PhiloEcoSophical Issues

EthoPlasìn is an Educational Institution with a World Civic Wellness Vocation. As such it is closely related to philoecosophical issues as they can have important consequences on civic life. EthoPlasìn is not at all a regularRainLightening 'green' ecological movement, and as such does not consider itself an ecological movement. If anything, it is 'blue' philoecosophical subsidiary movement, ecology friendly and concerned specifically with aspects that can improve all our environment, in particular our civic environments. These aspects are eminently related to the civic objectives of the EthoPlasìn. In conformity with its firm policy of full transparency, EthoPlasìn wants to let potential members know openly the related objectives it will fight for, and strongly lobby for in all circumstances, with all democratic means available.

This page should be read in concurrence with the other pages of this series, but in particular in concurrence with the page on Family Issues for the parts of this page regarding condominium facilities and children entertainment.

  1. The PhiloEcosophical Compensation Principle - The law should include PEC (the Philo-Ecosophical Compensation principle) in all legislation related to the ecology and/or architecture, whereby citizens have to always compensate, in some way, for all damage done to nature when constructing or exploiting nature for their own purposes. Typically, if one constructs a building with 200 square meters of natural land being lost at its base, he has to compensate doing something to another piece of land of 200 meters. The compensation could be done in ways as different as building a roof garden on top of the building or planting an adequate number of trees somewhere else on a deserted plot of land of the same size in the countryside, either acquiring that land or offering his services free to its owner. One could also accept to clean a piece of land of the same size from all its waste on a designated place by the municipality. One could decide to recycle the excavated land of his construction, if it is of good quality, spreading it onto the driest piece of a public garden or protected park designated by some government agency, local or national, for that purpose. One could pay for the expenses of replacing 200 square meters of cemented or paved road, or sidewalk, with breathing pavement stones as seen below. Certainly, municipalities cutting trees for any purpose, like for building new roads, should be forced to plant an equivalent number of trees somewhere else as a legal pre-requisite before cutting the existing ones and, by the same token, be forced to use only breathing pavements for these new roads if they are located in areas of limited traffic speed. The possibilities are infinite but the principle is very clear and simple: you can only 'destroy' a natural piece of land if you accept to improve another one of the same size, one way or the other. If it were impossible to do this directly in some specific cases, then the compensation could be done in some other way, from a social task point of view, like building a roof water collection system on an old hospice building housing senior people, or a schools, in order to ensure the users of that old building could start enjoying a nice piece of green garden somewhere around their building. Relevant municipalities could invent thousands of ways to apply the philoecosophical Compensation Principle, either directly, at the choice of the individual concerned, or indirectly through a participation in a social project of some kind. This way, local authorities would safe a lot of money for a meaningful amount of cumulative improvements to the land or the old buildings of their territory.  

  2. The PhiloEcosophical Structure Principle -  Similarly the law should include PES (Philo-Ecosophical Structure principle) in all legislation related to the conception, design and approval of all new buildings being built. This means any new building being built, or even renovated, should be conceived in terms of philoecosophical objectives. All should have for example roof rain water collection facilities, with separate piping to recycle the rain water in various ways until exhaustion, like using it for flushing toilets or watering gardens. All new buildings should have open playing grounds and/or internal playing spaces for children and social spaces where adults with young children and senior citizens can associate and relax together, helping each other with common baby sitting agreements. All new buildings should have facilities for attending and entertaining domestic animals, obligatory parking slots for all residents or workers, only breathing pavements at ground level etc etc. In other words, all new buildings being constructed or renovated should be conceived in order to try to achieve as much as possible all the suggestions mentioned below along with possibly better ones yet to be thought of and listed.

  3. Building Liquid Waste Filtering - (BuLiWaF) Each new building should be responsible to pre-filter its own waste waters and to dispose of the filtered dirt through a regular or special intervention paid to the city of attachment. This BuLiWaF (Building Liquid Waste Filtering) system would include a simple chemical analysis unit capable of warning the city in case of the passage of chemically dangerous waste waters or liquids that should not have been disposed of through normal building water drains. Each new building should be equipped with BuLiWaF by law. Existing buildings could be required to install them within specified deadlines, and given tax incentives to install them as soon as possible. In addition, each now Street should have an additional BuLiWaF of its own, as a second level of filtering liquid waste. Owners of properties in these new buildings or on these new streets would be eventually legally responsible for letting unacceptable liquid waste go through their drains. A systeRoofRainWaterLostm of high tax incentives, on the positive side, and high fines and penalties, on the negative side, would accompany the efficient management of the new BuLiWaF system.

