Safe in My Home-Time to Legalize Drugs?

Stealing Stuff, Security, and Trust of Neighbors

I recently heard Mark Fisher on NPR. The guy had his home broken into, and laptops and money stolen.  The real kicker, was the burgular went on Mark’s son’s Facebook page, and posted a picture of himself pointing to the money, while wearing Mark’s  brand new coat.

Mark learned about the system, and about himself. ” I don’t feel as safe any more.  I’ve lost trust in my neighbors. The system is overwhelmed, only 12% of burglars are sentenced.”

Two officers confided that they and their colleagues rarely press hard on burglary cases because the courts almost always let thieves go with nothing more than probation. Maybe that’s why four days after we handed over the photo, we were still waiting to hear from the detective assigned to the case. 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,… READ MORE >>

World Peace this Week, Sustainable Neighborhoods Next Week!

I just watched John Hunter’s TED presentation….So Dang Good!  He has his 4th graders solving World Peace in one week!  I wrote him to see if the game, played on a 3 dimensional 4′x4′ board game, could be adapted to sustainable neighorhoods.  Social, Economic and Ecological sustainability is so complicated, but hey, so is World Peace!

I dream of online and real world tools that give us the ability to redevelop our lifestyle properous, resilient, and sustainable.  Wouldn’t it incredible to give our kids that game/modeling tool!!!! The gap between school and the real world can be so great….how can we so such a disfavor?!! It’s a big job, the greatest challenge mankind has ever faced…we need our kids participation and innovation in making sustainable real!

Here’s John’s video.

3rd of 29 Ways to Make Money on Your Home-Open a Commercial Shop

I’ve started a list of good ideas that come about if we rethink the functions and interplay of our home and its neighborhood.  So far I’ve got 29 killer (If I do say so myself)  ideas.  The first 7 are home oriented, the last 22 are more neighborhood oriented. Add your ideas to the list via the comment area!

Home Design 

Home Occupation

I like the idea, the signage could be improved!

3. Rent Out a Work Space

Live/work homes have a separate workspace with commercial potential. What if you reconfigured part of your house to be a workshop or a commercial space?  Of course the zoning may not allow it.  Here in Santa Fe, home occupation is an accepted usage, with conditions on how many parking spaces and the number of allowable employees. A big difference between home occupation and commercial in the eyes of Santa Fe regulations is the home occupation is for appointment only customers/

If your clientele would “follow you home” , opening up your business out of your house could be a large saving.

Maybe your house has a great location, and a neighbor is interested in opening up a yoga studio;  maybe you just don’t need such a big house, and could use the income. … READ MORE >>

2nd of 29 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR WELL DESIGNED HOME AND NEIGHBORHOOD

I’ve started a list of good ideas that come about if we rethink the functions and interplay of our home and its neighborhood.  So far I’ve got 29 killer (If I do say so myself)  ideas.  The first 7 are home oriented, the last 22 are more neighborhood oriented. Add to the list via the comment area!

Home Design 

Granny Flat

Granny Flat Above Garage

#2. Rent Out “Granny Flat” Over Garage

The space above the garage is an opportunity for a guest room, separate residence, or a home office.  A typical garage is what, 20′ x 24 ‘? That is 480 sq ft.  I know I want to stay independent when I get older, and having my own space would be fabulous!

The space could work really well for a young person as well. They’re learning to be more independent and they have a bio-clock that likes to stay up late and get up late.

Maybe you’d like to move into the granny flat, and rent out the main house, staying in the neighborhood with long time friends.

Design  tips.

Going up stairs is a great way to stay in shape. Maybe at some point, … READ MORE >>

Grading A-F; Schools as Centers of Community

How do I feel about the A-F grading of New Mexico Schools? Well, thank you for asking!

The challenges of our times are so extraordinary, they call for a different approach to life. Working collaboratively on real world problems, creating living sustainability, with a community wide range of stakeholders is the school of our times.

