Sunday, August 30, 2009

Community and Design

My family moved to Reston, Virginia in 1969. It was called a new town, and my mother attracted to the exiting new community that was forming around Lake Ann Plaza. They realized it was an ideal place to raise children.
Because Reston was designed by Robert E. Simon to be a walking community, my mother was thrilled that she would not have to drive us everywhere we went. As young adolescents, my sister and I covered a lot of ground. It was a win/win...freedom for my mother, freedom for us. I spent my childhood, mostly unsupervised, meandering through nature with walking trails that lead to Lake Anne Plaza, the community pools, lakes, community centers, horse barns, schools and clusters of beautiful, modern town homes.

Thanks to Wikipedia, I just now learned Lake Anne Plaza was designed by James Rossant to emulate the Italian coastal town of Portofino. A little factoid I did not know about my hometown, but when I visited the villages of Cinque Terra, Italy, as I sat in the piazze eating wonderful food, I watched the children playing wildly about the piazza on a Friday night, while the parents sat at the tables of the outdoor cafes, sipping wine and visiting with friends. I was reminded of my own childhood, so similar on any given Friday night on Lake Anne Plaza. We were wide open and allowed to roam while our parents ate and drank at the cafe.

In 2003 as result of finding each other through a spontaneous reunion happened on Lake Ann Plaza with the now, scattered across the planet, group of souls that bonded on that plaza during all the revolutionary changes of the 60's and 70's.

I grew up in a well designed town. It developed my interest in nature, design, art and architecture. Today I found a great slide show on another planned city called Forest Hills Gardens, in Queens, New York. Forest Hills Gardens introduced the British garden City movement to the United States and is now 100 years old.

I was listening to a local radio program last week about a new sustainable living model being developed called agriburbia .
The idea is that the homeowners association provides the infrastructure for the farmers. So, the town itself would build the greenhouse, irrigation, barns, and equipment needed while building a community around farming. It makes good sense to me. Developers love to build communities around golf courses, which don't really appeal to me. I grew up with fields and rivers and streams and barns. I would love to see a community developed that centered itself around such things.

Yesterday I was going over a landscape plan with a couple who live on Heavenly Mountain. Heavenly Mountain is a beautiful meditation community and spiritual retreat. As soon as you enter the gate, you can sense the peaceful energies of the area. Yet another example of intention for community.

These things are on my mind as I dream of my next home. I spent a few afternoons this week sketching designs for a Cob House I would love to build.
On my 49th birthday I treated my self to a week long Cob Building workshop in Tennessee. There is a magical quality that draws me to the sculptured earth friendly home. I don't know how it could all come together yet, but obviously my soul is talking to me about community and home. I have learned to follow my soul wherever it leads me, though I do get distracted from time to time, usually via having to earn a living.....and if the perfect wee cottage shows up in my life that I don't have to pat together from mud, I may take that instead....just sayin....

I am enjoying the winged insects and thier late summer songs. They inspire me to day dream, and vision for what I want to create next in my wee little gardeners life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi all. How are you?