If people desire to live in self-sufficient communities, then there must be limitations on the nature of their accommodation. These are:
1) It must easy to make the buildings sustainable as regards energy. This means the buildings should be compact to they won’t lose (or gain) too much heat to the outside world.
2) The community will try to not use cars whenever possible. So the community needs to make sure that it is easy for its people to use public transport. This also means that the community must be compact so its people can easily walk to a central spot, where good frequent transport can be provided.
3) The buildings must be easy to construct so that the community can do the construction work itself.
4) The roofs of the building need to be connected and flat so that they can easily be used for energy collection panels.
If you think about these limitations for a moment, then you will realise immediately that the good old terraces housing, which previous ages used so extensively, satisfy all these requirements. So our accommodation should be some form of terrace housing.
But there are three problems with normal terrace housing. Now the simplest form of terrace with which we are familiar is – two bedrooms upstairs, with a kitchen and lounge down below. The trouble with this form is that:
1) This form does not provide the flexibility we need for the variety of family sizes and single people, which our community will contain.
2) This form does not provide access to the back garden.
3) Frankly, this form certainly does not provide the facilities and luxuries that our modern generation expects of its accommodation.
So the purpose of this invention is – to design a form of terrace housing, which is flexible and which provides the living standard that a modern person expects. Also these houses must have easy access to the back gardens.
A full terrace house.
The easiest way of understanding how I provide all these facilities is to look at the floor plans I show in the following diagrams.
You will notice the following:-
1) Each individual terrace house is quite large. A house is basically 3-rooms wide and 2 or 3 stories high.
2) The sides of each level consist of self-contained, one-bedroom units. So a house contains either 4 or 6 one-bedroom units. Each unit is divided into two rooms by a shower/toilet facility in the middle. Usually we would make the front room into a combined lounge/dining/kitchen and the back room would be a bedroom.
3) On the ground level, the central section would partially be used for a passage way to the back garden. On the left side, there is the stair well at the front, then storage facilities for bikes etc, and a laundry at the back.
4) On the higher levels, the central section would be used for a slightly larger bedroom at the back. Then there would be – passageways, storage areas, and the continued stair well at the front (which continues onto the roof as well).
The crucial facility of this plan is that it can now be easily adjusted to give larger living elements just by opening or closing some of the doors. Thus:-
a) The ownership of the central bedroom at the top can be swapped between its two side units – simply by opening and closing either of the cross passageway’s doors.
b) The whole of the top floors can be made into one large unit simply by opening both the cross passageway’s doors. This then gives a large 3-bedroom unit. However, then it might be better to make one side into a lounge at the front and kitchen /dining room at the back – then the other side would be all bedrooms.
c) The whole of the top level, plus the left hand ground level unit, can be made into one large town house simply by just giving sole access of the stair well to that large section.
d) The complete house can simply be treated as a whole large house.
So this form of terrace housing can give all the flexibility we need in a community where people’s situation might change quite frequently.
Because these terrace houses are quite large, it might appear that they would be difficult to build. But this not the case at all. I have gone out of my way to keep everything very simple.
Thus the 3 longways elements are all of the same width (3 m). So the beams, which must support the floors, can all be of the same length.
The outside wall and the long inside wall must be made of low-grade concrete blocks, which the community can make themselves from local materials. These will provide the houses with sufficient thermal bulk to make them easy to heat or cool. (The details are all given in my “Green Living – book”(pdf)
The toilet rooms and the internal cross wall can all be made of light of wood and plaster board. And all these facilities can be repeated many times. So again the construction should be easy.
There are still many details to be covered and these are dealt with in my “Green Living – book”(pdf) (Insulation, windows, roofs, balconies, services, wider or narrower houses, etc). But what I have described here should be sufficient to convince you that it is quite easy to provide adequate accommodation for the members of a self-sufficient community – without it all costing too much.
My next normal webpage is “Carrot Bolt Belay System”.
Updated on 15/11/2016.