Grading Schools A-F

Schools as Centers of Community Sustainability

 

What if each school and its surrounding neighborhoods  set the intention of having the school become the center of the community? The school would then work with the surrounding neighbors in redeveloping into a socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable community!
The grading, A-F, would be a indicator of how the school/neighborhood was doing in terms of sustainability;… READ MORE >>

The #1 way to Support Local Food is…

The #1 way to Support Local Food is by… creating a deeply affordable lifestyle. Lowering the cost of living frees up customers’ pocket books so they can buy more local food and dine at restaurants serving locally produced food.

Santa Fe's Farmers Market

Local Farmers, Local Food...Santa Fe Saturday AM

A deeply affordable lifestyle is essential in other key ways as well. Farmers and their employees need affordable housing, water, land, processing facilities, season extending structures, fertilizers, etc.  Higher costs in any one of these networks of networks undermines our food security.

Here in Santa Fe we have one of the best Farmer’s Markets in the nation, apparently.  I think much of its popularity is because Santa Feans have more disposable income. And yet, in spite of all the success, Beneficial Farms CSA‘s Steve Warshawer estimates all the capacity of the Northern New Mexico regional farmers would feed only 2000 folks.  Santa Fe current population is around 70,000, with a surrounding regional total of approx 100,000.

For our regional capacity, our Food Shed, to grow significantly, I believe we will have to work  together to create deep affordability and free up more disposable income. I call it “Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space”. The open space is for agriculture, natural habitat, and recreation.

This strategy is good for everyone; builds our regional resiliency and food security, lowers our eco-footprint, and raises our quality of life!

Share your ideas and experiences in the comments area! Back yard chickens, collecting urine for fertilizer, compost piles, converting front yards to food forests, deep mulching strategies, farm to school programs, aquaculture, etc… the list is long….Together we can make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

You can’t do it all-Neighborhoods as Extended Families.

“…we once lived in small enough communities where people could help each other. Families were together… Parents have always needed help—but our generation decided that women should somehow do everything.” Michelle Obama

“You can’t do it all, it’s impossible… we have to reengineer support

Michelle and Opray

It takes a Village to raise a Family!

I was in the market checkout line and was immediately drawn to Oprah and Michelle Obama on the cover; the 1st White House interview with Michelle Obama.

One of the conversation points that really caught my attention was this part about growing up in an extended family;

Oprah: What you mentioned earlier is key: We have to ask for help. You can’t do it all. It’s impossible.

Michelle Obama: That’s a conversation I’d love for us to have as a society. How do we set expectations that are attainable?… READ MORE >>

Meltdowns and Other Impending Bummers

“Oh so many, ways to be wicked”
I woke this morning to the song playing in my head, Maria McKee and Lone Justice belting it out, my personal soundtrack….the Japanese Meltdown is in Day 6.

I call em Impending Bummers. When I think about doing something unknown, I can have a lot of apprehension, I can feel downright scared. I bite my finger nails, tear at my cuticles.

Maybe it’s the thousands of years of our collective worrying about getting eaten by a sabertooth tiger.  Or if Genghis Khan is going to show up in the spring this year…That may explain where the dread, this background anxiety, comes from. It certainly pushes me on a spiritual path in an attempt to find relief, but face it, as stewards of our amazing beautiful spinning green and blue planet, we suck…. READ MORE >>

Sustainable neighborhoods as popular as cell phones!

Over the years of studying what works, and looking at all the impending bummers coming from our sprawl, car dependent lifestyle, I continue to conclude that the cure, the silver bullet, is “Mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space……everywhere”.  Even though I’m so sure these sustainable neighborhoods are the antidote to the vast majority of what ails us, a quick response time is everything.

The rate of carbon building up in the atmosphere, and the forecast outcomes,  require the developed nations to get to sustainable lifestyles pronto.

Talk about jousting at windmills….. I’ve set the intention that sustainable neighborhoods become as popular as cell phones, and get implemented around the planet. I take heart  from Margaret Mead’s “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does”.

The times call for a paradigm shift, transforming our car-dominated economy to a knowledge-based economy; from fossil fueled, polluting, wasteful overconsumption to renewable, non toxic, more efficient, lowered consumptive living.

As we get good at clearly defining the benefits, the popularity will soar.  Mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods with lifelong learning and open space are the way we are gonna make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

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