Build It Forward Further Defined

When I coined the concept of Built It Forward I knew what it meant but that didn’t mean I knew how to accurately describe it to others. Today I was describing it and came across a good way:

When you build it forward you are giving more to the world than what you are taking from it.

This would mean that it creates more resources than depletes resources from the world. It creates more community. It facilitates more nature. It gives a better living space for people.

A normal builder might be able to do one or two of these things. For example they might be able to build a great home but at the expense of what resources? The builder almost always depletes more in terms of materials, nature etc than what they give back with the building.

A green builder can build it forward and add to the world on all levels. This is not a small feat but it can be done. The holistic vision of a green builder can see the house from many levels and make sure that the building is giving back on all of them.

The green builder manages resources so that “old” and “wasted” materials are reused. This does two things: it means no new resources are used AND it means the world is a cleaner place since less goes to the landfill. This is a classic example of building it forward.

Another key point of Built It Forward is that the building is built with the future tenants in mind, no mater how many hundreds of years that is in the future. This means a green builder is investing more (on many levels) than what a normal builder would deem necessary.

The green builder can justify this because they understand that this investment will benefit them too. A normal builder does not have that kind of vision.

About the author: Gennaro Brooks-Church

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  1. Nick - May 11, 2009 at 7:16 am

    There’s a multi scalar planning concept in many Native American cultures called Seven Generation Thinking, which is the belief that everything from every area of human endeavor has an interrelated impact on the small individual human life scale. According to Pima-Maricopa Ivan Makil: “We understand the universe as massive, but still requiring this constant, delicate balancing. Seven-generation thinking means giving thought to what a decision’s impact will be on the next seven generations, and considers the responsibilities that come with opportunities. It’s long-term thinking, which is valuable for anyone making a decision.” The idea is close to Build It Forward, and they share the same realization that good decisions last much longer (and are inherently more adaptable to a wider range of possibilities) because they consider and address the bigger picture.

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