An innovative idea is only the beginning of any change. What makes innovation successful is the buy-in by those who can contribute to making the change happen, though not just by the money folks, but for all those who can help in their unique way. Some people can write letters to petition businesses and government. Other people can advocate and garner community support. Investment folks can open their hearts and minds as well as their wallets.
In essence, we can work together to address a need affecting many people that in the long run affects us also.
A Canadian province and other countries have discovered that housing the homeless actually costs less than all the care homeless need as a result of being homeless. However, the challenge is not only about housing the homeless, but also about creating safe, healthy living spaces for the people with wages below the poverty level, for those who cannot work because of disabilities, for the aged who are still independent, and even for people whose income is above the poverty level, but are saving to buy homes or who are growing businesses.
We need to build inclusive communities, rather than continue to segregate people by income and other qualifying factors that also lead to a host of other health-related problems, including loneliness and depression as well as safety and security challenges.
Recognizing the significant difference between what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) defines as Extroverts and Introverts is also key in developing healthy living environments for each group. Extroverts’ brains require fairly constant external stimulation by interacting with others, while Introverts’ brains are constantly engaged internally and as a result, withdraw from the level of interaction Extroverts thrive on in order to rest and not become overstimulated.
But rather than having to build these buildings, across Ontario and in many other places too, these buildings are sitting vacant or almost waiting to be brought back to life. Those buildings are the once-thriving shopping environments we call shopping malls; growing more and more obsolete as big box stores increasingly become the norm.
And here is where you come in. Think of all the malls you have visited or shopped. Think about the small stores spaces anchored by the once-big department stores.
Now, imagine all those small stores transformed into living spaces for Extroverted folks who love to be close to their neighbours and community. Envision the wide hallways as promenades for their congregating and exercising without having to go outside when the weather is not inviting. Imagine an indoor playground to keep children occupied and caregivers comforted with the safety and security of the contained playground. Imagine bustling community rooms where Extroverts could regularly top up their interaction need with other Extroverts.
In contrast, for the Introverts, imagine those big department stores transformed into a number of living spaces surrounded by elements Introverts need to keep their needs balanced also. Elements such as quiet open areas for alone time or conversations for two and noise free nooks in order to read, study, reflect, write, and create. Imagine studios and the like for those driven to create in private.
Now imagine the communities that could be built upon mutual respect by recognizing each other’s differences and needs. Imagine all people coming together in such a community, a community within a community, made stronger by getting their basic needs met; a community fostering the ability for all of its community members to thrive.
Of course, this is just an idea, but an idea I am sharing because of my experience the past twenty years living in a variety of communities and in a variety of living environments, the worst of which has been in many the boarding houses where there has been no locks on doors, no kitchens to prepare healthy foods, and landlords who really do not want to be landlords, but want a way to generate passive income with minimal expense that often results in unsafe and unhealthy environments that people in developed countries should not be living.
Abandoned malls are not the only spaces we can transform to fill the housing shortage needs, but the malls, like some mansions, are just waiting to be re-purposed; to be filled with echoes of voices that once filled their spaces.
My contribution has been observing and experiencing what I have, plus now planting the seed for you to nurture and grow. Now we just need the people who really want to make a difference and will get the ball rolling. Is that you or someone you know? And now this, here is your chance to leave a bigger legacy than what you may have planned. I am rooting for you!
KAITLIN ANN TREPANIER
Writer, Founder and President of Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle
Smashwords interview @ www.smashwords.com
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August 31, 2019