I am beginning my series of posts introducing readers to the musings of Stephen A. Mouzon, an architect located in Miami, Florida. Steve provides us with a vision of human development based upon principles that have been with us historically, but we have moved away from since the development of our car based culture. Steve has a very compelling way of putting into words and pictures what we are often looking for in designing living communities. I find his website The Original Green often inspiring and thoughtful. I would recommend anyone interested in how energy efficient housing can be incorporated into a community context to join me in frequenting his website and reading the posts in his blog.
I would also recommend purchasing his book The Original Green and sharing it with others. As a designer or builder, I would recommend providing a copy of the book to your clients. The book is filled with wonderful photography as well as a very readable text. If you are a member of a book club, it would make for wonderful discussions. In a nutshell, Steve feels that sustainable communities must include eight basic principles:
Sustainable places should be:
Nourishable because if you cannot eat there, you cannot live there.
Accessible because we need many ways to get around, especially walking and biking because those methods do not require fuel.
Serviceable because we need to be able to get the basic services of life within walking distance. We also should be able to make a living where we are living if we choose to.
Securable against rough spots in the uncertain future because if there is too much fear, the people will leave.
Sustainable buildings should be:
Lovable because if they cannot be loved, they will not last.
Durable because if they cannot endure, they are not sustainable.
Flexible because if they endure, they will need to be used for many uses over the centuries.
Frugal because energy and resource hogs cannot be sustained in a healthy way long into an uncertain future.