Human begins, are the only species inhabiting the plant earth which have the capacity to aspire fulfillment as a driving ingredient to their existence. Above all other species of life, all of which are depended upon specific natural circumstances to survive, humans are dependent upon specific non-biological and physical elements in order to truly live in a manner which is fulfilling and inspirational to themselves and productive their families and communities.
The world of the 21st century, while offering technological advances and social liberties never experienced or imagined, is dictating the need to reestablish our priorities. The modern world offers so many choices that “needs” are often eclipsed by “convenience.” We have sacrificed so much for convenience at the expense of the “American Dream.” This has permeated throughout the world and, to a large degree, translated into a place of confused priorities and, often, misinterpreted blame.
The 21st century human is less occupied with self-improvement and preservation and more often consumed by wasteful decisions. People in today’s world are locked in the emotional present with little or any connection to the past or constructive vision for the future, which results in a disregard for the places and events that form our present environment and little concern for the long term consequences of our life choices. The inability to articulate the goals and true needs of our human environment results in the in ability to understand and appreciate what truly is useful in the present.
The un-sustainability of our built environment is being proven daily as local and state governments clamor for means to maintain and support existing infrastructure, much less maintaining the ability to fund new roads, schools, etc. Shrinking tax bases are making this issue more poignant in almost every downtown community in America. Our building and development industry has been funded by a commodity oriented business model which has totally eclipsed the fact that the underlying intent of development is to provide places for living, service and recreation. This model is substantiated by government zoning regulations that, while improving, more often than not are driven by politicians traffic engineers with no recognition of the long term impact to the social environment that is so critical for healthy human interaction.
Today’s world is consumed by pop-icons and superstar athletes, the newest greatest gadget and automobiles that we have lost the art of ordinary accomplishment. The intuitive satisfaction of family dinner around the kitchen table it eclipsed by TV trays, drive-throughs and saccharine promotions like “Lobsterfest,” all of which is a product of the consumer driven world that we blindly accept. Disappointment in our circumstances establishes blame without guidance for correction.
We inherently seek special places where we can experience the nostalgia of ordinary experience for special occasions or vacation, but somehow have forfeited the idea that human beings require this experience on a regular basis. Many great new examples of development exist in the United States and abroad which address the human environment. Many individuals have established themselves within these environments as happy, often with less material demands than what they have required in the past. What do they have in common? How can the essence of these projects and places be repeated ? What is the current environmental baseline of my life and to what ecological and emotional standards should I aspire? What ingredients to I have in my marketplace to create or restore places that improve the human environment and better impact my neighbors and family? How does a healthy human environment affect my life? What are the regulatory hurdles in my market to create a healthy place to live? How do I understand the historic and cultural values of my region? How are sound historic patterns appropriately reflected in new design? To what degree of historic exactness can my market tolerate? What businesses and retailers should represent my community? How do I attract them while avoiding others? How do understand the value of and inspire the arts and music communities in my area to underscore these cultural values? How do I document this process for the purpose of leaving an adequate roadmap for myself and future generations? How will my efforts and example inspire others? How will we collectively establish a responsible yet practical plan for dealing with sprawl and the issues within our communities that can be improved?
The new paradigm of the human environment must address whims while nourishing our needs.
A balanced human environment accommodates our lifestyle choices (where we live, conveniences, etc.) with social, cultural and ecological imperatives. Any built environment must accommodates the these imperatives are necessary