|Slow Lifestyle + Share Buy Housing|
We don’t need any more big ideas. We need small ideas. Beautiful ideas. Beautiful because they lead to a large number of beautiful small actions, the kind alluded to by Wendell Berry: ‘Soil is not usually lost in slabs or heaps of magnificent tonnage. It is lost a little at a time over millions of acres by careless acts of millions of people. It cannot be solved by heroic feats of gigantic technology, but only by millions of small acts and restraints.'
Many of us, professionals and regular people, alike are feeling their lives are overly hectic or emotionally out of kilter, and are looking for ways to restore the balance. We are looking to leading a mindful life.
Living a mindful life seems more difficult now than it was in the past. The fast life is all around us – fast food, fast cars, fast conversations, fast families, fast holidays. We may be living great lives but we aren't ‘there’ for them. We don’t take the time to linger over food, over friends, over our family etc. We are not savouring our life and are starving of the real connection to our life.
The solution is self-explanatory. We slow down and connect with our life. But often it is easier said than done. Each fast aspect of our life is necessary for other fast aspects to happen, and we have been fooled into thinking we need, or even must, be fast and have what the ‘fast life’ gives us.
The Slow Movement
Slow Food seeks to revive our “quiet material pleasure” in food, with a commitment to “good, clean, and fair food” and recognition of the “strong connections between plate and planet.”
Slow Money is a movement to “bring money back down to earth” by building local economies and connecting investors to the places they live.
“The Slow Money movement is one of the top five trends in finance for 2011.” Entrepreneur.com
Carl Honoré is the author of “The Power of Slow: Finding Balance and Fulfillment Beyond the Cult of Speed,” + “Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting.
His first book, “In Praise of Slowness,” examines how the world got stuck in fast-forward and chronicles a global trend towards putting on the brakes. “Slow” in this context does not mean doing everything at a snail’s pace. It means doing everything at the right speed. That implies quality over quantity; real and meaningful human connections; being present and in the moment.
Slow parenting is about bringing balance into the home. Children need to strive and struggle and stretch themselves, but that does not mean childhood should be a race. Slow parents give their children plenty of time and space to explore the world on their own terms. They keep the family schedule under control so that everyone has enough downtime to rest, reflect and just hang out together. They accept that bending over backwards to give children the best of everything may not always be the best policy. Slow parenting means allowing our children to work out who they are rather than what we want them to be.
Slow parents understand that child rearing should not be a cross between a competitive sport and product-development. It is not a project; it’s a journey. Slow parenting is about giving kids lots of love and attention with no conditions attached.
Slow schools + slow education can refer to different aspects of education.
Some people use the term slow schools to refer to schools that are attempting to bring slow food to the cafeteria or dining room. For others it has far more implications and includes aspects of connection to knowledge, tradition, moral purpose and all that is important in life. In this sense it refers to the curriculum, the way it is delivered, the process of learning, management of the school, and even if school is the best vehicle through which to educate our children. So in this sense, it refers to bringing the slow movement into education.
Where has the education system in schools gone wrong? It started with taking the responsibility for education away from parents and families and making it compulsory for children to go to school. While schools were accountable to the parents and community the education process had some chance of meeting students and community needs. But where governments have acquired central authority over education, education seems to have become a matter of outcomes – standardised test results.
What better way to be part of the slow movement than to have a good read. The Slow Books movement is about getting back into the love of reading good books. Few people these days spend time each day reading for sheer enjoyment.
When we have time for leisure we tend to fill that time with physical activity or with passive TV viewing. We often have difficulty justifying sitting down and reading a good book, even to ourselves. The pace of our lives and the expectations we place on ourselves result in a life filled with ‘have to’ activities, and very few quiet enjoyment-only activities.
There are many benefits of reading regularly; reduction in stress levels, increased creativity, inspiration and motivation, entertainment and a good laugh, and broader perspectives and more open mind.
Gone are the hectic holiday tours where you flit from one ‘must see’ to another, and arrive home feeling like you need a holiday. Slow travellers stay in one place for at least a week. They usually choose holiday rentals IE houses, cottages, apartments, and villas that are a ‘home away from home’ – you shop and cook just as you would at home. Slow Travel gives you an opportunity to connect to a place and its people, rather than racing through a bunch of cities. It’s about experiencing culture and heritage, not just about finding the nearest fast food drive-thru. In other words, take time to stop and smell the roses.
