Most revolutions start from the streets. The one, however, called for by the British anarchist, activist architectural group Street Farmers in their 1973 documentary Clearings in a Concrete Jungle, did not begin in the streets nor in public demonstration, but from the inner city: the interior of the urban fabric. To battle what the documentary diagnosed as the “highly structured detritus of metropolitan imagination,” the social and political revolution should start from the house and the way of inhabiting the land. The TV program envisioned a change of the city as a whole, achieved through tactical changes in small pieces—islands of habitation taken “off the grid” of energy supply.

The main theme of the documentary was one of the earliest ecological houses, the Eco-House, or Street Farmhouse, built in 1972 as a laboratory and living experiment by Grahame Caine,...

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