Three stage construction of dwellings is being proposed for the integrated, sustainable community to allow for harmonic growth, meaning that the initial participants can start with much less: fewer materials, and a simpler skill and tool set. As they settle in, get to know each other and develop their knowledge and skills, more advanced building techniques can be used. Here are the three stages being proposed.
This stage will use prebuilt kits that are intended to last one to ten years. The design could include one or more of the following structures: Ecopod, Ecocapsule, Micro Cabin, Cabin Kit, Portable Cabin or Yurt. These structures can be prepared in advance, then trucked in, fully built, or trucked in as a kit and assembled on site.
This stage is meant to last an order of magnitude greater than Stage One or 10 to 100 years. The buildings constructed in this phase are closer to what the average North American would expect. Ecologically friendly and sustainable materials will be used, such as earth blocks and straw bales. Adjustment can be made according to which materials are locally available.
This last stage is not what the average civilized person may expect today. It stems from the work that the Pyramid Builders did, that still lasts today. Advanced construction techniques were used, some of which we do not now possess. These would have to be recreated so that the structures developed in this third and final stage will last an order of magnitude or greater than the previous stage, or 100 to 1000 years plus.
The idea for this three stage process came to me as I was walking past some well spaced buildings next to a river on a beautiful Victoria Day weekend. I reflected on the fact that a number of the older houses on farms I had seen in my lifetime to date had been replaced. To build on the same location as the original building, the occupants had to move out of the old building, live in a temporary shelter such as a mobile home or camper for three or four months, tear down the old structure, build the new one, and then move in, once the new dwelling was complete.
I had the privilege of a new house being built in front of the old ramshackle farmhouse I was in, instead of using the "move-out-tear-down-rebuild" method. When the new, up-to-date house was ready, all I had to ask was for friends and family to help for a day, make the short walk to the new building and move in. This was much easier.
If this idea is put into the plan for new construction from the building, the original building set could be placed off center, perhaps in a kidney shape, with a concrete patio or other placeholder defining the Stage Two building location. After Stage Two has been built, the Stage One location could then be visualized as the location for Stage Three, the long term, permanent structure described above.