Building a home

A sub­urb doesn’t seem like a very log­i­cal loca­tion for the devel­op­ment of an eco-vil­lage. Liv­ing in har­mo­ny with nature while putting up some ter­raced hous­es, can you imag­ine it?

Y. and I step out of our back door and into the mud. Zuiderveld is locat­ed in a swampy area that was tra­di­tion­al­ly used for agri­cul­ture. The cur­rent hous­ing short­age has forced the city to expand here. The soil protests vio­lent­ly, fills up with water and has sucked up many a boot. Large loads of sand are required for construction.

Y. loves the trucks and the dig­gers. He is fas­ci­nat­ed by a fork­lift that is mov­ing a large met­al sheet. The ground thun­ders beneath our feet when the plate comes down. It reminds me of the new BBC doc­u­men­tary about Stone­henge. Hack­ing, dig­ging, drag­ging and build­ing is in our blood; the man in the fork­lift is a cred­it to his ancestors.

New hous­ing devel­op­ments are not a new thing. A few years ago in Scot­land, we vis­it­ed Skara Brae, a vil­lage from the Stone Age (about 5000 years ago). Small hous­es, close togeth­er. A safe place, dry and warm. Peo­ple around you, chil­dren to play with. That is why we all live here, in this new hous­ing development.

Skara Brae and Eco-vil­lage Zuiderveld

Y. and I walk down the street in the direc­tion of the park. A hare shoots away in the nar­row strip of grass between the high­way and the con­struc­tion site. Crows whiz over in search of food. I sud­den­ly won­der: Why can’t we humans set­tle for a war­ren, or a nest high in the tree?

I don’t know what the crows are think­ing or where the hare is run­ning to. I hope that in a few months’ time they will find their way to the large gar­den of the eco-vil­lage. I hope they will con­tin­ue to remind us of what we have lost, as the lac­er­at­ed earth slow­ly heals again.

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