Previously, we discussed the motivation and drive behind Re-viv. If you’re interested please go take a look at our earlier post, Ms. Pam Project is what set the wheels in motion so to speak.Continuing on those core beliefs, we are embarked on our journey exploring the nature of community and space.Specifically, I want to take a moment to share with you the following article: How we live now: inside the revolution in urban living.It breaks down five separate type of buildings and how they have shaped their community.Each one is unique and is attempting to solve our growing problem with affordable housing. The article breaks it down by time, in a sense of how long one plans to be in the residing in that physical space.
At the base of our piece, we have The Internet Café in Tokyo. For those of you not familiar with the concept, essentially it is a café where you have access to showers, beds, meals and anything else you may need. It’s a home away from home. They also have entertainment areas where you can socialize with other people. For the most part, this doesn’t seem like a foreign concept to me, it closely is associated with a hotel, just much more affordable, conveniently close to work, and personal. The main critique with these type of places for me is sustainability. The issue isn’t necessarily economic sustainability, its social sustainability. Essentially these cafés create isolation; it’s briefly mentioned in the article that these places are ultimately taking community and digitalizing it. The question I pose to you though is what do we value as a community is it the physical closeness to others or is it more of an emotional state? If it’s the latter then perhaps this model is revolutionizing the way we relate to one another, posing the idea if we are all alone together are we really alone? And who’s to say that digital communities are any less important or culturally significant than physical ones. Just take a look at Pokémon Go. It is a largely digital community that has now become a physical one, bringing together people who normally would not have crossed paths, yet even in this case, there is still an emphasis on the in-person connection.
On the opposite side of the housing dilemmas, we have the Inland Empire. The main objective of these houses is to be a place for decades. It’s a home which essentially has two entrances for two separate families that share part of the house. It’s a clever way to maximize space and resources for the growing residency of Southern California. Suddenly the same space can house more than one family while retaining the quaint nature of the suburbs. Here we are presented with a vastly different way of living. While the Internet Café’s focus on a technology based community, we are returning to family based home in the Inland Empire. Here the question isn’t about sustainability, it’s about the effect this has on our lives. If we take the model of the internet Café and contrast it to the Inland Empire, we are exploring the differences in accessibility and the role it plays in our lives. The Internet Café’s advantage is that it’s close to work and allows you to interact with people outside of your immediate family. It’s broadening your interactions allowing you to explore and view different ways of life. While the homes in the Inland Empire are nice, perhaps they could benefit from broader community Internet Café’s are providing.
It seems that while this piece is exploring affordable housing, it really is tackling the greater task of urban revitalization. It’s interesting and exciting to see that we are taking the same structure we’ve always had and reinventing/revisiting them. The other locations discussed fall somewhere in between this spectrum. Some have a greater focus on accessibility to the larger cities while others have a greater focus on families building towards a greater future. But one thing is clear all them show that despite the complex socio-economic issues we are all faced with, the only thing we can turn to is our communities. We’re adapting and pioneering a new age of community, the broadening of the digital era has forced us to look not only at our immediate community but a greater one. It’ll be interesting to see how this will develops, like stated before the generation of the future wants to be close to everything, feel a part of their community and be able to experience all the amenities the suburbs can’t offer us. It’s all evolving not just American entrepreneurialism, economies across the world.