Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Out of the Box

Out of the Box is our place to imagine things on the edge of possibility. I invite you to join in. Tell us in Comments about something you've dreamed about for your community or organization. Start your piece with "What if...." Here's mine...

What if indigenous houses were purpose-built?
In my neck of the woods, we get plenty of rain. In some places, metres of it. Houses have to be thoughtfully designed with weather-resistant siding and substantial overhangs to keep out the weather. And on reserves, there is, of course, another problem - overcrowding and mould. Get ten, twelve, sometimes sixteen people in a house and you're going to get mould. And mould is causing an epidemic of acute and chronic respiratory ailments in both wet coastal and dry interior reserves.

What if indigenous houses were purpose-designed and built - built with the understanding that many people would live in them, many indigenous people? Imagine the possibilities - steel roofs, long overhangs, exterior synthetic shingled siding, humidistats with two or three powerful ventilation fans, R20 insulation, fold down bunk beds for flexible use space, ample smoke alarms, outside showers for summer use, a venting skylight, opening windows and doors to let the air flow and bring in the outdoors.

What if a bold government or far-thinking organization offered a substantial prize to architects (ideally indigenous architects and guided by an indigenous advisory group) to come up with a design suitable for each of several climates? Creating safe, comfortable, culturally-appropriate housing for indigenous peoples is not rocket science. It's just political will, a dollop of strategic thinking and financial good sense.

What's your 'what if'?

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