  4. Roof Rain Water Collection - Architects should be forced by law to build all new buildings, private or public, condominium or separate houses, in such a way that they can collect all roof rain water. That water is usually quite clean but would not be used for drinking purposes. It could be only pre-filtered, accumulated and used, until exhaustion, for purposes like flushing toilets and watering gardens. When exhausted, the system would allow the passage to the present use of city water even for these purposes if necessary. All apartments in new buildings should, by law, have two sources of 'fresh' water: the regular one from the city, for drinking, cooking and washing purposes, and the one from the rain water tank for flushing toilets, watering plants, washing balconies or other pavement areas etc. All apartments should have the necessary double water pipes and sources. Each bathroom should have a double source, and also each balcony and each condominium common or open areas. Each building would also have such rain water taps on each of their 4 faces, maybe more than on on the street face, for janitors or owners to easily clean their part of the front sidewalk, with other taps distributed as appropriate in garage areas, gardens etc. In buildings near the sea, he secondary source of water for blushing toilets could even possibly come from the sea if the city had the adequate systems to recycle salt water after its use.  RainWaterCollection

  5. Under Roof or Under Ground Water Tanks - Roof rain water of all buildings should be collected directly in an under-roof tank level, over the top living space. When tanks became dry because of lack of rain for a long period, they could also be filled from city water for other security purposes. One purpose could be to counter-balance the shocks of an earthquake, preventing the collapse of the building, like it is already done at some skyscrapers at the moment. The other purpose could obviously be to supply an immediate important water source in case of fire, independently of the time it may take for the firemen to come in. These tanks would also have a ground level access for firemen to draw rain water on need, for the building with a fire or an adjacent one. As for individual houses, they could alternatively have underground cisterns to harvest all their roof water. All new buildings or houses not complying should pay additional municipal taxes but in principle all architects should be forced by law to design all new buildings and houses only with full roof rain water harvesting systems, at roof level or underground.

  6. Rain Water and Compost Toilets - By law, all new private home, or new apartment buildings of less than 10 floors, should combine their source of roofCompostToilet rain water, as explained above, with at least low-flush compost toilets with their compost system shared at street square level. In case of rain water exhaustion, they could switch to their regular source of fresh water with regular full flushing. All new public buildings, and all new apartment buildings with more than 10 floors, should have no alternative but to use full no-flush compost toilets with their individual building compost system accessible for control and maintenance on a piece of land accessible from an adjacent street. All compost production should be accessible for regular collection by the city for fertilization of the driest pieces of public land in, or around, the city.  

  7. Suspended Roof Gardens - The fresh ground earth taken out or excavated to build new buildings should, whenever possible, be kept preciously and reused properly in new places where new trees and plants can grow and offer new space for domestic animals and outdoor entertainment of human beings. This could include, when possible, suspended roof gardens over the exact same buildings where the excavated earth came from. In such cases, roof water collection could serve two purposes: water the plants of the suspended garden and, once filtered down, gathered for reuse in various places, like to flush all the toilets of the building designed to receive this kind of water or to fill the special tanks of rain water mentioned earlier for various purposes.

  8. Residential Vegetarian Food Farming - New houses or apartment buildings should all, by law, be built with integrated spaces and facilities for easy personal vegetarian food gardening and vegetarian food window farming. In the case of apartment buildings, window farming could be offered on a private apartment basis or, as a choice, on a condominium basis outside of the main building. All new apartment buildings should by law have at least a common garden area with a place for growing fruits and vegetables and hopefully too some good facilities for window farming. This would not only improve the health of the consumers, and reduce their food costs immensely, but at the same time help fight air and land pollution. It would also have the additional benefit of encouraging the vegetarian alimentary regime and reduce proportionately the horror of the sufferance caused to animals raised in the massive meat production circuit. Even in existing houses or apartment buildings with no gardening space, the new trend of Window Farming should be encouraged through even various forms of tax benefits. 

