Shelter; Survival, Sense of Place + Social Status (Part 1)

By Brett Marlo DeSantis

All living things on this planet need shelter. In fact, most would consider shelter one of the few basic needs to survive. A fairly simple concept—shelter—something that forms a place of protection. Yet the subject is far from simple. First and foremost, we need the built environment for refuge. What that looks like will differ; from single houses to multi-unit dwellings, we have options. The most common choice of shelter, in America, is by far the detached single-family home. (Note the keyword ‘choice’ as a step above mere survival.)

From caves to castles, there are so many styles of this type of shelter that one may recite their A, B, Cs–

A-frame, Bungalow, Colonial, Dogtrot, Earthship, Farmhouse, Geodesic, Hut, Igloo, Jugendstil, Kit-house, Log cabin, McMansion, Neoclassical, Octagon, Pole house, Queenslander, Rambler, Saltbox, Tudor, Unit, Vernacular, Wigwam, X, Yurt and Zapotec. But wait there’s more types of shelter: semi-attached/attached dwelling units such as duplexes and townhomes, apartments, condominiums, rowhouses, flats, mother-in-laws, rooming houses and multi-family homes.

For some time now, we have become a somewhat static civilization. Most of our dwellings are built on-site, depending largely on location. Yet let’s not forget alternative housing styles that move such as tent, travel trailer, tiny house on wheels, yurt, houseboat or float house, or even the newly redesign covered hammock!

Your choice of dwelling Does size matter? We are defined by our choices. What is the true cost of our type? In the past families,

1 Very wealthy,

2 use to living well.

3 social status would have prohibited, is now acceptable if not preferable.

Even now, green has become a major factor, people today being green is culturally good. Preferable, good for the environment. Admirable because you are doing something for the environment. You can live as well in a small house as big house. The mental attitude has changed. What a person looks for today or so different than it use to be, not settling for less, they just don’t need as much. A different concept of how you can live well in a small space. A matter of economics; affordability.