If Dr. King were alive today I believe he would have added climate change to that list. Exiting the 10,000 yearlong, climatically stable Holocene and entering the unknowable Anthropocene we stand at a watershed moment. With civilization itself altering the climate so rapidly, how then shall we dwell for the next 10,000 years?
We offer Catalpa House as an inquiry. By addressing present social realities it follows in the 300+ year old tradition of the venerably adaptable rowhouse with the following goals: It must help reduce the global carbon budget. A carbon positive, source-net-zero energy & water, biophilic housing model for both infill and deep-energy-retrofits of existing homes shall accomplish this. It must support joy-induced community resiliency over fear-based individual survivalism in the face of societal shifts. A fair housing model imagined by and for the people shall gather community resources and benefit all equally. It must help eliminate systemic poverty. Beautiful, safe, affordable, and locally grown homes will create jobs, radicalize education initiatives, overhaul arcane building codes, bring justice to gentrification and re-invent our local economy from the bottom up.
Catalpa House is less a strict infill dwelling and more a spur towards needed dialogue around climate change adapted urbanism. 26% of the total population and 36% of children live in poverty in Philadelphia. Without massive and prolonged carbon emissions cuts we have about 28 years before 21% of Philadelphia is under water. We join the cry to “study war no more”1 and focus our unique abilities as the human ones to join together, collaborate, and co-evolve with Nature towards a regenerative future now!