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GSBN: International Conference for Africa

Dear all,
just to say that unfortunately I would say South Africa is far from ready to
host the next or near future SB International conference. At present there
is no real unified network of Straw balers here....just a bunch of inspired
individuals building inspite of all the odds. The expansion of the SB
movement is being increasingly stymied by a tightening of inappropriate
government/bank leglislation when it comes to building new homes in natural
building materials (though ironically not when it comes to other types of
buildings). With home builder pioneers being at the mainstay of the SB
building movement, I don't see a conference being viable here until we
overcome this hurdle..... so that SB and other forms of natural building can
take their rightful place in addressing some of the huge inequalities we are
faced with in this country.

I so wish to be able to afford the cash and time to attend one of your
conferences within the next few years.....as I would find it invaluable to
be able to see, understand and photograph a range of quality SB buildings in
a first world country....particularly the States.....to bring back here to

To explain.(could write a thesis on this topic)..... Ironically most South
Africans are not easily impressed by what is done locally, but show someone
what is being done in a first world country and you gain almost immediate
respect/status. Basically what you have to understand is that South Africa
is still dogged by a 3rd world mentality (even though many parts and peoples
of South Africa are also very much first world). Thus there is this momentum
that drives 3rd world countries (certainly in Southern Africa) to strive for
what the 1st world nations have achieved.and turn their backs or look down
on what is local and what is percieved as backward or undeveloped. So when I
show a government person an example of one of my SB buildings, they remain
highly sceptical, that is until expalin how rich folk in America are
building them.
looking forward to attending a future conference
with respect

Andy Horn

Eco Design Architects
tel/fax: 07 21 4621614 /  4613198
160 Sir Lowry Rd. Zonnebloem,
7925, Cape Town
South Africa

----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin Hammer" mfhammer@...
To: "GSBN" GSBN@...
Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 1:26 AM
Subject: Re: GSBN:Next International Conference

Laura, thanks for bringing up the important subject of the location of
2008.  I have very strong feelings about this.

First, however, without going into detail, I want to say I thought the
recent ISBBC in Ontario was an extraordinary success, and I thank all of
those in Ontario who did such great work making it so, as well as everyone
who attended and contributed.  Truly amazing, diversely informative, and
routinely inspiring.  Maybe in a future e-mail (or TLS article) I or
could share more about this.  And without diminishing the enormous work
many in the Ontario SB Coalition did, a special thanks to Chris Magwood
his steady presence throughout and for his inspired closing address.

OK.  ISBBC 2008.  Two offers to host ISBBC 2008 were expressed at the
Ontario conference.  One from Maurice Bennett of CASBA (for California)
one, as Laura has stated for Colorado.  Of course any offer to host and
on the large task of making it happen is greatly appreciated.  Both
California and Colorado have been fertile ground in the evolution of straw
bale building.  But I feel strongly that, if at all possible, the ISBBC
should not be in North America  (I also think the U.S. should get out of
North America, but that is a different matter).

3 of the first 5 ISBBCs have been in North America (California '99,
'00, Ontario '06).  '02 was in Australia, and '04 was in Denmark.  Without
knowing if anyone or group is willing/able to take this on, it seems to me
that having the '08 conference on the continent of Asia (e.g., China) or
Africa (e.g., South Africa) would keep the conference on an expanding
instead of a shrinking one.  If that is not possible, then maybe somewhere
in Europe (e.g., Germany, France, the U.K., Spain) or New Zealand.
also seems like a possible candidate.  In addition to the obvious
of the willingness of the host, there may be other considerations, such as
native language, and ease (including cost) of people in the worldwide
community getting there.

After '08, I could see the conference accepting the kind offer of those
Colorado (which certainly has a lot to show), or wherever else seems

So those are my thoughts on the subject, and without knowing how this
decision gets made, I hope this stimulates productive discussion.

Martin Hammer
California, USA

Dear International Community,
At the end of the great international conference in Canada recently, the
Colorado contingent stood up and offered to have the next int'l
conference ('08?) in Colorado, where we have several locations to choose
from with high concentrations of straw bale homes, schools and other
structures as well as a very active state association. There were also
conversations among other folks about whether the next conference should
be moved off the North American continent. Being new to this int'l
conference scene, I thought I would represent the CO folks and write to
all of you asking for your comments. Does it really come down to who is
willing and able to host such an event or is there some more meaningful
way to navigate this choice? We would be honored to have the chance to
host such an event, but are very sensitive to the global needs.

Thanks for your thoughts on this,

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