new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

damanhur - 20 people per household  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22172
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.damanhur.org/


For those that don't know, this is a community of about 700 in italy.  They have something of a spiritual core.  And I would have to say that the thing that impresses me most about them is their dedication to art and beauty.  Wow.  I own their book - it is fun to pour through the pages and see all of the amazing beauty they have created.

The story of how they got started is very interesting too.

But!  I want to share something that I just learned from Diana. 

I have been to two or three presentations put on by Damanhur.  And I had come to the impression that they live in households with 12 per house.  Diana corrected me.  It's 20. 

And last night Jocelyn was telling me about how the permaculture mailing list has recently been discussing "infill homes" - inserting tiny homes on small city plots where a larger home already exists.  And how there is some debate over how "eco" that is. 

So .... I wish to express my obnoxious opinion on the subject ....

I think the Damanhur example is about as eco as one can get.  There is probably 10 bedrooms in a home like that.  One massive, excellent kitchen.  I can imagine four people in their 20's sharing a room.  I can see a family having two bedrooms and a sitting room.  I can see a middle aged person with one sitting room and one bedroom.  And I can see a couple sharing a simple bedroom ....  So some folks have lots of privacy and lots of private space and some folks share a space.

Without this arrangement, in the US, these people would otherwise occupy (perhaps) 4 houses and 4 apartments.  8 kitchens with 8 stoves and 8 fridges.

With the 20 people in one house, there would be one kitchen and maybe a couple of the sitting rooms would have "kitchenettes".  The number of square feet per person, I reckon, is probably about half or less than with with 4 houses and 4 apartments approach.  I suspect that the heat/electricity bill is also about half.  I suspect that the water bill is about 30% less.  I suspect that the food is better and the amount of time spent on cooking and cleanup is about four times less. 

One might be concerned about 20 people getting along under one roof.  And that is what most of my research over the last four years has been focused on.  The solution at Damanhur is interesting and probably cannot be duplicated in most attempts to have 20 people under one roof.  But it is worth knowing about.  First, everybody at Damanhur has a VERY full day.  That leaves very little time for squabbles (What is the old saying ....  "an idle mind is the devil's workshop"?).  Further, each year, each house elects a person to be in charge of a house.  And that person then represents the house in larger community stuff.  That person resolves things that cannot be resolved by others in disagreement. 

I know that most folks are certain they could never live that way.  And I suspect I would not be a fit for Damanhur.  I just wanted to express that I find a lot of fascinating bits and bobs about how they live.  And I do think that what I seek is close to this 20 people per house model.






 
Diana Leafe Christian
author
Posts: 45
Location: Earthaven Ecovillage, North Carolina; Ecovillages newsletter http://wwwEcovillageNews.org
13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello,
     Regarding Paul's comments on Damanhur, three ecovillages in Germany (Sieben Linden, Lebensgarten, and Kommune Niederkaufungen) and an ecovillage in Denmark (Svanholm) are also places where community members have created living quarters inside large group homes.

     At Kommune Niederkaufungen 80 people live in 10 different apartments (different sizes for different numbers of people) in a renovated large old timberframed house and a second renovated large old house.

     At Sieben Linden, 112 people live in different neighborhoods in different large buildings they've built new, with different internal apartments for members. One is a three-story strawbale building, the largest strawbale building in Europe.

     Paul mentioned the likelihood of Damanhur's 20-member group homes (called "nucleos" having highly effiencient heating, and they do. Living in smaller units inside large buildings like this does create more efficient heating, and this is what a study by the University of Kassel in Germany showed about Kommune Niederkaufungen and Sieben Linden. According to their 2001-2002 study, both communities emitted only a fraction of the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared to the average German household, in creating and using water, electricity, travel to work, food, housing, and heating their homes. Niederkaufungen was 42% of the national German average; Sieben Linden was 28%. In terms of home heating, Sieben Linden emitted only only 10% of the average German household.

    At Lebensgarten, 120 members live in various individual apartments inside  renovated barracks used by munitions workers in World War II. At Svanholm in Denmark, 140 members live inside a huge old manor house.

    At least three ecovillages in North America have similar, but smaller, arrangements. At Skyhouse, a subcommunity of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri, 6 members share a large group house. At Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, where I live, one neighborhoodk, Tribal Condo, built a multi-family unit of four small studio apartments with shared kitchen and living space. Another neighborhood, Village Terraces, has a large three-story timber-framed structure with six apartment spaces of various sizes plus  a common kitchen and dining area, and one business (Red Moon Herbs). Whole Village in Ontario, Canada, is a huge building with 10 different apartments inside. (Very efficient for cold Canadian winters!)

