Message - Re: Housing 40 million Americans

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Posted by  Rog the Dodge on March 18, 2003 at 14:46:59:

In Reply to:  Re: Housing 40 million Americans posted by Richard Haut on March 18, 2003 at 13:58:57:

I don't accept this guilt thing.

What JWmHarmon's post shows, at the very least (though I don't agree that it's a solution for 40m Americans), is that individual action is it's own virtue. Guilt, middle-class guilt, is an affectation and an indulgence. My friends and I thought so and acted upon it in 1968, we are of the same opinion and action today.

I agree with Richard that there's something wrong with the extreme direction taken by Western society and there may be some hope in a more general action if the prevalence of anti-war demonstrations are anything to go by. They may, however, be merely a straw in the wind. Concerted pressure from individuals and groups may force a rethink but the depoliticised nature of contemporary public debate and action suggests that the political establishments will safely ignore the more general criticisms and continue as before.

This may sound like a counsel of despair bu the saving grace is what one can contribute as an individual or group to those less advantaged. Architects have a real part to play but should not imagine for a moment that there is some saving grace in a particular form or method of architecture that will of itself make the difference.

I watched Comic Relief on UK television the other night. A couple of site-hardened builders from an interior makeover programme were helping to erect homes for the homeless in southern Africa. These homes were corrugated iron shacks, 10 feet by 10 feet on plan with no services. The gratitude of their new inhabitants was heart-breaking and truly humbling. The builders were in tears. We're only a small part of something bigger than ourselves, we have to make a difference.

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