pattern language

Components of New Settlements Ten — Modules (Introduction)


It’s revolutionary to think of a world where people live in pedestrian communities that offer most of the things one needs within walking distance: commerce, entertainment, spiritual outlets, health and education and so forth and so on. To make this happen, we need settlements that have a population of 5-10,000 in areas of roughly a mile square. These can be built anywhere where there is space. The U.S. Has less than 100 persons per square mile overall. We have the room.

It is revolutionary to have a settlement in which most energy results from recycling and generation of energy from the sun and wind. Only if the scale is large enough to permit full-bore attention to these matters will alternative energy be more than a chimera. What energy we need will come from within the settlement and be supplemented as necessary by the nation’s power grid.

As revolutionary as these things are, the most revolutionary change may prove to be a modular approach to life itself. Surely we have beginnings of this. But we do not have a system in which what used to be the automobile industry is now the module industry and one does not live in a room that is part of a house or a building that was built as a stand-alone dwelling.

No, one lives in a matrix or skeleton or frame of supporting arteries  in spaces that incoroirate modules which are fitted together in a manner quite similar to lego pieces. The proliferation of modules requires only that the components have a default means of connection. Any module should be able to fit into any shell or skeleton or matrix. We do not want Betamax VCR wars!

I shall have more to say about modules. But the first thing to grasp is that they are like cars. They are made wherever they are made and carried to wherever the settlement is. Furthermore if one moves from California to Louisiana, one has the option of taking one’s module along. Or of having another one just like it.


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