Sustainable homes, share-buy, cooperative homes, tenants in common, joint ownership, co housing communities, intentional community, and so on. Slow homes are an ageless, international phenomenon. Denmark is the birthplace of co housing. By reducing time and using efficient, modular modern methods of construction can reduce waste resources and time - allowing us to create more sustainable and affordable housing. i-house
Fast homes shaped fast, isolated lives. In taking on their single-family dwellings and their single-family mortgages, families took on the heavy responsibility of meeting material needs independently. Thus arose a fixation on convenience—on foods that were ready fast, on household appliances and gadgets that save time, on cars that get us to work with little hassle.
Since then, things have only gotten faster. We move so fast these days that we rarely slow down to talk to our neighbors, much less have them over for dinner.
The fastness pervades not only the way we build our homes and live in them, but also the way we buy and sell them.
In recent years, many of us made offers on houses, obtained financing, and quickly signed long, jargon-filled contracts and promissory notes without really reading them or fully understanding our promises. Today, so-called “successful” homeowners treat a home as an investment, buying when the market it low, selling when it’s high, moving into a bigger home, maybe flipping that one later, and on and on.
Our housing market also incentives wastefulness, as the cost of tearing down a perfectly good small house and replacing it with a “McMansion” or “Garage Mahal” is often small compared to the potential increase in property value.
John Brown, an architect and realtor in Calgary, Canada, has already made significant headway into describing slow homes. His project, “Slow Home: Design School For Real Life,” has created a definition:
A Slow Home is SIMPLE, LIGHT, and OPEN. It is simple to use and fits the way you want to live. It is light on the environment and your finances and has open, flexible spaces that have a strong connection with the outdoors.
In a slow homes movement, and a just world, there should be ways to simultaneously improve communities and keep longstanding residents in place. There should be ways to provide home ownership opportunities for people of low or fixed incomes. There should be ways to pay for homes using local and humane sources of finance. There should be ways to stabilize the market so that we aren't victims of its sharp rises and falls.
Cooperative housing, shared housing, and subsidized housing are all partial solutions. But a more systemic change could involve removing significant portions of housing from the speculative market so that our cost of living isn't so driven by market forces.
But in this economic climate, sharing is a crucial solution. Many people have decided that sharing home ownership is preferable to losing home ownership in foreclosure. And they are increasingly realizing that sharing costs, responsibilities, and enjoyment of home ownership is far more preferable to, and more fun than, single-family homes, single-family mortgages, and single-family everything.
Pics of 120 living houses from around the world
The purpose of this site is to bring together the various intentional community projects in Australia; co housing, Eco-villages and other co-operatives.
How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community
Discover how to create a more sustainable community with this practical legal guide to forming successful sharing arrangements.
Slow cities are characterised by a way of life that supports people to live slow. Traditions and traditional ways of doing things are valued. These cities stand up against the fast-lane, homogenised world so often seen in other cities throughout the world. Slow cities have less traffic, less noise, fewer crowds.
The movement, is a way of protecting traditions and traditional ways of living. You remember those – before gadgets and communications systems demanded that we be available 24/7? It was formed in Italy in 1999, with the contribution of Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food.
To get the designation, a city must have less than 50,000 residents and meet 55 criteria covering environmental policy, infrastructure, quality of urban fabric, encourage of local produce and products, hospitality and community, and awareness of the Slow City movement. Applying cities are thoroughly vetted before being granted the designation, and are regularly checked to maintain compliance to standards.
Cittaslow is a growing network of 135 towns in 20 countries that have adopted a set of common goals and principles to preserve and enhance the quality of life for their residents and visitors. Cittaslow originated out of the concerns of four mayors for preserving the unique identities and sustainability of their small towns.
Sonoma Valley is the first area in the United States to be designated Cittaslow. It serves Sonoma Valley, and also acts as a model for other towns interested in becoming Cittaslow.
Supporting Good, Clean, and Fair Food
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