In comparison to the news that the UK housing sector is to be invetsigated, and with the media quick to pick up on the numbers that only 3 in 4 (76%) of people buying new homes are satisfied with quality, I was intrigued to get news from the USA on the emerging Slow Homes Movement.
This movement is similar to the slow food movement that kicks back against the fast food industry, kicking back as it does against the fast home industry – as the worldchanging website states:
Brown (founder of SHM) makes the increasingly known correlation between suburban living and obesity, indicating that fast food and fast housing not only have comparable results within their respective industries, but literally the same result: a declining state of health across a huge swathe of the North American population.
The movement is based on an interesting, worthwhile and common sense set of 10 principles – which may ring a few bells in our own hosuing sustainability / carbon zero agendas – or maybe not :-
1. GO INDEPENDENT Avoid homes by big developers and large production builders. They are designed for profit not people. Work with independent designers and building contractors instead.
2. GO LOCAL Avoid home finishing products from big box retailers. The standardized solutions they provide cannot fit the unique conditions of your home. Use local retailers, craftspeople, and manufacturers to get a locally appropriate response and support your community.
3. GO GREEN Stop the conversion of nature into sprawl. Don’t buy in a new suburb. The environmental cost can no longer be justified. Re-invest in existing communities and use sustainable materials and technologies to reduce your environmental footprint.
4. GO NEAR Reduce your commute. Driving is a waste of time and the new roads and services required to support low density development is a big contributor to climate change. Live close to where you work and play.
5. GO SMALL Avoid the real estate game of bigger is always better. A properly designed smaller home can feel larger AND work better than a poorly designed big one. Spend your money on quality instead of quantity.
6. GO OPEN Stop living in houses filled with little rooms. They are dark, inefficient, and don’t fit the complexity of our daily lives. Live in a flexible and adaptive open plan living space with great light and a connection to outdoors.
7. GO SIMPLE Don’t buy a home that has space you won’t use and things you don’t need. Good design can reduce the clutter and confusion in your life. Create a home that fits the way you really want to live.
8. GO MODERN Avoid fake materials and the re-creation of false historical styles. They are like advertising images and have little real depth. Create a home in which character comes from the quality of space, natural light and the careful use of good, sustainable materials.
9. GO HEALTHY Avoid living in a public health concern. Houses built with cheap materials off gas noxious chemicals. Suburbs promote obesity because driving is the only option. Use natural, healthy home materials and building techniques. Live where you can walk to shop, school and work.
10. GO FOR IT Stop procrastinating. The most important, and difficult, step in the slow home process is the first one that you take. Get informed and then get involved with your home. Every change, no matter how small, is important.