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Self-Fulfilment and Wellbeing through an Eco Self-Build Community

Bright Green Futures’ model arose from the desire to change peoples’ lives and go even further than building beautiful sustainable low carbon homes. We want to enable meaningful livelihoods, which impact the world positively.

Our model recognises the wish of each person to use his or her life to leave a legacy, as can be explained by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a motivational theory in psychology based on a tiered model of human needs. According to Maslow’s theory, our motivation firstly comes from satisfying basic needs, which are required for survival – physiological needs and safety needs. Then, we must satisfy psychological needs, including love and belongingness, and esteem. If we can satisfy these four deficiency needs then we are able to reach the final tier – self-fulfilment, or self-actualisation, that comes from a desire to grow as a person and achieve our full potential. You may know people struggling to make ends meet who, not once, would consider devoting themselves to a cause of their choice. This is not because they don’t want to, but simply because they have not been in the position to climb the pyramid.

So, how can building a house in an eco self-build community guide you upwards through this hierarchy of needs to reach self-fulfilment?

Firstly, living in one of our communities covers basic needs. It provides a healthy, well-insulated environment offering warmth and comfort all year round with access to basic necessities. You can also live in the knowledge that you and your children are safe in a community that looks out for one another, where common principles bind you. Not to mention you are secure in a high quality build, based around private and communal spaces that are designed to your specifications and needs.

With basic needs met, your self-build can satisfy your psychological needs too. Love and belongingness are at the core of self-build. Friendships are built on the construction site and strengthened in the years following. Living around communal space creates intimacy and forms bonds through collective effort and support during the rewarding self-build journey and beyond. Self-build is also good for your esteem. Designing and building your own home can teach you many new skills and give you a massive sense of achievement. Plus, you are likely to gain a great amount of respect for striving to lead the life you want to live, a life you believe in.

Once these needs are satisfied you will be motivated to meet your self-actualisation needs. You have a comfortable, fun and healthy life surrounded by supportive neighbours in the home of your dreams. If you have children, parenting is easy – no more trips to the playground or arrangement of play dates. You and your children won’t even need to cross the street, with places to play, chat and relax in the communal garden, right on your doorstep. If your workspace is integrated into your home, you no longer need to waste time commuting. You are also likely to be more financially secure than before your self-build. Ultimately, you will have more time, money and comfort; embedded in a supportive community. All this is the perfect platform to pursue your real ambitions and devote yourself to a cause of your choice.

This is not just a theory. In every single household of The Yard and The Courtyard (the two similar projects Bright Green Futures and its staff has been involved with), there is at least one person who started a business following their self-build journey. All of them integrated the learning in some way. There are:

  1. People now working in construction as carpenters, eco-plumbers or electricians, directly using the skills that they learned.
  2. Social enterprises:
    • Ecomotive, a company who provide services and advice to the community self-build market.
    • Bright Green Futures – you might have heard about them 🙂
  3. People using the project management, problem solving ability and courage developed to do something completely different: musicians, therapists, artists, graphic designers, journalists, market traders, etc.
  4. People who build a business on providing services that are needed in the community itself:
    • Childminders, who look after the children in the community.
    • Web designers, who design the websites of the many new entrepreneurs in the community.

With the workspaces integrated and a grassroots can-do culture, employment is generated on site. People encourage each other, collaborate, and tend to choose meaningful work.

Bright Green Futures do much more than simply build carbon neutral homes – we change peoples’ lives and aim to shape a better world through a growing self-build culture. We are here to set an example and make our latest project, Water Lilies, a success – to raise both living standards and peoples housing expectations so that more and more homes can be built in this way.