  9. Water From New Squares and Streets -  All new streets or squares being developed should certainly include only buildings as mentioned above, equipped to collect and filter rain water. These new streets and squares however should also be equipped to collect rain water falling on streets. Their collecting system should also be linked, or linkable on request to the building rain collecting systems. That city rain water reserve could be used on a supplementary basis when necessary by any individual building on the street, but certainly also used in special circumstances, like fire emergency. Many old medieval squares, even in places like Venice in Italy that is already built on water, were equipped with such rain collection drains and wells that were, and still are in many cases, very useful for both the functionality and the safety of the buildings around these squares. Modern technology should easily be able to copy and improve the functionality of such systems.

  10. Residential Blocks - What can be done at compound or street level, can also be done on a higher scale at residential street block level. All the sources of building or compound or street rain water collected in a block of streets should be linked together in a local network for common use in case of important fires in that block. The local networks of each block should also be connectable on demand in case of a rare emergency for one particular building or for the area.

  11. Breathing Traffic Pavements - In all places where traffic cannot flow legSanPietriniPavementally at a higher speed than 50 kilometers per hour, pavements must never be in cement or asphalt. It must be, by law, constructed in various types of stones or tiles with little interspaces allowing the land to absorb a minimum of water and to breathe in and out. That breathing land should always be at least 2 meter deep in places where some kind of construction or passage sits under it. The typical example of breathing surfaces are the conic stones called "Small St. Peter's Stones" ('Sanpietrini' in Italian), as per the name of the stones used on that famous square in Rome, Italy. May parking areas have also invented good versions of such breathing traffic pavement tiles that do not cover the land entirely and allow its natural breathing and natural absorption of water. All sidewalks should also have regular breathing interspaces, with not more than half a meter in between, and never be in the form of a continuous slate of cement or asphalt for hundreds of meters like it is too often the case today. 

  12. Old Tires to Become Breathing Traffic Pavement -  BreathinRoadPavementFromRecycledTiresg Traffic Pavements, as explained above, should become an absolute rule. All slow traffic streets, parking areas or sidewalks, new ones or old ones being refreshed, should be paved this way, after removing all old cement and/or asphalt where existing. All old vehicle tires should be melted and recycled into perforated carpeting units of traffic pavement of at least 10 centimeters in thickness, to ensure high stability, assembled tightly together by appropriate puzzle-like clenching notches, and positioned on a water-filtering base of sand, itself positioned on natural water-absorbing earth. Cement and asphalt should never be used as a base nor as a covering substance. Not only would this kind of slow traffic pavement allow normal and natural breathing and watering of the land, but the carpeting units could be very easily dismantled, at much lower cost than the current usual traffic pavements, for replacement, maintenance or underground work, saving a lot of money to municipality budgets. In particular this kind of pavement would ensure an excellent recycling of all old tires that should eventually all be recuperated from all dumping areas. Thousands of square kilometers of new breathing land would be quickly recuperated and millions of old tires would get to serve a better purpose than filling ugly dumps. All vehicle owners should be forced by law to bring their old tires to an appropriate recycling area or else pay a very high fine, and lose the use of their driver's license for one month.     

  13. New Streets Development - All new streets being developed should have, starting from the line of buildings of one side and its eventual front garden space: a small lane of public green with trees between the private building line area and the sidewalk, the sidewalk with breathing tiles, a lane of parking slots at 45 degrees interrupted only by regular bus stops and garbage areas, two lanes of traffic one way, a middle/central lane of green with trees interrupted only by center lane spaces before corners for the traffic to wait to turn left, and the opposite same configuration on the other side. All the water drainage and other manholes for various purposes would be built under the two parking lanes on both sides of the street. In fact, the parking lanes would be easily removable roofs to under surface continuous corridors for the free passage of pipes and cables for various purposes. These continuous corridors would cross and connect openly at each street intersection but without the necessity of removable roofs through the traffic street pavement at these intersections. Any kind of public works would thus be done most quickly and efficiently without disturbing much the active traffic nor the pedestrians but rather only the parking through the temporarily missing places. 

