The time is now.
On a local level here in Bend, land and home prices are out of reach for the vast majority of working residents, families and seniors. The cost of renting a home has skyrocketed recently due to a small supply and a huge demand. Securing housing in Bend has never been so challenging for critical, contributing members and aging seniors in our community. Waiting for the next economic "correction" in hopes that the problems of today will disappear is irrational and irresponsible. They will only rear their ugly heads again at a later date. We must create models today of long-term sustainable housing, connective, supportive, diverse communities that provide insulation from market forces.
On a global level, the reality of climate change is forcing us to reassess how we live in reciprocity with the planet. Natural resources that we once took for granted are now in jeopardy. Our practices must change. We are being asked to rethink how we create and use energy, dispose of waste, allocate and treat water and live in a way that encourages sharing of resources. This project integrates this shift into everyday living. It changes our relationship with each other and with the planet in ways that point toward a more connected, satisfying existence.
The initial goal of this project is to create a single neighborhood for a handful of Bend residents. But the larger goal is to use this project as a testing ground to demystify and redefine a number of relationships: between developers and residents, municipalities and new codes and systems, residents with each other, seniors and children, our relationship with our cars, our relationship with the planet. In the end, after the lessons are learned, the processes are documented, and we find a preferred way of doing things, we will have a prototype. It will be a living, breathing environment that people can walk through, interact with and become inspired by. It will become the inheritance of the next generation; a system that will be built upon and evolved through the ages. It will be a model of inclusion, regeneration, compassion for others, emotional and physical health and wellness and will address how to create systems of support for all who choose to live this way.