Monday, October 22, 2012

ARE YOU PREPARED?

How stressful life is when you're not prepared!  Challenges happen to everyone, of course, but those who are prepared can weather these challenges with sometimes no more than inconvenience.  For example: my car breaks down and I have no emergency fund set aside, so I cannot get it fixed and now I cannot get to work = emergency.  An emergency is just something we failed to plan for.


"Car Breakdown" courtesy of andrijbulba

Emergencies can be loss or reduction of income, natural disasters (everything from a flooded basement to a major earthquake), divorce, death of a loved one, drought, debt or bankruptcy, wild animal infestation, meteor the size of Alaska.... but I digress.


"2009 Leonid meteor" courtesy of navicore

Challenges are not avoidable, they can be planned for!
So, what does this have to do with architecture?  Yeah, I know.  Not EVERYTHING has to do with architecture.  But in my world, there's almost always a connection.


1.  Do you have a generous pantry, basement, or cellar space for food storage?


Image courtesy of digiyesica

2.  Is your home (for most people, the most expensive item they will ever buy) affordable, so that a reduction of income would neither force you to sell nor foreclose?


Image courtesy of 生活童話


Image courtesy of NancyHugoCKD
3.  Will you still have heating, cooling, ventilation & hot water to keep you (and more importantly, your children & elderly) comfortable if you lose your access to electricity and/or natural gas?


Thermal Rock Wall by Jeremy Levine Design
On this partly cloudy day, solar heat had the water 
up near 150 degrees.  Image courtesy of JoePhoto

4.  Can your home be easily adjusted to accommodate a tenant or an aged parent?


This lovely image "Feeding the Dog," courtesy of EdYourdon

5.  Do you harvest rainfall for landscaping or other use (be sure to verify local laws regarding rain harvesting)?


Image courtesy of GlamourShatz

6.  Do you have a vegetable garden with significant solar access and gardening knowledge?


Image courtesy of salvadonica

7.  Can your home be secured if necessary?


Stables with surrounding brick wall at Tintinhull House, 
South Somerset.  Image courtesy of EllBrown

8.  Do you have renewable energy sources (passive or active) that reduce your draw on the grid, protecting you from rises in energy rates?


Solar PV system at Lick Wilmerding, Califonia.  This system
makes roughly 1% of the school's electricity.
Image courtesy of mjmonty
Sustainability
This list is starting to look like elements that in the building world would be referred to as "green" or "sustainable."  You know, those things that yuppies are interested in paying more money for, but there's no real value there?  
What sustainability really refers to is an ability to endure.  That seems worth something to me!  

Image courtesy of photologue_np

Stress
When "they" talk about modern stress, it always seems like they reference video games or technology in general or the fast pace of life.  But what about our inability to be self sufficient?


"Stress."  Image courtesy of DaveF

I don't have anything to back me up, but I believe our modern reliance on supermarkets and utilities and credit cards and foreign manufacturers causes stress.   I don't know how to to make my own soap or toothpaste or antibiotic ointment.  My family could not survive one Rocky Mountain winter on my slim gardening & non-existent hunting skills.  If our gas gets turned off: brrrrrrrrrr.


"From the Mountains...America the Beautiful" 
courtesy of EdgarZuniga

On the other side of the spectrum, families living in rural farms in Tuscany might not even notice if their "services" were discontinued: a mere inconvenience, then life pretty much continues as before.


Tuscan farm image courtesy of Gruenemann

Jealous.