The Global Ecology and the Housing Crisis

In terms of fixing the housing crisis, President Obama seems to have a good heart in wanting to keep families in housing rather than having more people added to the homeless problem. But he doesn't fully take a holistic approach to solving the crisis. In his Mesa, Arizona speech [Feb 19, 2009], he says, “In the end, the home mortgage crisis, the financial crisis, and the broader economic crisis are interconnected.” What Obama failed to mention is how underlying the economy is our life-support system, the ecology, which is also in crisis. Without this fundamental understanding, he fails to address the root causes of the housing crisis which is the way we have exploited the natural resources of America in order to build an unsustainable lifestyle that has no long-term future.

American capitalist developers became rich and greedy by building urban sprawl making cities like Phoenix and its suburbs socially isolating, and a transportation nightmare caused by the private automobile. Class housing divisions within the “American Dream” built neighborhoods of mansions and slums. As long as the American dream is divided on class lines, we will not be a country where all children have an equal opportunity to self-actualize. We should be glad that such a n unfair housing system is collapsing and that the number of residential construction jobs has fallen “by more than a quarter million since mid-2006.” This is actually good news for the global ecology and gives us time to create a plan that actually builds a democratic society of equal opportunity for all.

By not adding the ecological crisis in the solution mix, Obama has the wrong idea on how to fix the multi-level problem. We need a new paradigm in housing, economics, energy and transportation that redefines human life within cities. Such a lifestyle transforms the traditional American Dream housing model into a 21 st Century model of ecocity development that creates a lifestyle based on sharing and conserving resources. To create such a profound lifestyle shift, the president needs an overarching architectural plan that inspires us to build cities in ecological ways. Architect Paolo Soleri calls such design arcology, a model that is car free, conserves water, shares resources, and encourages locally grown agricultural.

To construct an arcology requires ingenuity, innovation, and invention from science and engineering and cooperation, communalism and peace within the realm of sociology and experiments in egalitarianism. It demands that we find the social imagination and collective wisdom to build something entirely new and exciting with 21 st Century technology. The arcology model could be a truly bipartisan project that creates a union of purpose for America and frees the world from a form of civilization that is doomed to war because of its ceaseless need for imperialistic markets.

With the collapse of Wall Street there is much talk about America turning towards socialism and the nationalizing of banks. But without a new vision of how socialism could transform our social and physical architecture in the way we design cities, the socialism we may experience might be of the type that caused the down fall of the Soviet state and created a hellish police state and nuclear arms race.

Now, with this new rise of socialism, it is time to visualize a new model of “People's Palaces” or a people's arcology by declaring sustainable housing a human right for all. In such a world, homelessness would be a tragedy of history. But to manifest such a vision requires clear thinking, social idealism, and the love for equality and justice. Call it a Lovolution, a revolution of the heart.

As long as President Obama bails out the housing and auto industry, and advocates the concept that “economic growth” is good, he blocks out alternative possibilities. He will continue feeding money to a dying housing and trans portation system rather than constructing a new architectural and social paradigm needed to save us from a hostile environment brought on by the American dream middle-class lifestyle that has caused global heating.

To read more about these ideas on how to transform American housing:

Arcology Phoenix

12 th Hour for Arcology

True Love Instead of War World: Rebuilding Gaia's Temple

(part on what went wrong with the Russian Revolution )


Human Extinction or Lovolution?