But we can no longer pretend there is an “away”; and if it is inappropriate to inflict the negative consequences of our technology choices on others, somewhere else, then are we making the right choices? Are there better and healthier options? Is there the knowledge and experience, the supply chain, and the skills to support the use of more appropriate building materials?
This is where YIMFY - Yes! In My Front Yard comes in.
The YIMFY Trust was created in 2014 to promote and develop ways of making buildings that foster the health and well-being of both the people who occupy them and the global ecosystems of which they are part; technologies that we are not only happy to live next door to, but are proud to promote. We are motivated by a concern for the future, by increasing public interest in using ‘natural’ or appropriate building materials and systems, and a desire to bring these options into the mainstream or at least to make them real options for consideration when embarking on a building project.
Our immediate tasks are to raise awareness of methods and options currently available in New Zealand, and provide expertise to support both owner-builders and construction professionals.
We are developing a web-based library of information and resources specific to NZ, and establishing a programme of hands-on workshops on natural building techniques.
Another initiative is the NZ National Natural Building Days which will happen on 13th and 14th February 2016, where good examples of buildings using appropriate materials and design are open for visitors.
In the medium term, the goal is to coordinate and generate research in appropriate building methods throughout New Zealand, and work to get appropriate materials and systems accepted for NZ Building Code compliance, to make it much simpler for users to incorporate appropriate materials into building projects.
And the longer-term goal is to design and build The Yimfy Centre, a national education centre using appropriate building technologies, where both building
professionals and the general public can smell, touch and learn about natural, healthy and sustainable materials and systems.
There are many individuals and locations around New Zealand where work is being done in this field, but there is no organisation that connects them or acts as a repository of knowledge about the systems being used and discovered. A wonderful example is Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, the award-winning 32-home cohousing neighbourhood in Auckland which demonstrates leading-edge sustainable design with intensive community involvement.
So it is entirely appropriate that YIMFY is supporting this ISBC conference, and we are even planning our official launch at the conference! We’re looking forward to learning from each other and celebrating natural building in the 21st century with many of you readers.