The construction of model villages to re-house flood disposed people is in full swing with, in Punjab alone, 36 such projects currently underway and another 21 scheduled to be initiated soon. These villages, purportedly equipped with modern facilities will, no doubt, be welcomed by those lucky enough to be allocated accommodation in them but, one wonders, how will they adjust to their brand spanking new surroundings and the 'giant leap forward this represents? It is to be hoped, no doubt in vain, that both architects and planners took into consideration the physical and cultural requirements of the segment of the population these dwellings are intended for prior to drawing up plans let alone implementing them. Similar projects, in areas devastated by the 2005 earthquake, largely failed to meet the basic necessities of the people, who now inhabit what are basically reinforced metal boxes in Azad Kashmir: These boxes are earthquake proof, but are incredibly hot during the summer months and freezing cold during winter plus, as was recently only observed, lacking in certain facilities previously taken for granted when the lucky recipients lived in their ancestral homes. A prime example of this is that of traditional apiary practices: Traditional rural homes in Azad Kashmir and other northern areas have bee hives build into their substantially thick, stone and earth walls at strategic places, usually close to an interior heat source, a chimney pipe being the most common, to keep the bees warm during winter. These wall hives have a tiny bee entrance on the exterior of the building and a small cupboard type door inside the house and from where, at the correct season, honey is easily extracted from the combs. Obviously, walls of a certain thickness are necessary for such hives to be viable, and equally obviously, such hives cannot be part and parcel of metal or even single brick walls. Families dependant on the annual sale of honey produced in this fashion have lost a valuable source of potential income along with sweet, nutritious treats for household members and while it is simple to suggest that they should build freestanding bee hives outside they have, unfortunately, no idea of how to go about this and absolutely no idea about bee keeping per see, as the generations of wild bees residing in house walls looked after themselves. Traditional rural homes also incorporate winter animal accommodation easily accessible from inside the house: This is usually an adjoining, rambling construction with a door connecting it to the living area and, along with buffaloes, cows, sheep, goats and chickens, has sufficient space for the storage of animal fodder and fuel wood. Unhygienic as this may sound, its main benefits, aside from ensuring that the animals are kept warm, is that they can be tended by women and children without them having to venture outside in adverse weather conditions and also protects precious livestock from predators including human ones. Traditional homes are often rather sprawling affairs catering to perhaps three generations of the same extended family with each and every person playing a contributory role for the survival of the whole. It would be pertinent to point out that the writer is in full support of improved living conditions for all those belonging to the lower income classes including, of course, those made homeless by the unprecedented flooding of last summer many of whom have, even at this late stage, received either negligible or absolutely no assistance whatsoever, but this needs to be done keeping all applicable considerations in mind. Housing in model villages, however, is highly unlikely to cater for previously accepted cultural norms and simply expecting people to be so grateful for a roof over their heads that they will instantly adapt to a very different mode of living is expecting miracles. The increasingly visible trend towards breakdown of extended family units is liable to be exacerbated by life in well-intentioned model villages and will, as 'individual homes cost more to run, serve to increase the number of poverty-stricken rural people heading to cities in search of a better life, and will also adversely impact those unable to find work, the elderly depended on round the clock care from other family members and also on the very young, who often rely on close relatives to care for them when their parents are at work. Well-intentioned model villages could, in the long run, be more harmful to traditionally interdependent communities than providing the requisite funds for people to re-house themselves. One final stumbling block and a major one at that, is that a high percentage of these model villages are at a distance from where their proposed inhabitants previously resided, which means that the residents will have to travel further to their place of employment at, with the cost of transport rising regularly, an additional expense they will find hard to meet and which their employers are highly unlikely to take into consideration. Such changes of location will further affect the socio-economic viability and cohesion of traditional communities, who have always relied on each other for survival. The writer is a Murree-based freelance columnist.