The Market Town is a natural bubble large enough to keep the economy working while protecting public health
The lockdown exposed how vulnerable our NZ development patterns have made our economy. To stop the spread of the virus, we had to isolate people. Stop work, stop school, stop shopping. This is because our developments are transport based. Coming out the other end, the worst thing we could do would be to resume building based on such a deeply flawed development pattern.
A Market Town is a much older development pattern that is human-scaled, and by design provides a larger bubble that has multiple barriers to protect public health while enabling the economy to function normally.
Why Live Like this?
Traffic congestion is an expected outcome of NZ regional planning based on the Los Angeles development pattern. No matter how many motorways are built, they will always be jammed. Cars kill more than Covid19. Cars pollute. Cars cost.
Is this any better?
Advocates for mass transit suffered setbacks with the pandemic. Trains and buses are expensive, consume travel time and have a high manufacturing carbon footprint. There is a better development pattern: move destinations, not people.
Move all day-to-day destinations within walking distance. Create a self-supporting, diverse local economy with local schools, shops, cafes & services. Local sports, places of worship and lifelong homes for old people who no longer drive.
A Market Town is built upon a local economy in which 20% sell local to global (L2G) using technology to end the tyranny of distance. Those jobs import the money that circulates 5X locally, spent on 240+ different L2L job types before it outflows.
A Good Life
A self-supporting local economy is not an end in itself. It exists to enable people to enjoy a good life: the social pursuits of Conviviality, Citizenship, Artistic, Intellectual & Spiritual Growth.
Food, drink, sport, laughter, enjoyment, parties, dancing the street, having fun. Each village includes a café funded by the initial development. This supports a complete, not elite community by making public dining affordable by all.
Taking care. Education of the young, looking after the weak and infirm. Honouring and having a place for elders. Citizenship is also about formal leadership, a village meeting or representative democracy for local control over local matters.
Each village has an artist guild hall funded by the initial development. The arts make a community culturally enriched, but too often they are gentrified out. The guild hall ensures they can stay and add to the vibrancy of the town.
A Market Town is too small to host a university, but should seek to attract campus extensions, think tanks and R&D centres. People who pursue intellectual growth are invaluable in offering different perspectives for healthy communities.
Sacred buildings: church, mosque, temple imply a religious affiliation, whare tapu does not. Religious or not, people need sacred space for contemplation, rites of passage, and sanctuary. The development funds a sacred hall on each village plaza.
Complete, not elite
When a place is as attractive as a Market Town gentrification happens unless measures are put in place to ensure it remains affordable for workers who earn less, work with their hands, for artists and teachers. The plan ensures it remains complete.
The best model seen to date is parallel market real estate. For example, the market for teacher housing is limited to teachers. Go to resell, ask any price, but only sell to another teacher; the home price is set by the salary band of teachers.
During the Great Depression, Australia, dependent on global trade suffered horribly. France had a much more local economy, the global collapse hardly touched them. Investing in local capacity is increasingly important as recent events show.
Four hectares of land as a solar farm, connected to a container-size vanadium battery makes a town energy independent. The cost is amortised in the land price, thus lowering the cost of living. A national hydro-electrical drought is a non-event.
Since WWII, NZ has lived in peace and abundance. The future is less certain as global population grows. The time to secure local food independence is now, when land is affordable. Use advanced technology, solar glasshouses, biochar, etc.
A Market Town is big enough to support 100% of its water needs from the sky. Harvest rainwater, reprocess grey water, capture storm water and manage waste water as a caloric rich surplus resource. No pipes beyond the town boundary.