Thursday, July 12, 2007

now...about that dacha village

OK, so just thinking about my Dacha village.

my architect and planner friends can help me on this...

Crazy, I know, but Ive actually been thinking about this...is it possible to replicate this is Canada?

The culture is different, and we have nothing that resembles it...this would make things like land use bylaws and designations tricky...but stranger things have been done...

Culture:

This is a big obstacle. In Canada we vacation differently...but does that mean we have to do it this way? There are a few things people take for granted in the way they think about their holiday.

1) We like to get away, which usually means: away from other people

2) We just wanna get there and kick back and relax - lie on our backs in the sun

3) We want to shut off our brains and not think for a while

4) We want to have freedom to go anywhere we want at any time

6) Even though we get away, we want all the comforts of home.

there must be more, these are a few basic ones. Im OK with these...OK, great go ahead, buy and RV, take a trip to the bahamas, stay in a fancy resort and eat lobster...Im cool with that - actually I think it sounds nice too....

BUT! I also think some of us want to do the exact opposite, and there is little (er no...)opportunity to do so.

So I propose an alternative...

1) We like to get away which usually means away from other people
well, this maybe true, and some may want to venture into the woods and hang out with bears and mosquitoes. Some of us, on the other hand, find our city lives lonely, and want to find some time to actually really spend time with people, to visit, and to make close friends. We need a place where people are there not to get away from us, but to work and spend time together...bizarre? I think not.

2) We just wanna get there and kick back and relax - lie on our backs in the sun
Wow, well, this too sounds pretty fair. But hey there are some of us who work at desk jobs, who want to spend time in the sun, not lying down, but making things and the world better. We want to be working in a garden, making our art and music, cooking delicious food, sewing gifts, helping a neighbour fix their fence. Some get away and do sports, but some of us prefer to dig hands in the dirt over skiing or mountain climbing...call me crazy...

3) We want to shut off our brains and not think for a while
hmmm, well my brain is truly over worked...but there are so many things I want to learn about. I want to take yoga classes, dance classes, learn about gardening, how to build a house, how to tie every kind of knot. Kids spend summer camp learning - why do we just want to eat and drink and sleep when we get older? now thats bizarre!

4) We want to have freedom to go anywhere we want at any time
well, I put this in because I think - especially in Alberta, people say this as the reason for their RV. People like to get in and go all over. Now thats just fine, but sometimes, its nice to go where you've been before. To spend time fixing a place up and know it will be there next year. To know the poeple there, and to have some comfort in that. I like to travel as much as the next guy, but some of us need a little grounding too.

6) Even though we get away, we want all the comforts of home.
Hard to dispute...and some think, on this one, I'm totally out to lunch. OK fine, get then, off to your resort...but others can't deny there is something totally magical in hearing the wind in the trees at night, watching the room get dark in evening and sitting around in candle light, swimming in a pond to clean off, and going to the local watering hole to get your bucket of drinking water. Now I am an extremest. I understand some of these things are just not appropriate for Canada. Those Russians, trust me, are much tougher than we are. But I think a rustic experience - I dont mean Canmore rustic, Im talking Dacha rustic, is essential sometimes...

What I propose:

OK, Im gonna draw pictures, figure out the bylaw and ownership agreements and how much it would all cost in due time, but for now this is what I propose:

A development, specially meant for city dwellers (like myself) who live in the city for thier jobs and other reasons but who have a desire to spend time with nature and in a community. (crunchy granolas who have to wear suits...=)

-It would be moderately inexpensive - like a camper trailer for the building and the lot..plus fees.
-It would have similar ownership as a co-housing unit
-It would have some central amenities including a store, gallery to show creation and sell, big hall for classes and gatherings, swimming pond, a creek with bridges, open green area, place for kids to play, knowledgable staff to help in gardens.
-It would have minor ammenities, like irrigation for gardens, communal water pumps (think camp ground) solar heated showers, simple pellet stoves (or similar) composting toilets, and all that jazz...
-specific for summer use but maybe in future could become winter usable

lables for it could be -
a garden village,
lifestyle retreat,
sustainable center for learning,
artists garden,
cottage cluster...you get the picture.

It would have to be developed properly to avoid it turning away from the intention. (I'm picturing the way many people think of camping - as a beer, partying, shouting, pick-up truck driving, fest....not that thats a problem for some, but we're looking something different...remember?)

Let me know what you think!

1 comment:

Cam and Michelle said...

Michelle loves your dacha idea & wants to help with planning, drawing, etc.

~Cam