Tuesday, 27 November 2012

It Takes A Village...

It takes a village to build a building, collage by
Collage: It Takes a Village!

It Takes A Village...: Part 1

It Takes A Village To Build A Building

Everyone knows the saying "It takes a village to raise a child". In other words a community is required to raise a child well. A joint effort to instill knowledge, skills and values.

But how about a village to build a building? Or even a village to build a village?

Out of interest I looked up the history of forming villages. It has been suggested that the first villages were formed about 12,000 years ago in the Near East by people who started agriculture rather than relying on hunting and gathering. People who had a common interest settled down, likely for a combination of efficient farming, security, and shared social factors. These early settlements over time became communities with social and cultural structures and professional specializations.

A community is defined by sharing of common values and the help the members give each other rather than just acting out of self interest. A community also has an identity that forms the "glue" that keeps it together. German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies called it the presence of a "unity of will". He also argued that there is a collective sense of loyalty and strong personal relationships between members.

Ok, fast forward to today's world. We have achieved the ultimate in specialization through technology, but technology has also insulated us from each other. In our ability to converse with people throughout the globe, we have less personal contact with each other, we may even be less aware of our neighbours. We may be in a global village (the metaphor of how technology has increased our ability of receiving communication and information from everywhere, increasing our ability to interact with people throughout the world who have similar interests, ideas and concerns), but the backbone of society — the local village — is suffering.

Back to the question: How about a village to build a building? The principle is the same as for raising a child. A community is required to build a building well, a collection of people who have a common goal in mind that is higher than self interest. Bringing together the different trades, experts and economic factors who have shared values and interests in the building that go beyond a financial gain is key to ensure a successful project. With a vested interest in shared social and environmental values (in addition to economic value), everyone will be well motivated to give do their best; give it their all.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Stay tuned for part two It Takes A Village...

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