Nature of Order references
|NOW WRITE THEM AS ELEMENTS||Try to summarise the content of your revised "poetic" language, by listing the elements you visualize, as most essential to keep the feeling of the neighborhood you and your colleagues have in mind. An example of such a "list" language may be found at Samarkand "list".|
|TRY A COMMUNAL PROCESS OF WRITING DOWN YOUR VISION IN MORE PRECISE LANGUAGE||Here you are taking the first step in writing a generative code for your neighborhood. Read Writing Generative Codes. When you have a feel for the way things work in this example, it should help you as a first step to beginning a generative code.|
|EXAMINE A TEMPLATE FOR AN EARLY DRAFT OF A GENERATIVE CODE||You may sketch a first proper generative code for your project by following this example, as a template, while fitting the details to your own case. See Template for a Generative Code|
|FORM A COMMITTEE TO SETTLE THE GENERATIVE CODE||The 6-8 members of this committee must be chosen with enormous care, to reflect as many interests and points of view as possible -- and with the idea that once this committee has agreed on a code, it will almost certainly sail through passage at the whole neighborhood level. It is a lengthy process, because the items of the code, have to be scrutinized, and agreed -- and this is where the real content of the resulting environment will come from. And under the guiding hand of at least one committee member who has some previous experience (professional, or not) all of the pages in the code must be put in proper format. The committee will, in effect, have to visualise the unfolding of the the neighborhood, as they read, and study, and correct this code. And they must be guided in their round-table discussion, by the principle that important patterns, will be invented, and corrected according to the criterion of which version will enhance the place and the wholeness of the neighborhood.|
|EXAMPLE OF A GENERATIVE CODE, AS A TEMPLATE FOR YOUR FINAL FORMAT.||This particular code was written for a low-density new town on a green-field site. You may face entirely different density and scale conditions. However, you will see the approach taken, unlike the pattern language format, specifies what has to be done -- it is a system of procedural instructions, which can be carried out, one at a time, interacting only with the context which has been created up to that moment in the sequence of unfolding. For a situation which requires public and legal standing, use the example of a completed code that may be found at The Generative Plan for Harbor Hills.|
|ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE END OF THE SECOND STEP||A jointly written notebook, in the format of the template, dealing specifically with your piece of land, and reflecting the consensus of the partners. There will be one A4 or 8x11 page for each step of the code. On that page there will be a clear definition of what is required to be done, which partners are to have main responsibility for doing it, and a clear definition of the effect to be achieved by each step as it is being done. The code contains the steps necessary to carry your community through completion and moving in.|
STEP 3 FIRST UNFOLDING OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD:
CREATION OF KEY CENTERS, GRADUAL PLACEMENT OF MOST IMPORTANT POSITIVE SPACES AND BUILDING VOLUMES
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|UNDERSTANDING UNFOLDING||In order to understand what unfolding really means, look at this example. It shows, step by step, how the unfolding of a plan occurs in such a way that everything has a harmonious relation to everything else. In particular, it shows how the gradual process of unfolding one feature of the plan, at a time, really works to create a coherent and harmonious whole. Please read Unfolding of Strood Riverside, United Kingdom|
|TAKE DECISION ABOUT TIME SCALE OF CONSTRUCTION||During the process of unfolding, a key issue will arise: How gradually is this new settlement to be built? A neighborhood might be built over a period of ten or twenty years. Sometimes it may be built in a year. Sometimes a core might be built at first, and then gradually expanded or improved. Each of these different models requires a different approach to the unfolding. In the Harbor Hills example (above) , the generative code is built on the assumption that it goes forward one neighborhood at a time, each of these neighborhoods being about 15 houses. The generative code describes this process. It is actually built into the generative code itself. |
|THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS ALWAYS POSITIVE SPACE||Each thing that is placed must be positive in shape. But even more important than that, is that the things or spaces which are formed next to it, are also positive in shape, and potentially useful and beautiful places, too. Information about the process of forming such positive space may be found on the Texts page.|
Nature of Order references
|POSITIVE SPACE IS MADE FROM THE FIFTEEN PROPERTIES||Positive space is itself one of the fifteen properties. But the important thing about each space is that it is coherent, whole in itself, emotionally connected to the spaces next to it, bounded by thick, substantial boundaries, given good shape, enhanced by well placed subsidiary centers inside it, and around it, given gradients which lead to the core centers, and treated with roughness, so that it is not pristine, but instead beautifully adapted to the configurations and circumstances round about. All this is explained in The fifteen properties which bind wholeness together.|
