A Rock Star in the Pantheon of Sustainability

In the 60’s “CLAPTON IS GOD” graffiti started showing up around London.  I’m sure if you’re wandering around Chicago, you will find graffiti paying homage “DAVIS IS GOD”.  But you asked yourself, “What the heck does that mean?” and dismissed it “Kids on drugs”.  Well, here’s the story.

See this kind, grandmotherly lady smiling at you? She is the Mick Jagger/Keith Richards in the world of sustainability!  Check out A Trojan Horse of Love.  It’s right up there with “Stairway to Heaven”, or “Satisfaction” for all-time greats.



Talk about rock stars- Susan Davis is in the Pantheon!

  • A deal is a good deal when it’s good for all concerned.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Generosity comes back ten-fold to the bottom line.
  • Socially responsible companies are more productive and profitable than others.
  • Water doesn’t rise any higher than its source.
  • Treasure teamwork; share the wealth.
  • The best call a company can get is a call of complaint because it helps it to improve, so when you get a complaint call, start by saying “thank you!”.
  • Love the discipline of the numbers.
  • Never make decisions out of fear
  • Trust the universe.
Image courtesy of A Trojan Horse of Love  … READ MORE >>

When competition drives excellence

Elisabet Sahtouris…I don’t know who this lady is, but I’ll bet there’s more pearls of wisdom where this comes from! Kill your enemy or feed your enemy…hmmmm… Tough choice, eh?

Elisabet Sahtouris Interview from StormCloud Media on Vimeo.

Freiberg Germany has a yearly contest as to who’s neighborhood can have the lowest energy consumption. Another example where competition drives excellence. That’s what I’m talking about. Together we can make sustainable real!

Map to the Sustainable Gold! Part 2

All together now…  “We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine…We all live in a yellow…”

I’ve embarked on this adventure that leads, I fully believe, to the promised land, the gold at the end of the rainbow, the treasure…Sustainable Urban Villages.  I bought this map from a guy in the alley…. the story unfolds from Part 1…

treasure map

Yar Maties, we be in the hunt for the Sustainable Gold!

The Map, as best as I can read it,  says we’re starting with Stories from a Sustainable Future.

Over a short  meeting in Seth’s office, he offered to make Sustainable Urban Villages the theme of an entire issue (40 or 48 pages). I immediately saw the opportunity: we could get the word out across North Central New Mexico…  one of those “Yar Mates, thar she blows!” moments…

I’ve put a draft  of a brochure together. The front panel reads:
What if You Could Design Your Thriving, Alive, Resilient, and Sustainable Future?

What Would Make the Design of Your Neighborhood So Compelling, You’d Move In?!… READ MORE >>

Yar Maties! The Map to a Sustainable Pot of Gold!Part 1

As I’m gathering the images for this post, the kick off of the Map to the Sustainable Gold, the sound track kicks in… I’m hearing the theme to Gilligan’s Island.  Please feel free to insert your favorite sea shanty! Hey, how bout “Yellow Submarine!”

treasure map

Yar Mates!, we be in the hunt for Sustainable Living!

The Map, as best as I can read it,  says we’re starting with Stories from a Sustainable Future.

If the stories are compelling enough, and the stories are from people who want to move into a Sustainable Urban Village, all the stakeholders will stay committed and persevere to the end! There’s that’s my theory, anyway.

The treasure needs to really compelling, as all manner of monsters may come roiling out of the depths!

If the landowners, investors, Architects, planners,  city policy persons, the secondary mortgage market, etc can see the value, they too will add their creativity to make this SUV real… READ MORE >>

Building Sustainability via Transition US

Transition US is picking up momentum. Here’s a short video to give you an intro.

The second video is a panel sharing how Cascadia Northwest is moving forward. Reno Transition contributes at. 9.45 min- 16.15 min. Lessons Learned-Not an Umbrella organization, but a crazy quilt…building networks. Envisioning Reno-each group that invites it’s people, get 5 minutes to explain what they do.

Portland reports out. Solar Salem.org is installing solar panels at $5.50 a watt @ 30.15min. Seattle reports out-Cathy,a policy wonk, city planner at 32.10. She sees a camel-in-the-tent strategy.

Bridge silos by supporting existing situations. In the beginning, held an outreach “Playing Well with Others”. To cover liability, partner up with groups with insurance policies@ 52.15 min.

Education is a big piece…people don’t know… Food is always good. Start with a community picnic.

As one of the speakers shared, “No one knows how to do this”. For me that’s good news, as I can block myself by thinking I should already know. It’s ok not to know!!! Alright then….take a step! Together we can make sustainable real!

Is There Gold at the End of the Sustainable Rainbow?

I woke up this morning, freaking out.  Doubting myself…I’ve oversold the opportunity…I’m proposing this community organizing path around a sustainable neighborhood demonstration site, and there is no funding.

It’s like I’m organizing a road trip and have enough money to get to Lubbock.  I need to ask my fellow travelers if they’ll chip in before we head out to New York.

