In the course of just a few hours I watched the weather outside my home office change from intense snow pellets to big fluffy snowflakes, then to steady rain and finally to a foggy drizzle, all of which were accompanied by blustery winds. At some point I realized that the common thread running through my response to all those weather elements took the form of my appreciation for the shelter I enjoyed.
The hemlocks, firs and cedars…even the spring flowers…seemed to take it all in stride, reminding me of just how detached - and in many ways fragile and vulnerable - our human species has become.
Almost daily we face a barrage of headlines, news reports and heartbreaking images of people in this country, and all around the world, whose basic built environment has been denied them or reduced to ruins by natural disasters, extreme weather events or, perhaps worse, by destruction brought about at the hands of man. And yet, it remains so easy for many of us to take this most fundamental of necessities for granted.
Cover. Protection. Refuge. At the core of the built environment is our common desire and commitment to provide safe places for people as they go about their lives, especially in unusual or threatening situations. And while it is unlikely that we will ever devise completely foolproof, 100% guaranteed protection in the buildings we design and construct, we can still make that part of our goal if only we choose to.
Already this year, numerous communities have been ravaged by outrageous weather events even as recovery is underway from previous tragedies…tornados, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis. Property damage totaling into the billions of dollars strain federal and regional relief programs and yet don’t even begin to address the loss of life and human suffering.
Shelter needs not only to be attainable, it must be sustainable. The building industry needs to embrace vision, inspiration and innovation in a unified response to the growing demands for homes, neighborhoods and communities that provide safe dwellings and all the kinds of places where we work and play.
Let’s commit to sustainable solutions to help meet the present and future challenges we’ll all be facing as we strive to provide shelter in an increasingly unpredictable world.
Posted: 4/17/2012 5:35:27 PM by
Mary Kestner | with 2 comments