Nature of Order references
|EXAMPLES OF POSITIVE SPACE||Positive space is the most important aspect of all living space. It is the presence of this quality which makes the neighborhood a place where you want to be. Please look at the examples in Definition of positive space.|
Nature of Order references
|INITIALLY LOCATE THE MOST IMPORTANT POSITIVE SPACES||In order to give the neighborhood a start, begin by identifying, and then shaping (or improving the shape of) the three or four public spaces that dominate the neighborhood: These should include one which is the neighborhood's main center, and others which, spaced out across the neighborhood, create a web inside the neigborhood. Each of these main public spaces will take its role and function in the neighborhood best, if it is associated with a major building that geometrically forms the "head" of that space.|
|IF YOU HAVE DONE THE UNFOLDING WELL, THE RESULT SHOULD HAVE A CHARACTER LIKE NATURE||As the unfolding goes forward, you give each thing the space it needs, in relation to the things you have done before. Do not try to think ahead. Let each thing find its place, one at a time, and its own quiet emphasis. It should arise from the configuration of the place. As you do these things, the whole thing will take on a lumpy, awkward character -- very particular to the detail and uniqueness of the place, and very different from a planned community. But, once again, if you have done it well, you will find clear rhythms and forms apparent in the complexity. Please look at the character of the Strood Unfolding example, to see what this looks like.|
|ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE END OF THE THIRD STEP||A sequence of small maps, and overlays, which show how the generative code has been applied step by step, to the land of the neigborhood, and has caused the gradual formation of a complex arrangement of spaces, streets, gardens and houses, gradually causing the unfolding of a site plan in which each place is beautiful, and related sensibly to its neighbors. There should then be a large scale drawing, at 1:200 scale, show the final design which has unfolded, and in particlar showing public spaces, gardens, buildings, and roads, and making visible how unique and particular each part is, and how pleasant it is to be there. If possible, we recommend that you should also build a model at the same scale of 1:200, on the topo model you have built earlier, placing buildings where they should be, and coloring in the public spaces, to inspire you to shape them well.|
STEP 4 MONEY, PROGRAM BUDGETING, AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
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|MONEY||Where is the money for the project coming from? How much have you got or can you raise? You should estimate the scale of what you plan to do, with a clear picture of how the construction work is going to be funded. Get a provisional figure in mind for the total work. And, if it has to be done in stages, get a picture of the stages, and the sums which might be spent in each stage.|
|MONEY PLAN: BUDGET MONEY WISELY TO MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON PEOPLE'S FEELINGS||This most vital principle is an obvious one; but it is very rarely followed. The gist is this: you need to spend the most money on those things that really matter most in the emotional life of the place; and the least for those things that make the least emotional impact on the resulting buildings and neighborhood as a whole. To do this, you first need to make a line item budget for the quantities you have to think about. You can, if you wish, start with a standard or "typical" budget for building a neighborhood.|
You will see that each line item has a budget figure, and you can then work out for each line item, what percentage this typical figure is of the whole budget. Now, you can sit with the same spread sheet, and pencil in on the right, what percentage you think ought to be spent on each item, based on how much value you think this item, can bring to the life and emotional value of the environment. This "ideal" percentage will almost certainly be different from the typical percentages.
For example, among typical commercial developments today, the exterior landscape is usually given about 5-6% of the total budget. We have found that the environment works much better when the sum spent on exterior work -- terraces, exterior stairs, balustrades, and so on, all combined with planting -- is more like 17% of the total budget.
This does not mean that we are increasing the price of the project by 11-12%. Not at all. It simply means that we choose to reduce the amount spent on the buildings by about 11-12%. Of course we do not, therefore, make everything of inferior quality. We distribute money differently and reduce the money for less important things in the line items for the buildings. We may also increase certain things within a building, even though we propose to reduce the overall percentage spent on building. For example, as a matter of practice, we usually spend 16% of the building cost on windows. A typical figure would be more like 7%.
We allocate a larger percentage of the budget to exterior construction because it makes the exterior world more habitable and increases the effective habitable area immensely. And we spend more on better quality and larger windows, because we know from experience that the quality of life in the rooms is hugely affected by the quality of light.