    And Monterey Cohousing in Minneapolis has done something similar by renovating a former nursing home which now has many individual apartments.

    Just thought you'd like to know that it's not just Damanhur that is sharing building materials and efficient heating with individual apartments or shared group living arrangements. It's a good idea, and increasing numbers of intentional communities are doing it.

    Diana Leafe Christian


 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22172
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So many families have ..... a whole moving van full of crap.  Couches, kitchen table, kitchen stuff, living room stuff ....  maybe a bunch of tools and crap that they keep in their garage ....  stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff .... 

Let's suppose we are talking about a family of 3.  A couple and a child. 

And now, let's suppose we have that family in  house of 20.  There is all the same stuff, but it is shared between the 20.  So the family of 3 no longer needs any kitchen stuff, or kitchen table, or dining room table, or chairs, or living room couch or chairs or tables or ....  any of that.  They have two bedrooms in the house.  All of the kitchen and dining room and living room stuff is now shared.  They just don't need so much stuff.  Maybe their "stuff factor" can be cut in half.  And they probably have a much nicer living room, dining room and kitchen than they would if they lived in a single family home.

Further, tools and garage stuff are shared too - so they don't need that kind of stuff either. 

I think the "stuff factor" is probably a prime part of having a lighter eco footprint.



 
Seth Pogue
Posts: 81
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I went to a college of 500 where we lived in dorm houses with 17 to 23 apartments - some single, some double. There was a great big living room where lots of impromptu  (and promptu ) gatherings took place, and 5 kitchinettes, 5 bathrooms.  Each house had its own character.  Most everyone from all dorms went to the Commons building for 3 meals a daily.  This really worked beautifully.  Which is a part of why I suspect the following model for intentional community might work well too:
http://liveearth.siteproplus.com/pressrelease.html
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What would be most fascinating is what it takes to live this close to others, without being driven nuts. I would guess you would need a lot of consideration, and a lot of tolerance. I would probably do well with the former, not so well with the later. 

Better have a better than average septic system for sure!
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The most important factor in that situation is not spending much time at home. If you live in the fields or gardens or workshops then it doesn't matter where you sleep.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Emerson White wrote:
The most important factor in that situation is not spending much time at home. If you live in the fields or gardens or workshops then it doesn't matter where you sleep.


I assume then you aren't in your 50s or older.  As you get older, it gets harder to sleep, on average I wake up 2 to 3 times a night, and only sleep about six hours. When I was young, I could sleep through anything!

But I agree, more time away from the home, less space needed in the home. Homes here in Costa Rica for the locals tend to be between 360 to 800 square feet.  Impossible to get cabin fever in the tropics I suppose.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What you sleep on, and how noisy it is, both matter, but you will sleep just as well in a 100 Sq ft room as you would in a 10,000 square foot house. It all looks the same when your eyes are closed.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Emerson White wrote:
What you sleep on, and how noisy it is, both matter, but you will sleep just as well in a 100 Sq ft room as you would in a 10,000 square foot house. It all looks the same when your eyes are closed.


Not if there is a crying baby in the house. The size of the house is nothing, the proximity to others is everything.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I mentioned noise, reread what you quoted there. 
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Emerson White wrote:
I mentioned noise, reread what you quoted there. 


Oops, sorry. Not sure how I could be around 20 people - but that is a cultural thing. Costa Ricans for sure have no problem with it.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22172
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would like to think that one house might be the big house of toddlers.  And another house might be the big house of teenagers.  And another house is the big house of rambunctious adults.  And another house is the big house of quiet/contemplative adults.



 
Suzy Bean
pollinator
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul talks about Damanhur in his podcast on intentional community, part 2: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/322-podcast-042-intentional-community-part-2/
 
Corky Love
Posts: 63
Location: Tacoma, WA [8B-7B]
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:I would like to think that one house might be the big house of toddlers.  And another house might be the big house of teenagers.  And another house is the big house of rambunctious adults.  And another house is the big house of quiet/contemplative adults.





I take this to mean, families with toddlers in one home, families with teens in another, etc., and the following statements are specific to that idea.

