bayberrybush (bayberrybush) wrote in house_and_home,

Eco-Living and Indigenous Design

A historical perspective today. When I was very small, my parents took me to Chaco Canyon and to see the Anasazi Cliff Dwellings, and I can still remember how incredible it was to see these structures.

The broad definition of eco-living refers to the practice of living in accordance with Nature rather than seeking to overcome Nature or defy Nature.

In design and building, what this can mean for us is that it is simpler to find design solutions which work within the parameters of the surroundings. Specific points could include

* at which angle the house sits
* how deep the eaves are
* where the trees should be planted
* where the materials come from
* what materials are used
* how the shelter interacts with the landscape
* how the shelter interacts with the inhabitants

These concepts were very familiar to home builders in the past. From the compact sod houses of ancient Scandinavians to the cliff dwellings of the Anasazi in the American Southwest, evidence of good use of available materials abounds. It is only recently that we have had a cultural shift away from this practice, resulting in increased use of raw materials, damage to environmental infrastructures, and disruption of ecosystems.

Fortunately, the US is experiencing a resurgence in these old ideas; first beginning as a grass-roots effort from a small but vociferous group of architects, environmentalists, and designers, this movement is slowly spreading and increasing in magnitude. The nationally-recognized LEED program is but one of several organized efforts encouraging and recognizing environmentally sound building practices.
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