I’m Claire – I’m a daughter, sister, mum and wife. I am a white English woman who was born in Yorkshire, grew up in Hong Kong, lived 5 years in Sicily and now calls Boonwurung land home in Beaumaris, Melbourne.
I spend my time reconnecting with nature and seeking to bring consciousness to every act in our lives whether that be work or home life with an understanding that everything is alive with energy and the way we are in the world informs the way the world becomes.
It’s 2040 and I’m now 62 years old. It’s 8am, I wake, well rested in my bed, in my timber passive house home co housing development that my family and I call home … built 20 years ago as part of a city wide sustainable housing retrofit initiative.
The housing complex runs on solar energy for cooling, its basement hosts composting units for the buildings toilets and the solar generates all of our electricity needs. Each home has access out into the shared communal gardens where we grow our own produce and the kids have created their own play spaces from natural materials and waste products.
I wake my beautiful grandchildren – it’s a spring weekend. I walk outside and touch my feet on the grass and feel connected to the earth beneath and the birds above a s they sing their morning song. We gather for breakfast outdoors and are excited to be heading to the local community hub – I accompany them – the walk from our multi-generational co housing home takes us through shared gardens with a diversity of food crops including beautiful yam daisies – the yellow flowers glistening in the sun.
The streets are quiet due to sparse motorised traffic, the roadsides are lined with native rain gardens filtering the stormwater from the roads. The air smells fresh with distinctive eucalyptus smells. Each bus stop we pass is surrounded by edible plants – part of the edible bus stop initiative.
We approach the hub through intensive food forests planted and managed by our community and walk into an indoor /outdoor area build from locally sourced materials with a consciousness of the amount of energy it took to produce the materials in the first place providing cool shade under canopies of trees. The sounds are infectious – happy chatter and laughter as locals gather and exchange items and stories and local food. Many of the tenancies are small social enterprises and coops bringing a real sense of place through the local dynamics and demographics, tastes and trends.
We decide to jump on the local bicycle bus and head on a bike tour around the precinct together. With fewer cars on the road and less parking there is so much more space to travel by bicycle and air quality is improved – public health along with it.
The kids and I catch up with friends, drop some used toys into the local toy library, help out in the community gardens and pop in to see the Bee’s a living social sculpture that was implemented 10 years ago to create an ecosystem that supports thriving beehive colonies by introducing hives and focusing on the quality and quantity of flowers throughout our city.
We share some great local food for lunch and then return our bikes and head on the walk home – passing the eye catching murals co-created by local artists and our neighbourhood to communicate the essence of our place and children playing in the streets.
The kids love playing in the streets since the reduction in cars on the roads and with parents at home more and more there’s always one adult amongst the parents who can keep an eye on the kids – many parents now work flexibly from home avoiding the long commutes.
The physical infrastructure of the world around us is typically experienced as a mostly fixed, if slowly evolving feature of our lives, but there are times when it has changed with extreme rapidly – I am hopeful this time is now – changing also how we live together in community.