The other thing that comes to my mind is this sign I’ve seen on the wall at local businesses…

“We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.”

So I sat myself down and mapped the road ahead, and figured out when the money needs to show up. I’ve been bootstrapping it out of pocket, but there comes a time for dinero….

“What” you might be saying, “is he talking about…specifically?!!”… READ MORE >>

A Think and Do Tank

From where I stand, Innovation is the name of the game.

How can we create an atmosphere conducive to innovation to better support the emerging sustainable economy in …emerging??

I’m envisioning an affordable, interdisciplinary Think and Do Tank, an innovation lab. As I contemplate this “Center for Innovation’, I can see there are several ways it could be configured to serve each region’s needs. This Think and Do Tank could well have an online presence that facilitates innovation.  Today, I’m going to focus on “real world” applications.

Some businesses, such as Google, pay their employees every week to spend 20% of their time on endeavors outside their “normal” jobs. These pursuits end up generating something like 80% of the innovative products Google develops.

The Think and Do Tank could be this kind of an asset for our community;… READ MORE >>

Renovate Your House, Transform the Neighborhood

Washing machines sit idle most of the time

Looking at the challenge of how to build our futures resilient and sustainable, my sense is the insulation in the burbs across America is woefully shy. Heating systems are not so efficient, heating ducts leak, appliances are not so energy efficient, and windows are not so good, to say the least.  These aren’t really economic problems until we hit global peak oil production.  Then the pain of rising prices, utility bills, and commuting will become increasingly excruciating,  is my guess.

What service would you like to provide to the neighborhood? Originally, the “dress” on House #1 was meant to conceal a gambling casino.

The cost of renovating a suburban home to a highly efficient passive (zero or low emissions) house is cost preventative in many situations.  My sense is most suburbanites will only be able to make these upgrades if they can bundle the costs as they add a second, third, four stories to their homes. To make this scenario work, the first floor will become mostly commercial, home occupation, and the floors above will contain rentals, offices or residential, maybe  multigenerational families with multiple contributions to the mortgage. The densities in the neighborhood have to be high enough to make the commercial successful.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers for this “2-4 story smart density infill/renovation to passive home standards” will only work if these free standing suburban homes are joined to create row houses.  My guess is the cost challenge of upgrading from an R 13 or R19 wall to a R 40? is too great a hurdle. By creating row houses, I’m thinking the amount of exterior walls is greatly reduced. Good sound insulation is essential, but much less expensive than getting to R 40 (or whatever a passive/zero emissions house design requires).

To add to the complexity,…


Sustainable Urban Village is an odd phrase.

Sustainable Urban Village is a mash up of opposites. “Village” is pastoral, dreamy, idealistic, old fashioned, small and intimate. “Urban” conjures up pretty much the opposite-gritty, concrete and asphalt, contemporary, hip, huge and cold. Add “sustainable” to the mix, and it becomes ….an odd phrase. Where would one find such a creature? And what qualities will it embody?

As we contemplate where we’re going as a people and we feel the ground shifting under us as we transform from a car dominated sprawl lifestyle to a pedestrian friendly, ecologically sound, lowered consumptive way of life, I’m suggesting we pick and choose from the best options; incorporating best practices, and lessons learned of what works and what doesn’t, leaving those choices with harsh unintended consequences behind.

vida streetscape

Live, work, play, learn, shop, all within walking. Kids play, while you catchup with a friend!

“What works” for me, rolls into 5 principles; “Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space……everywhere.” Another way to put it? Sustainable Urban Villages, and they are found…..everywhere.

It takes a certain number of residential to make commercial be successful.  These economies of scales hold true no mater where we live, in a rural setting, a grayfield, or in the suburbs. We will learn what works, what it takes to be sustainable. As we reinvent our economy, we will pick wisely, and base our investment in the future on the real, lasting values we hold collectively. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to live in balance with our earth.

Redeveloping ourselves sustainable is complicated and requires collaboration. We’re wired to innovate. As we rise to the greatest challenge humanity has ever known,  we will be amazing. Share your vision!

Together, we can bring forward the emerging sustainable economy, a lifestyle that is “Good for people, good for the planet, and good for the polar bears”.

Let’s make sustainable real!…

WANTED: Killer Modeling Tool to Sell Sustainable Urban Villages! Part 3

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — New construction of U.S. housing units plunged in February, erasing a sharp gain in January and coming close to an all-time-low level. March 16,2011


Bed ZED is different. We're not in Suburbia anymore, Todo!

If we want to revitalize the US Economy, we have to do things differently.

If we work with the 1/3 of the Boomers, and 88% of the Millennials that want to move into vibrant, alive, pedestrian friendly walkable neighborhoods, we can resurrect the construction industry and send us on a path to a prosperous, positive future! What is required is using a whole systems approach and designing for an exponentially more efficient way of life… READ MORE >>

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