  14. Garbage Hiding and Handling - Following the logic of the above paragraph on "New Streets Development", all garbage could be easily accumulated 'underground' instead of on street surface. The surface would only provide a set of small shutters for recycling garbage purposes, one set per street block, leading to related under sidewalk vaults for garbage of different types. The garbage trucks would come, open the common roof of the small shutters, to access on of the vaults, and aspire the garbage through a kind of powerful vacuum cleaner, or raise the one container to be emptied into the truck. Closing the shutters roof could trigger the spray of (accumulated street) water to flush and clean the vault. The shutters and vaults could also be most easily inspected and serviced on request through under sidewalk corridors. A censor on the surface shutter could also indicate when the vault is 3/4 full, soliciting the priority intervention of the relevant garbage trucks. The vaults themselves would also be easily removable when necessary from under the appropriate surface openings of the corresponding sidewalks.

  15. Green Private Ground Floors - All ground floors of condominium buildings with no street stores at ground level should be 'green' by law, in all new buildings. This would include only breathing pavements or grass/plants. This would not prevent these buildings to have parking places at various underground levels, rather the opposite. 

  16. Private Parking Underground Floors - All condominium buildings, independently of their 'green' ground floors at street level, should have, by law, sufficient levels of parking places underground, to allow at least two parking slots for each apartment in that building. It should include also a minimum number of parking slots for visitors coming to these apartments.

  17. Parking Public Ground Floors - All new public building ground floors should be essentially a public parking floor built behind a facade at the ground level for reception purposes. If the building is a condominium building with stores on the ground level, there could only be one or few small stores covering the facade, in order to allow for public parking for clients of these stores at the ground level behind the facade. If the slots are few, a discrete electronic indicator could show incoming clients if slots are still available. However, in the case of condominium buildings with stores on their facade, the back parking area should also include a mini dog pond area, with appropriate litter sand space, for some of the animals of the condominium building.

  18. Condominium Dog Ponds - All condominium buildings with no stores as a facade, must have a green ground floors. If there are stores on its facade, the back becomes by law a public parking area for these stores. If there are no stores on its facade, the back becomes a green area that must include also a dog pond space for people having dogs (or other small domestic animals, like cats) and living in that building. That dog pond area must include a litter area with sand that must be cleaned regularly at the expense of the condominium owners. Owners of dogs having to leave on an emergency could leave their dogs in that area, with a special flag outside indicating the presence of the dog, if they had to leave quickly without being able to make a specific agreement with a friendly neighbor to take care of the dog. There would be a kind of condominium responsibility for the dogs of the condominium, with a collar indicating by law non only the name of the owner, but the address of the condominium that could receive it. This would prevent many owners from being forced to abandon dogs on the street, like there are thousands on our streets at the moment.

  19. Condominium First Floors - All new condominium buildings should all have by law an open, or semi-open first floor equipped for the relaxing of the older people living in the building and in particular the free and safe playing of all the children of that building in a protected area above the ground level where cars and unknown public pedestrians circulate. It should normally be called indifferently, and seen as either, the socializing, or entertainment, or relaxing, or playing floor. The whole first floor however must be fully reserved to that common purpose independently of the fact that the building might be part of a compound with more open spaces for socializing purposes. Being on the first floor would also easily isolate it from the street level for security purposes. Some of that space could also be equipped and appointed formally as kindergarten space in some of the buildings, for the children of the parents who both have to go to work. If not as an official kindergarten, that entertainment space could also include at least a pleasant common baby sitting area available to all parents living in any of the apartments, for a group of young children living in the building to be 'baby-sitted' together, with possibly the area being 'staffed' in turn by retired rotational grand-parents who have been brought in to live in that building by the incentives we mentioned for family reunification (see our separate page on Family Issues).   

  20. Condominium Animal Facilities - Having taken good care of older people and children through special facilities on the first floor of all buildings, and of adults through better parking areas, we can now think of assisting much better the domestic animals of these buildings and the comfort of their owners in handling them. New condominium building should all have at least one magnetic small door to allow animals to go out on balconies freely, at any time of the day or night, in particular when their owners are out. Adjacent balconies of neighbors could have double-locking such doors to be open on both sides when one owner has to be out for few days and the friendly neighbor accepts to let their animals come to his balcony for attending their needs temporarily. Buildings should also have special animal ramps allowing animals to independently and safely go down to the dog pond and litter area on the ground floor of the building at the back of the ground floor. Special mini staircases cold also be accommodated either in the inner space of a person's staircase or in special 'columns', with openings maybe at every second or third floor for access and cleaning in case of emergency.

