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re: bioregional housing

>>I have some trouble with the housing part (above); I wonder what
>>"susbstandard" means for it to include all but 20% of the houses in the
>>world.  I have traveled a good bit in Asia, enough to see how at least half
>>the world lives, and I have trouble with this one.
>As Ivan Illich exemplifies in one of his essays in "Towards a History of
>Needs" - when legislation was passed into law in Venezuela "guaranteeing"
>every citizen the "right" to housing, 70-80% of the population suddenly
>found themselves living in "substandard" housing.  Not that there was
>anything wrong with it from a bioregional peasant's perspective - but of
>course they weren't the ones who defined the "standard."

**while i agree on that with john, we have to face it that the true
'bioregional peasant' is a extremely rare species these days. in fiji
(which is where i collected most of my firsthand experience) 80% still live
a rural subsitance lifestyle - but only 5% (at the most) of these rural
fijians still live in their traditional houses with thick thatched roofs,
which of course are even today absolutely top quality of comfort in this
climate, and the best in hurricanes too. another 20 or 30% already lives in
'standard' houses (bungalow style wood frame houses, with glass panel
windows, insulated roofs, pluming etc. - not too bad but expensive and
easily damaged by hurricanes - and of course these house-dwellers are
already depending on a familymenber with regular cash income). the sad
resdt lives in a tinroofed perversion of their traditional huts - you get
baked during dry season, cannot talk to each other during rains (cause of
the noise), they are easily damaged in hurricanes and doring those also
lifethreatening as the tins fly all over the place frequently decaptuirng

btw, my statement above 'only 5% still live in trad. houses' is actually
wrong - many of the people living in traditional bures are those who have
been abroad in australia or newzealand for years, then came back and built
these beAutiful dwellings.

*traditional bioregional housing* is certainly first choice - but while it
is 'cheap' in terms of the material coming right from the place or close
surroundings without cashexpense, they are very 'expensive' in tewrms of
labor. traditional house building is usually a joint effort of the whole
village - and with the breakdown of the traditional social structures the
labor of the neighbours has to be 'paid for' - if not in cash so with gifts
and feeding them for the week or two that it takes to build the house. thus
traditional housing is as hard to afford as are 'standard' houses for many
in this world.

(on top of that the trad. houses usually have very low ranking in terms of
prestige with the young people - this is a rich man's world, and only those
who have been away and into this rich world again appreciate the old ways.)

(p.s.: all the percentage numbers are my personal estimates from what i
have seen, no statistics)



follow your heart -
it is the only way to heaven on earth.. .  .
******************* * * *  *   *    *      *         *

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