I can see where this has appeal, especially if you are one of the quiet/contemplative adults looking for quiet. I admit that I do not have any experience in living in community or any other qualifying experience, but I'd like to share my thoughts on your statement. Also, I found this post via a site search of "damanhur", so many apologies if this has been addressed and dissected elsewhere as I have not done any digging in the intentional community forum.

I am a parent of a toddler, who is isolated from what family is left. While I benefit from having friends with children, I do not want to live in a house of toddler families. My experience has shown me the pain and disruption when you loose mixed environments. Children in mixed age groups benefit from the guidance of older children and benefit from being the guide to younger children. I don't want 10 pairs of stressed out toddler parents, I want a few peer sets with children of varying age, maybe a few non-breeders (Les/Gay/Trans), I want a three generation-like spread minimum. I want to be empowered to parent while blessed with personal/project time with the help of my housemates in the form of sharing time with my child (who is awesome, I have references to attest to it, so it should be a pleasure and not a burden, in fact it would be a deal breaker if my child was seen as something to be tolerated until able to handle a scythe).

What I think I'd look for:
*Children of mixed ages; see above
*teens and young adults have so much energy, I'll take a few, they also need the experience of a mixed environment to learn life skills, etc
*peer adults offer much in a 'shared experience' way and the ability to get the work done
*mature adults offer life experience, guidance, emotional support, and a love of small children with gooey fingers; hopefully they have stories and skills to share with the rest of us
*adults who are unlikely, unwilling, or not able to produce children of their own often enjoy the occasional interaction with a child, I welcome a well rested adult sharing joyful time with my child, I'll take a dozen

I think in traditional societies we'll find the care of the young and care of the old are the heart of the society.

I can see when age based groups or experience based groups might form for events, bonding, or what have you, I just don't want to be assigned based on that. I also see a conflict: I'm old/young enough to have a children between newborn and 18yrs old, if I have a 2yr old and a 15yr old, where do I live or do my children get separated?

We all need quiet space, so I'm absolutely down with quiet space being available and honored!

Just my $.02.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice post Clover. I also believe that a 3 generation "home" is beneficial to all concerned.

A compound of mothers and toddlers alone could easily cause pure chaos. Twenty small kids running amok, screaming, yelling, and having no regard for anybody else would be a nightmare for all concerned.

A compound of retired old folks will likely turn into a bunch of bored people sitting around gripping about 'how it used to be', and growing more intolerant of the younger set. They begin to grow sad and lifeless. They have nothing to gain, and their wisdom is lost.

A compound of "DINKs" (Dual Income, No Kids) will have no use for either the kids, parents, nor grandparents. Children and old persons have no bearing on their lives. Their careers are their goals in life. Most of us work to 'better our lives', while many of them work to amass more 'stuff', thinking that that qualifies as bettering their lives.

There is an old Native American saying that says "I look back 3 generations for wisdom and counseling. I look forward 3 generations to see if my actions can improve my people. Do not disappoint the 7 generations."

A true society, or civilization needs a mix of the generations to function fully.
Please don't divide us into age groups (or any other 'group' for that matter).
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4145
Location: Missoula, MT
389
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Currently reading some posts by Chuck Estin, Ph.D. about Damanur - one before he visits, and the second one after a three-month stay.

May 16, 2012 - Living by Design: Damanhur and Reclaiming Community Wealth

July 28, 2012 - Bios by Design Blog #4: Con Te

I like how Chuck evaluates all types of capital: community, material/financial, living, spiritual, cultural, etc.

Plus, I looked up a link to the gorgeous book Paul showed me about Damanhur:



Amazon (US) permies.com affiliate link: Damanhur: Temples of Humankind

And there was an additional book written about the community that I thought some might be interested in:



Amazon (US) permies.com affiliate link: Damanhur: The Story of the Extraordinary Italian Artistic And Spiritual Community
 
Penny Francis
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have often thought it would be a great idea to live with other families in a cooperative of some sort. Obviously, depending on what you want out of life, would determine what type of cooperative you choose/make. I personally would love a homesteading cooperative where some earned wages off the homestead but others could work the homestead 'full time.' It's always more fun to work when you have others to work with and learn from.
 
Something about .... going for a swim. With this tiny ad ...
Systems of Beekeeping Course - Winterization Now Available
https://permies.com/t/69572/Systems-Beekeeping-Winterization
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!