  21. Fire Fighting - These mini staircases for animals could also be conceived to be transformable, in case of fire, into special slopes for people to use in case of emergency, sliding themselves safely down to the ground, possibly also with the help of some water from the roof rain water tanks to flush themselves down, somewhat like it is done now for fun in public areas of water land games. If the 'staircases' were circular for example, built in separate columns linked at some safe distance from the building at every second or third floor, and not using regular staircase 'steps' but rather small stepping levels, people could literally flush themselves down to ground in a short moment in case of emergency. With a bit of imagination, the same principle could possibly even apply to skyscrapers, maybe in sections of up to 10 floors at a time, and save thousands of lives in major fire emergencies in that kind of tall buildings. The reserve of street rain water collection mentioned above would also be very useful when necessary to fight any kind of fire emergency.   

  22. Residential Compounds - In residential compounds, there is much more we can do than in individual apartment buildings. Compounds usually offer free open space in the middle of the compound. This extra space should be programmed for better civic improvements. It could have reserved space for senior citizens to socialize adequately and maybe help each other. It could have additional space for children playing grounds, in addition to what is available on the first floors of each building, in particular for playing group sports like football, or basketball. Regarding animals, the open spaces could allow the integration of few bigger representatives of the kingdom. Few horses could be accommodated, with even galloping trails, either privately owned horses or condominium owned horses, maybe also a few sheep or goats could be part of the compound etc. Domestic animals like cats and dogs could be particularly well equipped with additional grounds for playing with the children or adults of the compound, in particular maybe for walking purposes with old age people. Compounds could also be equipped with a mini veterinarian  area to keep sick animals from the owners, even occasionally for bringing in vagrant animals from the street, dogs in particular, to be assisted medically for a short period. A compound should also be built by law in such a way that even most of the ground rain water could be collected, and filtered to help fit the needs of flushing all the toilets of the compound, and water the plants of both people on balconies and common green areas of the compound. That rain water from the compound grounds could supplement the rain water from the roofs that is also collected by law for that purpose on a primary basis. Firemen could also draw on this extra source of compound water in priority over other sources of fresh drinking water in case of fire.

  23. Children Entertainment - Children now spend too much time in front of a TV, a computer or a video game machine, most of them closed in their own bedrooms, and very often alone, in families with only one or two children doing the same thing in complete isolation of each other and of their parents. In the meantime they see mostly violent behavior, virtual or real, on TV and on video games, instead of more cultural stuff that could help their development from a civic and intellectual point of view. This is a tragic situation with dangerous and drastically negative consequences on their development as growing citizens, as evidenced by the growing and rampaging amount of violent bullying and micro-criminality in our society on the part of minor children. If it not possible to prevent all this, it is certainly possible to give children incentives to at least see their TV and play their video-games more in the presence of other children, and maybe with the discrete surveillance of other adults living in their building. If, as mentioned above, children are given a complete open common first floor, reserved as a relaxing and entertainment area in their building, with more safe playing grounds at the back of the ground floor of their building and maybe more common playing space in the middle of their residential compound, many things can be done to improve the situation. If and when children have completed their school homework, they could be given, as a reward, the permission to go down to the reserved first floor to see TV or play video games with other children, where condominiums parents would take turns for discrete surveillance. This way, TV viewing and video gaming could be restricted to certain hours and places, instead of being allowed in their own rooms. Their own rooms should be pleasantly decorated but made to 'feel' rather boring compared to the entertainment first floor where other children would also be present. This would be a subliminal incentive for them to socialize more, an real opportunity to enjoy themselves much more than alone in their bedroom, and concurrently a chance for parents to better control what comes into play in influencing the future civic behavior of their growing children. 

With few and simple philoecosophical reforms, in particular in relation to what we can do with our architecture in future constructions, and thus at no costs for existing buildings, we could improve immensely our civic life in most modern cities.