The World House Project is a Toronto-based studio that is examining the past, present, and future of housing. Ultimately, the project team hopes to create a system that "operates on the principles of sustainability, universality, technological responsiveness and balance, so that we may create dwellings that promote the long-term health of nature and human cultures." After the global disaster of 1960s and 70s modernist housing projects, it's encouraging to see a group brushing the dust off of the concept of social housing and trying to infuse it with some new energy. We've learned a lot since the "commie blocks" went up, and it's time to start re-imagining how to implement a sustainable system for providing safe and comfortable housing to all residents of our cities.
The WHP's website has a really fantastic outline of the incredibly complex network of system that is the contemporary dwelling. While the second half of the list breaks down the more practical elements (water, energy, waste), the first few illuminate, very eloquently, some of the less tangible aspects of what turns housing into homes. My personal favorite is the first:
"Identity: Home is where the heart is – a popular phrase that captures the role that place plays in defining personal belonging. Our sense of self, our cultural patterns, and our relationship to society are embodied in dwellings. The creation of ‘home’ pages on the World Wide Web is a testament to the role the home takes in representing ourselves to the world at large."
Quiet ideas too loud to ignore at the Institute without Boundaries (Globe and Mail)
World House Project
WHP's Twelve Systems of Housing Design