Life Liberty Happiness

Life Liberty Happiness

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Sometimes the most effective way to talk about a good idea is to write a story. This book tells the story of Ed Rice, a semi-retired senior town planner who spent 50 years planning the suburban developments of the town of Blandville, the place that could be anywhere. When the judge takes away his drivers license, he discovered what an absolute mess he and his peers created in approving what his critics called suburban sprawl. Unable to get around without a car, he sells his split-level rancher in Blandville Heights, and arranges for a driver to take him to a retirement home fours hours away. He has no choice as he resigns himself to an empty future where he will have little to do other than keep himself comfortably busy while he waits for death to take him. As his driver transports him one last time along the wide boulevards of Blandville, Ed explains to his driver the hollowness of what he helped build since the 1950's a place built not to serve its citizens, but to sell more cars. Finally, worn out as they pull onto the freeway, he drifts off to sleep. He awakes when his driver stops for lunch at a VillageTown; a 10,000 population community where everything its citizens need for daily life is within a ten-minute walk. The Visitor's Bureau invites him and his driver to take a tour of a most remarkable place, socially and culturally enriched, with a thriving local economy. It is a town made of 20 villages, side by side, each village different that the next, so it feels more like traveling from one country to another. His hosts explain that a VillageTown provides for what the ancients called "The Good Life." When several villages come together so they may be self-supporting or nearly so, the purpose of their continued existence is to provide for the Good Life, understood as the pursuits of conviviality, citizenship, artistic & intellectual growth, and spiritual development and fulfillment. Ed's tour guide, a young exchange student in the VillageTown hosted university year-abroad program escorts him from one village to another, introducing him to its citizens, each of whom tells their story of their life in their village. Most of the stories are real, and some of those who speak to Ed use their own words. Called cameos, these people include former Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall, Corporate Anthropologist Michael Henderson, Biologist Elisabet Sahtouris and Director of Doing Richard Hollingum. Other cameos by Professor John Bremer, and Slovenian Ambassador of Culture Miha Pogacnic are written by the author, but approved by the speakers. The author and many of the cameo speakers are part of a group called the Village Forum, dedicated to turning a good idea into real VillageTowns built around the world. It's an idea worth spreading; it's an idea worth doing. The book has been written for two reasons. 1) To explain the idea in an easy-to-read way that invites people to build their village. 2) To raise funds to build VillageTowns. All profits earned from the book sales goes to building VillageTowns. The author will collect no royalties and the publisher no fees. If, after reading the book, you like the idea, go to to learn more. If you think you would you like to live in a VillageTown the forum is where to express interest. Also check out two other books written by Claude Lewenz. "How to Build a Village" is a 256 page book with over 400 color photographs that provides detailed patterns of what works and why. "VillageTowns - the Next Step" is a recent book written because projects are now underway in four countries."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 234 pages
  • 170.18 x 238.76 x 12.7mm | 362.87g
  • New Zealand
  • English
  • colour illustrations
  • 0958286825
  • 9780958286824
  • 1,518,183

Our customer reviews

Life Liberty Happiness tells a story to present an idea. For the past 50 years man has been building communities for the wrong reasons, and now it is beginning to come apart. There is a better way, one based on timeless patterns benefiting from modern technology. The better way? The VillageTown. The book tells the story of now-retired town planner, Ed Rice, who lost his drivers licence, forcing him to sell his suburban home of 50 years and find a place where he can get by without a car. His choices are few and grim, and the book opens as Michael, his limo driver picks him up to take him to an affordable retirement home four hours away. Ed began his career in the 1950's when as a young architect his first job was to approve that suburban development in the town of Blandville. He approved all the suburban tracts for homes, strip malls, office and industrial parks, enclosed shopping malls and the miles and miles of commercial boulevards with their big box chain stores, fast food outlets, hollow motels, vast car dealerships, and other monuments to economic mediocrity and social vacuity. Car-less, Ed begins to realize what an utter mess he created. As Michael drives him past his life's work, in a kind of catharsis, Ed explains to Michael the problems and blandness of suburban sprawl. Finally, emotionally exhausted as the car pulls onto the freeway, Ed drifts off to sleep. He awakens when Michael the driver stops for lunch... at a VillageTown where they park in the motorpool and then walk into a 10,000-population town made of twenty villages. Each village has a completely different look and feel as the people who live there participated in the design and theme their own village. Ed meets the people who live there, and they tell him their stories and tell about their village. This brings to life the idea of living in a VillageTown in a way not possible in a book of non-fiction. Interestingly, not all of the book are words of the author, Claude Lewenz. Some of the people Ed encounters are real, living people and the stories they tell are their own, in their own words. Perhaps the most notable of these in Chapter 12 is Stewart Udall, former US congressman and Interior Secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Udall tells how he was a freshman congressman in 1956 when Senator Al Gore Sr. sponsored the Interstate Highway Act that established the framework for suburban sprawl. In his own words, Stewart Udall explains to Ed how there was no debate, no real consideration, and how it proved to be a colossal mistake. The book, Life Liberty Happiness, intends to be more than just entertaining or inspiring. It introduces a new idea. Its success will not be judged on how many books are sold, but how many VillageTowns are built. Having said that, the author agreed to take no royalties and the publisher to take no fees. Therefore: All net profits from book sales will go to building VillageTowns. Thus, the book functions both as a fundraiser and as an introduction for people who may decide they want to live in a VillageTown and participate in its development. If you like the idea, buy the book, become involved, and build your more
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