You want to save the world, or the planet, or the country, or humanity? Good for you. Here’s a not-altogether-cynical guide to how to go about it. Today, how to save your neighbourhood.
a. Look left. Look right. Look back. Look in front.
Look at the buildings that form your neighbourhood. The ones that are already there before you decide to build your own structure.
Are they clean, sanitary, and wholesome? Are they proportioned to the space that is available? Are they safe? Are they attractive? Do they work, as housing or workspace? Do they help the people who occupy them…indeed do enough people occupy them? Are there trees and bushes, drains, gutters, electricity and gas? Are there public open spaces? Is there privacy without exclusion?
If so…emulate these designs when you add yourself to the milieu. Blend in, fit in, harmonise, and live happily with the neighbours. Do not press a Finnish reindeer shed into an English council estate.
b. Look at yourself. If you are a complete stranger to a neighbourhood, consider whether this is likely to continue forever..or can you introduce yourself gradually to those around you and come to terms with them and their lives. Or would you like to be a hermit, sore thumb, or pariah all the time and by doing so compel those about you to stand clear of you.
You can be a stranger in a strange land if you wish, but you cannot be one who demands that the land change for you at your whim. Even if your religious adviser tells you that you are entitled to it. You may find yourself getting with the pogrom…
c. You need not dress to impress the neighbours. You also need not dress to intimidate or offend the neighbours. If you dress in such a way that they are visibly amused, you’d better decide to change or enjoy the laughter.
Note that they need not dress to please you, or your religious advisers. If they comply with the civil law of the land, that is all that is needed.
d. If you have a structure that is new…ie. under 200 years old…do not pull it down to erect a set of jerry-built flats to resell the land at a higher price. You will waste all the energy, materials, effort, thought, and design that went into the original structure. You will further stack more into the waste-fill dumps and cost an entirely new cycle of rebuilding. If this is just chasing money, you completely negate any other environmental savings that you will ever make in your lifetime. You might as well smoke asbestos cigars and grind the butts into the faces of your grand children.
Think of that perfectly good house on a perfectly good suburban lot as a healthy tooth in your mouth. You would be a fool to have it pulled out and substituted with some artificial thing, no matter how sophisticated the operation.