Kristina Furey

Thinking our way to a better day

What if we could create healthier environments and communities where people could feel more socially connected and inspired towards living a healthier lifestyle?  Could we bring back the feel of the neighborly neighborhood, that is family and community focused and fosters consideration, compassion, cooperation and courtesy towards our fellow humans?  This is something I have been pondering on for years and would like to share with you. 

It started because in the winter, I hunker down in my home as I starve for light and warmth and it causes a snowball effect with me as it throws off my sleep patterns, leads me to crave comfort food that is not feeding my cells what they need to function, then I start to fall into a punky funk, where I don’t care to do things that are life promoting, like eating well, exercising and going outside, BRRR!  This behavior is like a merry go round that gets worse with each cycle.  It’s a lot of work to consciously focus and seriously push myself to do what I need to do to thrive in the winter.  Not a problem in the warmer months.  I have shared this with others and found I’m not alone.  I believe we find our contentment and happy moments when we’re doing things that are beneficial, things that nurture ourselves, others and our environment.  I believe it’s just our nature.  We long to be with and be in the moment as opposed to grinning and bearing as we try to get past the moments.  So, it’s my nature to look for ways to happily reside in the moment.   So winter and owning more house and land than I care to put all my time into lead me to do some out of the box thinking and what came to mind was Holiday Inn, Holidomes, sci-fi movies like “Night of the Comet” and organized communities like Reston, Lake Anne Plaza specifically, and the impression it has had on me.



Night of the Comet:

Lake Anne Plaza:

Then I thought, “What if we turned malls into communities or based new communities on Malls?”  There could be indoor and outdoor living spaces. 

Indoors there could be shops and restaurants, hydroponic gardening centers, A runners trail, bikers trail, maybe a skate park, indoor golf, or some other activities to promote movement and of course a gym, pool, sauna, hot tub and Sun light rooms to help us get our Vitamin D and keep our circadian rhythms in check.  Also, Glass in the ceilings for natural light.  There could be offices, WOW, what a great commute!  Each could have doctor’s offices, pharmacies and religious places of worship…  We could go back to smaller schools and have them in these smaller communities based more on the traditional house school meets our modern day, home school. –OR- one bus that takes all the school age kids to the typical public schools, which would cut down on busses.  Let’s just think transportation for a moment…    If you lived in one of these facilities you could use public transportation with ease and that could cut down on emissions and vehicles on the road, which would mean less traffic… 

Housing units could be of varying sizes and each with some sort of deck/private outside space.  The idea here is we would still have private inside space but we wouldn’t need as much inside space as we would have a grand amount of inside space just outside of our homes door.  WOW, imagine that on a cold winter’s day of icy roads.  Also, you open the door to your home to find a group on a run as you go out to get your morning coffee, might you just join in and maybe have the coffee later.  We know we are more likely to do healthy things when we are surrounded by others doing them and Studies have proven socially involved people live happier and healthier lives and I expect there would be more social interactions and less lonely moments. 

These communities could be separately fashioned to attract certain communities/tribes, for instance…  Maybe one would be an artist community… I mean our imaginations are our only barriers to what these living places could be like.  Of course, you could visit the public places within the different communities and they could have their own festivals and reasons for people to come out and intermingle, even in the cold months.  Mingle in the inside or outside spaces.

Outside you can have parks, gardens, woods and nature to explore.  This could mean more room again, for our wildlife to thrive.  Maybe we could even have protected woods and habitats.  I’m really trying to keep world friendly/world healthy in mind as the ultimate goal in my thought process.  There could be outside sports and events held on the outside grounds…  This is really just a base idea that could be built on over and over again and could vary by community. 

I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at thinking my way to a better day.  I’ve got plans in the works and currently the pieces are slowly coming together for me.  Still I think it would be pretty cool to live in one of these mall inspired communities…  Any thoughts on this?


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