Insecurity of tenure

ImageThe popular myth, firmly held by those who have it, is that security of tenure is an essential foundation for any built environment. There is however an opposite view. Insecurity of tenure can be a very valuable planning tool in reducing the negative carbon footprint of buildings.

 

 

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When you have security you build more than you need because it is an investment and there is an opportunity for capital gain. When you have insecurity you build only what you need.

 

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Insecurity of tenure was an important design constraint for the New Zealand bach. Security was a key factor in the metamorphosis of the bach into the beach house. For the bach the environment was everything and the building was like a tent. There were no boundaries, no one was excluded, and the world was to be shared. The social life was easy when no one owned anything. Perhaps somewhere else the doctor or the lawyer owned more than others, but in the bach community everyone was equal.

The beach house has locked doors and fences. People are excluded from the private domain of people who feel possessive of the environment. At best kaitiakitanga gives way to guardianship. At worst the beach house owner feels free to destroy what they see as their own.

Council planners never understood any of this. They wanted to control, as they always do, but found they were dealing with bach owners who did not want to control. Ownership was seen quite differently and the planners set out to destroy what they did not understand, as they always do.

Only one planning control was needed to protect the environment and to ensure that another generation of New Zealanders would be able to experience a truly sustainable building. Insecurity of tenure.

This simple constraint on pride and possession can be found beyond the shores of New Zealand. On the Okanagan Indian Reserve in Canada leases are for only one year, and there is always the prospect of the lease not being renewed. Of course they have been renewed but the planning constraint remains in place. You may need to walk away.

People build only what they need. There are no concrete footpaths and no services. People lead a simple live just as they do in baches. There is comfort, laughter and a wonderful sense of community. The gardens are superb. With a garden you do not need to think beyond the growing season.

 

ImageSecurity gets in the way of green architecture.

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Poor access is a planning constraint

 

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Spa pool heated by immersed firebox

 

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