Shelter Is More Than A Roof Overhead

I just happened to notice the introduction to our book Shelter, written in 1973. 36 years ago!:

In times past, people built their own homes, grew their own food, made their own clothes. Knowledge of the building crafts and other skills of providing life’s basic needs were generally passed along from father to son, mother to daughter, master to apprentice.

Then with industrialization and the population shift from country to cities, this knowledge was put aside and much it of has now been lost. We have seen an era of unprecedented prosperity in America based upon huge amounts of foreign and domestic resources and fueled by finite resources of stored energy.

And as we have come to realize in recent years, we are running out. Materials are scarce, fuel is in short supply, and prices are escalating. To survive, one is going to have to be either rich or resourceful. Either more dependent upon, or freer from centralized production and controls. The choices are not clear-cut, for these are complex times. But it is obvious that the more we can do for ourselves, the greater will our individual freedom and independence be.

This book is not about going off to live in a cave and growing all one’s own food. It is not based on the idea that everyone can find an acre in the country, or upon a sentimental attachment to the past. It is rather about finding a new and necessary balance in our lives between what can be done by hand and what still must be done by machine.

For in times to come, we will have to find a responsive and sensitive balance between the still-usuable skills and wisdom of the past and sustainable products and inventions of the 20th century.

Of necessity or by choice, there may be a revival of hand work in America, We are certainly capable and these inherent, dormant talents may prove to be some of our most valuable resources in the future.

This book is about simple homes, natural materials, and human resourcefulness. It is about discovery, hard work, the joys of self-sufficiency, and freedom. It is about shelter, which is more than a roof overhead.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

4 Responses to Shelter Is More Than A Roof Overhead

  1. Thanks I hope you don't mind that I pass this on to all who can't wrap their minds around my hopes for the 100+ yr old church I bought and am living in while restoring it.

  2. The more things change, the more they stay the same….

    I remember it, too. It's still valid, and it's still largely ignored. I remember a comment from the Whole Earth Catalog re humans from the same 'era'…

    "Smart, but not wise."

    Could be an epitaph…so very descriptive.

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