Now, how do we pay for all this? Usually, we allocate less money on roof covering; we allocate less on bathroom fixtures; we reduce the allocation for wall finishes in certain "secondary" rooms; and so on. You can see a spread sheet which tracks allocation and re-distribution of money among line items.
|THE ORDER IN WHICH THINGS ARE DONE||There are surprising but necessary changes in the order in which things are done so that the neighborhood can really come alive. Here are a few examples of required changes in sequence:|
|RE-ARRANGEMENT AND RE-CLUSTERING OF TASKS||Tasks and subcontracts need to be reshuffled and regrouped. See Re-arrangement and reclustering .|
|UNIQUENESS OF INDIVIDUAL HOUSES AND BUSINESSES|
|ARRANGEMENT OF BUILDINGS||In order to make individual houses work, as an idea, at relatively high density, there is one particular archetypal model layout that can form a basis for many, many variations. In this archetype, the houses are long and thin, parallel to the public space and pedestrian space outside. Thus instead of being row houses which have narrow frontage and long depth, these houses typically have long frontage, and narrow depth. For example, such a house might be 15 meters long, and 6 meters deep, thus 90 m2 on a floor. The building might have two flats if 2-story, or three flats, if 3-story, the top story then being within the roofspace. The many advantages in this type of building volume are discussed extensively in The Nature of Order.|
Nature of Order references
|CARS AND PARKING|
|GENERIC BUILDING CONSTRUCTION||Choice of materials, feeling as a governing factor, overall distribution of rough and smooth, inexpensive and luxurious, basic and simple, and sources of manufacturing.|
|NEW TYPES OF CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT||The vital role of contracts cannot be over-emphasized. The construction contracts typically used by architects and general contractors are massively flawed, not least because the essence of today's typical contract is that the contractor takes home whatever money he can save on construction. This encourages use of cheap materials, shoddy workmanship, and an overall combination of speed and carelessness. The incentive of profit, as the margin between what the contractor spends and what he receives, is, to put it bluntly, equivalent to an incentive to cheapen the building whenever possible, without the client noticing!|
We have pioneered a new kind of management contract, in which the contractor receives a fixed proportion of the construction price, and the contract makes it clear that it is in the contractor's interest to spend every penny possible to make the building better, without altering the price. That is the essence of a non-profit building contract.
|A TEMPLATE CONTRACT FOR YOUR USE||A typical contract of this type, is available for your inspection and use. We most strongly recommend that anyone arranging for professional construction should require the builder to use this kind of contract. We have developed and used many versions of such contracts over the last thirty years.|
|ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE END OF THE FOURTH STEP||A detailed, line-by-line construction budget for the project, showing what is proposed to be spent on each part of the project, for capital expenditures, line by line, according to the detailed physical elements and improvements which are to be built or undertaken, and including administrative and professional costs. This budget should not be viewed as an estimate for a given set of designs, but rather as an intuitive, proportional distribution of expenditures on different aspects of the project, which you will adhere to because you consider it a prudent and sound way to spend money on the different aspects of the neighborhood, and one which will maxmimize its life.
STEP 5 BUILDING DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION: THE INTERLOCKING TEAMWORK OF PROFESSIONALS, CRAFTSPEOPLE, AND FAMILIES
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|DESIGNS FOR INDIVIDUAL BUILDINGS||Each building is designed, according to its place in the community. The designs can be simple, 1:100 drawings, commuicating the essential configuration which is to be built. When appropriate, the people who are to live or work in that building, take part in laying it out with the architect. As far as possible, the building design uses standard details and construction techniques (standard for the neighborhood), so that expensive special details on every building, are not needed in the drawings. At the same time, the management technique will allow and encourage different details to appear in each building, according to its context, with the construction management (see Main step 6).|
|THE ESSENCE OF THE NEEDED PROJECT MANAGEMENT||The environment of the last seventy years has been ravaged by mechanical methods emphasizing time and efficiency, thus making robots out of people (who are viewed merely as consumers, and are denied their place in the process of making) and of craftspeople, denying them, too, access to the building project in a way that involves their hearts and souls. To create a living neighborhood, flexible project management must reverse this trend.|
|MODERN METHODS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT||The new project manager has precisely this job of community building: to allow the people, owners, inhabitants, and craftspeople access to the project, continuously, while it is being made and built, in such a way that they can all put their own hearts and minds into the work. That is the fundamental imperative of the process. It must be done.|
|TO WORK TOGETHER SUCCESSFULLY, ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY NEED A COMMON INTENT||It does not need to be a shared intent regarding detail. It is, instead, a shared intent of spirit. It is a shared understanding (first) and then a conscious purpose (second), to make each part of the neighborhood reflect the inner tranquility of the soul. Even in making a simple concrete step in a garden, a road, or a wall, this shared purpose must be expressed in the builders' work.|
|WE NEED A SHARED NAME FOR THIS COMMON INTENT. SOME PEOPLE CALL IT "THE UNNAMEABLE", SOME PEOPLE CALL IT "GOD". SOME PEOPLE HAVE NO WORD FOR IT AT ALL.||It is not a religious matter, since it does not have to do with any one religion. But it is based on the inner connection of each person with "the whole". It means that each person must be guided by the humility of their own smallness, and by affection and connection with the whole, love for its beauty, and desire to heal it and keep it well. The project manager, with the community, together do what they can to make this possible in practical terms. That is the fundamental imperative of the process. |
Whether you choose to have a name for it, or not, it is necessary that you pay attention to this intent, in your own terms.
