Or as Bill Hicks would say, “Let’s evolve.”
Here are some ideas, heavily influenced by permaculture principles.
Many homes are sitting vacant, falling apart, eager to be demolished. These structures are perfect candidates to support a new kind of housing. Through our understanding of botany and ecology and their potential as art, we can transform the home into a symbiont, and dissolve boundaries between human and nature; indoors and outdoors.
This idea is popping up all over the world:
However, rather than constructing a scaffold to guide the trees, and allowing pre-built structures with preset windows, piping, and heating to be bulldozed for eight to ten-thousand dollars, that money can fund a caretaker’s salary, who monitors the project in collaboration with artists, scientists and engineers
It is a long-term project, with long-term goals. That ultimately being the phasing out of fossil fuels used in the home, and the sequestering of carbon. Multiple ambient heat sources would be utilized in “Treehouse 2.0”, including passive solar, thermophilic compost, wood stove (cooking and backup heat). Power would be harnessed from bountiful rains in the northeast, to either charge batteries or perform a direct function, such as spin a wood lathe. Other bioregions could harness wind, animal power, etc. Treehouse would act as a greenhouse, where edible and medicinal plants are grown year-round, and fast-growing, carbon-intensive plants are turned into biochar to amend soil and prolong the life of Treehouse.
The best places to find house skeletons are in neighborhoods where home values have plummeted. Detroit comes to mind first. Other towns such as Cleveland sound promising. There are millions of such structures across the nation. Just go exploring in a town near you!
I have begun preparing a basement in such a vacant home that was subdivided years ago and left abandoned. The first stage in the retrofitting process is to create a compost greenhouse and artists studio. Paper and food products are composted with the help of animals, and plastic compressed and used as insulation (maybe not?). Nature moves at a slow pace, and a designer can comfortably work at that same pace, without the looming threat of a deadline.
What better way to rejuvenate a desolate area than to turn it into an other dimension!