Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Problem of Living Space

As anyone who has followed my past blogging will note, there has been a change in some of my posts, away from food and towards an interest in community. In truth, this is not really a change in direction, of my interests or passions, so much as my finally putting into words, my lifelong passion for the built environment that humans live in. For me, community is not just a place where I live, but, an over-arching construct of my professional and personal lives. I exist in a constant state of observation of the built environment, and for modern man, that means, the places and spaces where community is created and where it lives.

And in truth, where it lives is a problem for many. I am not talking poverty, homelessness or similar issues. But, how does a community provide for those, who are either starting out in life, find themselves down sizing, or are simply in need of a space to live, while working out other details of their lives. This proposes a very real problem, for many people, who are trying to find that career, or who are creating some of the new models of commerce or technology, the familiar models of apartments and houses simply do not work. The costs being too high, or the locations of the houses not being close enough to work, requiring even more assets for a car or commute. For some, the solution if Co-Living.

Far from the old model of simply Cooperative Housing, this new model encourages a live-work space that seeks to create an enriched space, in which business, intellect and creative response to problems is encouraged. One of the first, and certainly the most notable effort, is the "intentional community" of the Rainbow Mansion in Cupertino, California. This is something of a mind bending community, but, one that represents a "Alpha" model of what might be achieved in any community that is seeking to create and encourage innovation and grass-roots growth and community sustainability. Far from the co-ops of our 1960's youth, or from the ideas of fear, that it is just a bunch of people who can't get out of their own way, these houses function as incubators for the next generation of entrepreneurs and thinkers.

This is one way, that highly motivated and creative people can start to find ways to live in the communities that they ultimately want to see flourish, on their way to changing the world. For San Leandro, it might be a solution to losing our young mind trust, who often migrate to Oakland or San Francisco, looking for stimulation and experiences that they do not yet perceive to exist at home. Let's begin to think about creating spaces where home in San Leandro, means a dynamic, intellectually challenging and truly diverse experience. A salon for the innovation economy community.

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