|IN ANY CASE, EACH ACT TAKEN BY ANY MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY, SHOULD BE AN EFFORT TO LET THE SELF BE VISIBLE||This is not the self of the ego, which reflects a person's idea of his own self-importance. It is the inner self, the eternal inner substance, which each person has access to, and which is always reliable as a source of judgement and decision. When actions are based on that inner self, the inner self may then become visible, sometimes quietly shining out, in the thing which has been made. |
Nature of Order references
|WHATEVER ACTION WE TAKE, WE ARE SEEKING TO MAKE SOME CENTER MORE PROFOUND, MORE TOUCHING TO OUR HUMANITY||In anything that is made, its life and beauty depends on the beauty of the centers which are made to appear in it. Learning to make beautiful centers, and managing to make them so that they are egoless, is at the core of every task. |
A center is a point of focus, in a larger field, which has shape, and generates a sensation of centeredness in space. A center can occur within a piece of stone, on a street, in the shape of a building roof, in the presence of a great tree, in the beautifully proportioned windows of a doorway. Centers can be more living, or less living, according to the degree their component centers are alive. Everything of importance in construction of buildings, may be understood as the creation of deeply living centers in every space, and every particle of matter. Nature of Order references
|THIS COMES FROM REPEATED APPLICATION OF FIFTEEN PROPERTIES TO EVERY PART OF EVERY THING||
These properties are the building blocks of wholeness: it is through combination and recombination of these properties, that wholeness forms itself in both nature and the built world. As a result, these fifteen properties are fundamental to the organization and design of any living neighborhood.|
As in nature,
these fifteen properties are fundamental to the birth of any form that leads to God, and they lead naturally to the creation of something profoundly human, egoless, and simple. In a neighborhood, all the participants -- families, neighbors, business people, craftspeople -- may share this attitude in some way that gives us all a common purpose. It is our hope, in any project, that the people working together will share, in some degree, this intent and this aspiration.
|ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE END OF THE FIFTH STEP||A detailed overall plan, design drawings for each individual building that is going to be built, and an approximate schedule of construction work for different subcontractors, individuals, craftspeople, and families, showing how the different activities will interface, to allow personal and individual work to dovetail successfully with larger scale programs of construction taken by larger subcontractors.|
STEP 6 CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT IN ACTION: INDEPENDENT SUBCONTRACTORS AND CRAFTSPEOPLE WORKING UNDER FIXED-COST, FLEXIBLE CONTRACTS
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|PROJECT ORGANIZATION||As projects become larger, the human organization capable of delivering a building complex on time and on budget, while also allowing creative freedom for changes and for the artistic ability of the craftspeople, becomes critical. Here is one example of such an organization. One kind of organization|
|FIXED PRICE CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT||Choose a type of contract which fixes the cost, and allows the builder to make changes without change-order charges, and at the architect-builder's judgment. A sample construction contract of the right kind. In any case, avoid standard construction management contracts which are (implicitly) aimed at maximizing profit at the expense of quality.|
|DIRECT ON-SITE PRESENCE ALL THE TIME||The construction manager, whether engineer, or architect, or group leader, must be continuously present on the site, while construction is going forward. This is vital so that on-the-spot decisions can be taken, daily, and conveyed to craftspeople, without costly delays. The person entrusted with this overall surveillance of the projact must be entrusted with the most subtle abilities of decision, and be capable of telling what creates more life and what creates less life.|
|DEPEND ON CREATIVITY OF CRAFTSPEOPLE||Avail yourself of the creativity of individual craftspeople who are really good and have the right attitude.... More to come.|
|USE FIXED-PRICE SUBCONTRACTS||Use new types of contracts that protect both client and craftsperson while allowing on-going adjustment of design (about fixed price, craftsperson gives spec he can do for that price, etc.) See sample subcontract.|
ENCOURAGE HOUSEOWNERS TO TAKE PART IN DECISIONS AND IN ACTUAL BUILDING
