As I set up a new home here in Findhorn Scotland, I notice the actions it takes to make a place comfortable, workable, effective, functional. It tends to focus on the physical container, the artefacts that equip and furnish it, the operational systems we so often take for granted (heat, light, power, water, waste management). These days it also includes the elements of communication – with computer and phone linkages, postal services and currency transfers.
As I enter the Place Making functions of the Findhorn Eco-Village I notice that I must make many adjustments in space and time that I hadn’t contemplated. In my new home, the space is not only shared with housemates (whereas in Canada I lived on my own), but the eco-house is part of a co-housing cluster within the eco-village – so we negotiate with our neighbours the use of laundry facilities, common rooms/library/kitchen, gardens, composting and recycling disciplines. I am much more aware of the responsibility and impact of my daily choices and behaviors on my neighbours.
This heightened awareness of collective action, opens me up to aspects of Place Caring. I recognize that my worldviews (newly arrived from across the world) may inspire different perspectives and values than people I interact with throughout the day. I must honour, for instance, how people say Grace before each meal; or how they take responsibility for collective caring of houseplants, celebrate each others’ birthdays or hold the tensions of stress they experience from family and jobs.
I sense daily that the circles of care can span from individual considerations, to household decisions, to co-housing interpersonal relationships, to eco-village governance guidelines, to planetary awareness.
Thus, moving necessitates the recalibration of both Place Making and Place Caring in our lives. It reminds us that the quality of life in our places really only comes fully alive when we correlate both Caring and Making – in other words embrace the Consciousness and Culture of Place Caring with the Behaviors and Systems of Place Making. This meshes together the strength of all 4 Quadrants and all 4 Voices of the eco-village (and reminds me that the scale of the eco-village makes this even more powerful than the larger scale of the city).