I remember very clearly the forts that my brother and i used to build most Sunday mornings. Towels and sheets slung between upturned boxes, the clothes airer and chairs stacked precariously on one another. These small, temporary structures fulfilled the purpose of our imagination and could be amended at will – turning from a fort to a ship with ease. Many of you will have similarly fond memories of building these spaces as children, yet the transient and tiny nature that we celebrated so highly at some point became something that we avoided.
Bricks and mortar – solidity – space – these became what many of us coveted as we grew. A room of our own and eventually a home of our own. Whether we stayed local or travelled afar, many of us thought that the bigger the home the more successful we were and therefore the happier we were also. We pushed ourselves to strive as large as possible – we worked hard and we deserved it. The bigger the better right?
But now, in a time of record levels of anxiety, stress and depression, we know that the pressures of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ is not healthy and certainly not globally sustainable.
Reimagining what home actually is, is more important than ever – both as a community and as a structure. The term ‘alternative lifestyles’ and ‘lifestyle design’ have boomed in popularity over the recent years as people find alternative paths to living that perhaps do not involve a brick house full of things that they don’t really use. We are filling the physical void along with the emotional void that consumption brings. We buy things again – because we deserve it…
But what do we really deserve? A roof over our heads – sure. But does it have to be on a massive brick house? Not at all. It may be an off grid cabin, it may be van, it may be a boat, like Dora. It may even just mean living in the neatest space you can rather than sprawling over as much footprint as possible.
Home is many different things but it’s value should not be measured in square metres.