At the BBC they call him the Jamie Oliver of Architecture, but we think of him as the Corbusier of TV presenters: Architect Charlie Luxton made his BBC series on Guerrilla Homes last month the start of a campaign to change the planning rules (zoning laws in the US).
We want to join in.
The great response to the series last month, from viewers and critics left him even more determined to change the daft planning rules, which treat every individual trying to create a cool space as if they were a developer trying to make a quick buck. And developers? Well, they get treated like saviours and thanked for bringing employment into the area.
There is no way as an individual that you will be allowed to have a low-impact sustainable life. You have to prove the viability in planning terms, says Luxton and that s horrendously difficult.
We want to hear from anyone who is battling the planners as they try to live off-grid. And we want your help with our campaign, whoever you are. Please email us with your thoughts and suggestions to email@example.com
Luxton aimed his show at younger and poorer first time buyers. In the face of the record gap between house prices and incomes, he wants a shift towards temporary and movable spaces. Over the next few weeks we will be featuring examples.
Its all about empowering people to help themselves to build the places they want he told me when we met in London.
Luxton thinks councils can be persuaded to at least grant temporary permissions. Its not as simple as divorcing environment from planning, he says. The planners look at things in black and white. Either its developed or its not. But the arguments the government has set out in terms of top level directives like Kyoto also need to be implemented at the lower level.”
Kyoto, the treaty devised at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, aiming to combat global warming through reducing fossil fuels’ greenhouse gas emissions, is full of fine words, and Off-Grid endorses it 100%. But how many of us are actually doing our little bit to help implement it?
Off-Grid will launch a planning permission Q&A, where lawyers and planners will answer your questions and help you create off-grid homes that will not result in your being persecuted by local government officials. But so far we have not found any planning or zoning lawyers to contribute their time. If any of you are still reading this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
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