Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Right to Build a Home of Your Own

Let's look at Maslow's pyramid of needs.. 

Surely the premise of all I am saying [the blog, the post] is that if we have a fundamental need then we have a fundamental right to its fulfilment.

Purpose of our existence -- not merely survival, what Maslow has sign-posted for us is -- beyond the fulfilment of basic needs, self-actualisation is possible.

Surely it is a higher utilisation of our (collective) time and energy on earth to seek (collective) self-actualisation than (collectively) to seek our own individual survival.  The collective evolution of the energy level of our planet is at stake!

Distinction between Human and Civil Rights.

Whilst researching previous post (Right to Dream) I uncovered a tangled web [in relation to the Right to the Pursuit of Property].

Firstly, I would like to make clear that I understand the difference (semantically) to be that Human Rights are what we are born with and Civil Rights are what we give one another.

The Highest Role I can imagine for any (form of) government is to ensure the two are perfectly aligned -- that our Human Rights are universally acknowledged and granted to one another in the form of our Civil Rights.  (That is Theory and Practice both match.)

When it comes to the need for housing, we must also examine our ability.  This quote comes from the Ringing Cedars series.  "...even today everyone can build a home."  [from Anastasia].  But local government (certainly in Australia) abridges our right to choose the manner in which we put a roof over our heads and our family.

Formerly I believed building codes existed to guarantee quality of workmanship (and -womanship) so that we could live snugly without a roof collapsing, leaking or catching fire.  In more cynical moments I imagined that the building product industry had cleverly guaranteed themselves an income by lobbying for their specific products to be include in National/State/Local building regulations.

Be that as it may -- we have a situation where commonly used materials for houses come from great distances at great expense -- in terms of transport, distribution and production.

Yet we have all heard of or know of people [Home Work] who have built charming cottages [or Tasmanian shacks] with what was readily available and close at hand.

So much so, that it must be that more of us could do this sort of thing if a) we felt it was our right, and b) we thought it would be legal.

A friend who knows a local [Australian] building inspector has told this story.  Local councils within Australia (as elsewhere) are responsible for administering the building codes, approving plans and designs and homes and renovations and enforcing the adherence to and execution of the codes by the builder.  (Sounds quite draconian, no?)

Well it is.  And one reason why councils hire the building inspectors is not to protect inhabitants or prop up the building industry but to ensure that neighbours to the proposed and actual constructions will not complain.  It seems that councils are pro-active in their avoidance of negative reactions by local citizens.  Which in itself seems like another form of reactivity.  [Once I came to the conclusion that the most frightening thing in life was not the difficulty of our daily work but the reactions of other people we have to deal while doing it.]

Let's be pro-active.

Back to the role of government, and yet another Right [in capital letters].  Particularly regarding local government.  There is a fine line between interference and assistance.  Ideally assistance is offered where needed and requested and interference is kept to a bare minimum.  As when one is raising children or helping some one with a differing level of ability (who is developmentally or physically or intellectually challenged) it is important to cultivate an appropriate level of skill without having the reverse effect of de-skilling  by doing for some one what they could/should or would like to be doing for themself.  {It is about empowerment.}

How are we going to learn to build our own homes, such as even animals do -- in some cases -- not just a human right but an organismal (common to all living things) one -- unless we are granted it by others.  That is we are allowed to and this right is not abridged in any way shape or form.

It sounds absurd that we would even consider letting any one take this right from us.  Why we do so is a different matter and I will not get into it here.

Here are some examples of amazing, simple and beautiful homes put up by those who have been given land for the purpose of growing food [refers to post on the Dachnik movement].  Now that we have mastered the concepts of the right to own land, the Right to Privacy [both inside our homes with doors that lock already a norm, now extended to the outside areas with hedges]* let's return to zone zero, as permaculturists say, and emphasise the desirable qualities of owner built, hand built homes.  Who wouldn't like to have a go?

* And remember, with a privacy hedge, neighbours would not be so affected by the sight of their neighbour's home that they would seek to alter the housing behaviour of all potential neighbours (past, present and future).  And building inspectors would have to find other work!  (Or other reasons to..)

Creature comforts -- a beaver lodge

Group building an earthship in Haiti

Simon Dale's Hobbit House

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