Wanva’s personal pod stopped at the end of a lane. Karen looked around. “We have another transfer here?” she asked.
Wanva laughed. “No, this is my place. I went with blended living.”
Karen examined the tall trees. After a minute she said, “Ok, that one seems to have windows. Very realistic bark-like exterior.”
“Normally I’d swing up to the main entrance, but we’ll use the lower level with the elevator.”
“Are there other houses near?”
“Scattered here and there. It’s a bit expensive to put up an ‘arty,’ in a forest.”
“Arty for artistic house?”
“Actually, it’s short for artificial tree; but I like your thinking.”
“So you can buy part of the forest to live in?”
“No, what a strange idea. If you have the resources, you can have a kit hauled into a spot you choose, and put up a place to live. No one owns the wild forest.”
“What about the houses in towns? Do people buy lots like on Earth, or just choose a place and put something up?”
“Baris don’t buy land. Yes, you could build an abode yourself somewhere in town but it would be unusual. Industrious baris who need to hire a lot of jobdoers build planned living area close to job sites. We can see one from the top of my arty. I’ll show you soon. Shall we?”
Wanva clicked something and a door slid up. They stepped into a lift and Wanva said, “Top look-out.”
“Oh! I see what you mean,” Karen said. Little houses in neat rows surrounded a large building. Each neat pyramid stretched up with glassy walls sectioned by balconies flowing with greenery.
“If baris don’t own land, how do you make a garden for your own food? Do you use those balcony gardens?”
“We’ve found it more efficient to grow food under controlled conditions inside buildings,” Wanva said
The Ambassador pulled up a photo on her Pocod. “We found that too! Remember this garden on Chiron is much more than ornamental. Every plant is useful. Some are from heritage seeds, some were bred for the trip.”
“Yes, I remember the garden with the beautiful flowers. I just didn’t know if it was special for the ship or not,” the alien minister said.
Karen nodded. “Of course. We do have many indoor gardens on Earth now. Growing out in the weather became increasingly difficult until the mid-twenty-first century.”
Wanva swished her tail understandingly. “On my planet, balcony and roof gardens are usually just decorative, or even just left wild. When you build a structure, you’re morally obliged to remove the top soil and re-distribute it in garden patches on your building. The growing surface area should be about the same as the area the building takes up.”
“You say morally obliged. I gather you don’t have a set of rules for buildings? You would become a shunned one if you build your place wrong?”
“It’s a little more complicated than that, but eventually that could happen.”
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