|PROTECT THE VISION, NOT THE DESIGN, FOR EACH PART, AT ALL TIMES|
|ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE END OF THE SIXTH STEP||An executed set of subcontracts for the work, showing price, schedule, and time, and having been negotiated and accepted by the individual subcontractors. |
STEP 7 MAINTENANCE, IMPROVEMENT AND CONTINUED LIFE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD
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|THE CONTINUING LIFE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD||As the neighborhood approaches its first state of "completion", community members will begin to realise this work is never finished. The same process which enabled it to be conceived and built, now takes over, and keeps going annually, and daily, as long as the neighborhood exists. It is up to the people of the neighborhood community, to take responsibility for this activity.|
|START A REPAIR PROCESS||At any given moment in the life of the neighborhood, you and your neighbors should be examining what needs improvement, and what opportunities there are for something more lifegiving or more beautiful. Repairs, rebuilding, and improvement of this kind moves the neighborhood forward, always to a more living state.|
|REPAIRS MAY BE VERY SMALL OR VERY LARGE||One repair might consist of building a small bench in a special place. Another repair might consist of a group of six buildings in an unoccupied bit of land. Each repair should always be seen, and treated, as a repair in the fabric of the whole. All repairs, large or small, should follow the same repair process.|
|LEARN TO IDENTIFY THE LATENT CENTERS IN THE LAND AROUND YOU.||
With practice you will find out that all "repairs" -- whether they are made to repair some actual fault, or to take advantage of some opportunity -- can be deeply understood only when we can see them in terms of latent centers. That means, that we identify the error, or problem, as a defect in the extent to which some center, nearby, or at the spot, is less strong, less lively, than it could be. By identifying the latent centers which are at the root of the matter, and seeing how these latent centers may be healed, the situation improves.|
The process of searching for latent centers, and strengthening them, then forms a tissue of growth, in which centers are being healed and strengthened. And this is understood, then, as the driving force which makes the life and evolution of the neighborhood go forward.
Practice, with your colleagues and neighbors, identifying latent centers, in the land around you. Learn which have the greatest potential for good, and learn to identify those latent centers whose repair will do the most to heal the neighborhood as a whole.
|THEN, TO REPAIR YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, UNFOLD THESE LATENT CENTERS.||The effort of this unfolding, is to modify the latent center and its surroundings, giving it form which intensifies the latent center, and so brings more life to the whole. This means that each NEW thing that is placed, is positive in shape, and forms positive shape in the space next to it.|
|THAT IS THE ONLY PROCESS YOU NEED, AS IT GOES ON FOR EVER||Everything you need to do to make a beautiful place emerge, is just this: Look for latent centers, choose one of the most significant (that means, with the biggest potential to help the larger whole without intruding on it). Then unfold that latent center, by making it contribute more to the whole. Gradually paradise can appear, before your eyes, as months and years go by.|
|TO PAY FOR MODEST REPAIRS, START A CASH FUND OF CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE GROUP||Beyond their own individual efforts, the residents of the neighborhood can designate a fund, each giving a fixed bit of money each year, to be mutually spent on neighborhood improvements every year, so that the life of the neighborhood continues to intensify. This would include maintenance, but should definitely go beyond to real improvement. If this small contribution is formalized in some friendly fashion, it will be painless and automatic. Then the neighbors will happily have a bit of money to spend each year, rather than having to scrape together money only when someone notices something going wrong. A village story|
|ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE END OF THE SEVENTH STEP||People in the neighborhood now have a joint tradition: they know each other, and know how to work together; and, hopefully, by this time have a tradition of an annual diagnosis and repair session, in which damages are made good, and small benefits and blessings can be introduced, a little bit by everyone, to enhance the pleasantness of the neighborhood. Let us hope that it goes on for ever, when we are long gone.
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