Harmonious Living Principles
1. Use colour to promote the psychological well being of the occupants.
Different colours stimulate people in different ways, so a positive influence of colour in the living environment is important for wellbeing. Natural colours increase the sense of harmony with the natural environment.
Inappropriate colours can make people feel angry, depressed or rejected.
2. Design using natural patterns and laws of harmony and proportion, and to a human scale.
All natural forms respond to natural forces, and the same patterns and proportions appear again and again. Using natural proportions in built forms increases a person’s innate sense of the rightfulness of a place. Building to a human scale ensures that people feel comfortable in the spaces they inhabit.
Awkward proportions jar on the senses, and buildings larger than human scale can be intimidating.
3. Create a building that embraces the relevant ancestral, cultural or spiritual origins or the philosophical standpoint of its occupants.
In traditional cultures, spiritual philosophies govern how their buildings are planned and detailed, as well as many other aspects of life. They are based on the wisdom of centuries about how to live in harmony with the earth. Buildings that reflect the heritage, culture, beliefs or philosophies of individuals or the community help people create a connection with the place they live.
Buildings that are disconnected from the rhythms of the earth or cultural tradition create a sense of isolation and emptiness.
4. Create a building with soulful elements that express the occupants’ creativeness.
The more creativity people can put into places where they live, work or otherwise spend a lot of time in, the more connection they feel with the place and the more respect they will have for it. A building that reflects the soul of the occupants will feel more like home and visitors will also enjoy the character of the place.
Sterile environments, or ones that cannot be changed by the occupants never feel like a home.
5. Design buildings to foster healthy family and community relationships.
Buildings and communities need to respect the different relationships people have, providing boundaries and spaces for privacy as well as communality to promote healthy interaction.
Ignoring people’s personal boundaries can create tension and quarreling.
6. Design buildings to complement or reflect the local character of the community.
Regional differences based on local building materials and climate, as well as the general philosophy of the people that live there, create a greater sense of harmony and community. This is best achieved by a true understanding of the spirit of the place.
Slavish copying of building styles irrespective of their origin produces incongrity in a neighbourhood, and the buildings may not perform well in a different climate.
7. Plan housing developments to be away from but with easy access to major traffic routes, and encourage foot and cycle traffic within the neighbourhood.
A blend of living, work and retail in a neighbourhood means people can carry out much of their daily life locally and travel on foot or bicycle.
Major traffic routes are noisy, polluted and hazardous and are not appropriate in living zones, but easy access to them is needed at times.
8. Plan housing developments to be away from centres of industry, and encourage a mix of home, small shops and business within the neighbourhood.
Light industry and businesses add life to a housing neighbourhood and means people can walk or cycle to get to shops or workplaces.
Housing only suburbs can be isolating for those remaining at home during the day, and require a car to get to other facilities. Heavy industry businesses are not suited to living zones and should be located together well away from them.
9. Choose to be socially responsible and just, whether creating individual homes, housing developments or commercial/industrial developments.
Developments should consider the people that live there, providing places that are healthy to live and work in, and satisfying to the soul. They need to be responsible during the construction phase, providing ethical wages and prices for materials and without compromising open space, design and materials for profit.
Poor pay and treatment means poor quality design and workmanship, and the occupants suffer the consequences.
10. Create small-scale neighbourhoods with their own identity and resilience, either stand-alone or distinct units within a larger urban area.
Small, self-sufficient communities have less need for commuting, importing goods, or large-scale infrastructure, and have increased resilience in the face of diminishing energy supplies or natural disasters. The development of a community identity strengthens the loyalty of residents to where they live, and provides a distinctive attraction for visitors.
Disconnected neighbourhoods foster souless lives, and have nothing to fall back on in an emergency.