It's time for a rethink about what's really important in a home.
Four years ago I wrote a series of posts about how antibiotic resistance will change the way we live. It resulted from a worry that we would soon be back to the world between the great wars, when scientists and doctors knew what caused diseases like tuberculosis, but couldn't do anything about them. Now we are in that situation again with COVID-19 and might well be in it for years to come, and unlike antibiotic resistance, this is staring us in the face right now. So I am going to summarize the thoughts from the previous posts, and add a few new ones.
1. Bring back the vestibule.Even in apartments, there should be a vestibule with a door on each end, a big closet, and enough room to take off your coat and shoes without entering the home. Having a vestibule could also solve the Amazon problem; it could act as an in-between zone where stuff could be left, sort of a giant locker. Perhaps we should even consider:
2. Put a sink in the hall
3. Bring back the closed kitchen.
Rather than the social centre of the house as it had been in the past, this was designed as a functional space where certain actions vital to the health and wellbeing of the household were performed as quickly and efficiently as possible.Guests don't get to hang out in restaurant kitchens, and they shouldn't get to hang out in home kitchens either; it should be washable and sanitary.
4. Fix the heating and the ventilation.
5. Put a bidet on every toilet.
In Ottawa, Canada, they are having a plumbing crisis. According to the CTV,
We need people in @ottawacity to spread the word. We are seeing an increase in wipes in the sewer system. These can clog sewers and pumps. Do NOT flush anything that isn't the 3Ps - pee, poo or (toilet) paper. Put wipes in the garbage. Please RT!— Alain Gonthier 🇨🇦 (@acgonthier) March 21, 2020
"In reality, items such as baby wipes, makeup remover cloths and disinfectant wipes do not decompose in the sanitary sewer system," a notice on the city's website says. "Flushing this material causes damage to the sewer system and may cause sewer backups in your home."Most of these are probably not being used to clean bottoms, but it is still a reminder that we are supposed to wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, yet all most people do is smear paper across their bottoms. More on this, we covered it recently.
6. Get rid of everything and go seriously minimalist.
It therefore promotes comfortable, practical living. It facilitates the cleaning of rooms and avoids inaccessible dusty corners. It offers no hiding place for dust and insects and therefore there is no furniture that meets modern sanitary demands better than tubular-steel furniture.As I noted in my earlier series, this was all about health, not style.
For years on TreeHugger we have gone on about minimalist design, about paring down to the essentials, about living with less stuff. For some, it was about saving money and having a smaller footprint; for others, like me, it was really an aesthetic derived from years of studying Le Corbusier and other modernists. But is ironic that so much of that fashionable minimalism was a response to dust and disease, and a search for light, air and openness as the antibiotics of their day.More, mainly materials, to come. Here is the lecture on this subject that I did for my students a few weeks ago. It was my first video, a student holding my iPhone, so the sound quality is not very good, I got better at it later. My apologies if you can't hear it; one critic said, "Wanted to watch this but hearing someone’s nose whistle breathing was too distracting!"UPDATE: slight revision in the discussion of suburban single-family housing, which I am not promoting.