Trading real adventures for online games & converting nature into goods, leaves us poorer

Growing the economy… sustainably. Conserving our way into a new economy.

In this video, Charles Eisenstein lays it out.What sounds totally illogical, that less is more, helps me think in new ways.  Values get turned on their head. Time bank anyone?

Charles Eisenstein Interview from StormCloud Media on Vimeo.

Hey, what’s one of your favorite songs to sing? How bout we meet at the common house after 5, play some ping pong, have a beer, and do a couple of karaoke songs??!! See you there!! Together we can make sustainable real!

A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 6

Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining  together to become  a sustainable community with the school at its heart -Part 6

Locally Created Services and Products – the Sustainable Economy Emerges

As homes and business were renovated into multiple-storied, zero emission buildings, more space was created for residences, services and commercial usages. A network of used clothing stores trades across town with other recycle stores. The clothing fashion center teaches sewing and clothing design and runs a brisk business featuring student consignments.bicycle repair shop

Bicycle sales and repair, a computer lab, a graphics design shop and café, a library and bookstore, a woodshop/metal shop and an eBay store have all opened with help from the Business Incubator Loan Fund. Entrepreneurs of all ages are encouraged with micro-loans, business skills training programs and affordable facilities, to create products and services that evolve into locally created jobs.

Mentors and apprentices share their love for teaching and learning. With the abundance of affordable housing, young adults can stay in their community and the long traditions of Santa Fe’s cultures are sustained…. READ MORE >>

A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 4

Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining  together to become  a sustainable community with the school at its heart. Part 4

“If it Ain’t Fun, it Ain’t Sustainable”

snow fun

If it ain't fun, it ain't sustainable!

Students of all ages have learned that working together with the whole community, coming up with inspired ideas on how to live more affordably and lighter on the planet, is fun.  Out of a Community Design Day session, a recreational waterslide was created utilizing the rooftop of the 2-story addition.  In the winter, a used snow-making machine, donated by the Santa Fe ski basin, turns the waterslide into “the Luge,” a great playground for the entire community. The water park and snow playground are the source of many lesson plans; hands-on everyday science.

 

So what kind of fun would you add to your future neighborhood??…. READ MORE >>

A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 3

Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining  together to become  a sustainable community with the school at its heart. Part 3

Working Together to Get to a Zero Carbon Emissions Lifestylegone green

The “Gone Green” Neighborhood Renovation program continues to transform energy inefficient homes into zero emission homes.

The “Whole Home Audit” documents the existing water and energy consumption of each home as well as the homeowner’s financial status and comes up with a comprehensive plan that works for the owners as well as the surrounding neighbors. Two man teams of students conduct home surveys and get amazing hands on experience of the challenges residents face. Working with an architect mentor, the homeowners and  the student teams, they come up with three different options,  which eventually get turned into the “Gone Green Action Plan”.

Single-story homes often have been granted zoning variances to allow the neighborhood to go mixed use. Commercial and residential additions and resulting revenue streams are tailored to fit, ensuring a retirement plan that gives great comfort to each household. The local residents not only get to retire in familiar surroundings, but in many cases, their home’s equity is converted into their retirement funds and the neighborhood gets a mixed-use community. The resulting walkable pedestrian-friendly streets are alive and safe with neighbors out and about. Kids bicycle everywhere and families enjoy the affordability of viable one-car families. Mass transit, the train and car-share services are affordably available to all, and based on usage, are highly successful.

The “Gone Green” program has also evolved into a local bank… 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 >>

4th of 29 Ways to Make Money on Your Well-Designed Home-Sell Part of Your Home

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

4. Sell Part of Your Hometenants in common

With all the household profiles that don’t fit into the Ward and June Clever, Wally and the Beaver, traditional suburban demographics (2.5 children, dog, and two parents under one roof), there is demand for something else.  The latest numbers I’ve heard is only 24% of US households fit the stereotypical household profile.

That means there are a bunch of people looking for a living arrangement that better suits their needs.  I’m suggesting you can sell off part of your house! You could sell 1/3 or 1/4….what a concept!  How could this be useful to you? Share your ideas below!! … READ MORE >>

Renovating Your Neighborhood Sustainable!

Cooperation, Collaboration, a community based on common values…..Sounds so technical!  What if your neighborhood made choices like incorporating a swimming pool or a movie theater into the community??  The ownership structure could be by membership, a coop, or a private business.  The list of possible shared amenities and services is endless.

Renovating Suburbia

Transforming the American Dream

Maybe you’d like to down size in your neighborhood into a compound of casitas, small homes for seniors. Maybe your daughter would like more independence and yet would like to live nearby in one of the casitas. Maybe she has autism or maybe she’s changing careers.

The American Dream is morphing into community. We’re learning to work together to create a more abundant lifestyle, where we share more, own less, and have a higher quality of life, while living lighter on the planet.

What services and amenities would you like in your neighborhood? What would you like to give?

Share your ideas!!  together we can make sustainable real! As for the neighborhood theater?? I make the best popcorn in the world.

Image courtesy of Architectural Record

READ MORE >>

A more sustainable neighborhood…Bed ZED

Built and occupied in 2002, Beddington Zero Emissions Development, Bed ZED, helps people go green with time tested encouragements. The resident on the right took too long a shower. the one on the left failed to recycle a beer can. What were they thinking, what planet are they living on????

As you can see, my sense of humor loves to go gonzo. Twist the lines of reality and poke fun at our collective humanity. Hey, I own it…one of my favorite sayings is of the late Hunter Thompson, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

This post started out to be about Bed ZED and floor plans.  It still is, just had a zany intro…

The point I want to emphasize is the relationship between neighborhood, shared amenities and your home’s design.  In Bed ZED, the transit friendly location creates a deeper affordability as alternatives to private car ownership are expanded….WATCH BED ZED VIDEO>> READ MORE >>

Envisioning A More Abundant Lifestyle

Serving Ourselves, While Serving Others

A few years ago,  the Sustainable  Neighborhoods Focus Group came up with the idea of giving as a key to a more abundant lifestyle. Currently, infill and new development often give very little to neighborhoods, usually a loss of views and open space, more traffic, and a deadness associated with second homes and single use neighborhoods.

From our Focus Group, a vision emerged where the residents of existing neighborhoods get more; More abundance and aliveness, more safety with neighbors walking on the streets to more conveniently located services. Along with a healthier, more pedestrian friendly lifestyle comes innovative ways to share more amenities, creating a greater sense of community and providing a more affordable lifestyle, a lifestyle beyond suburbia, a lifestyle that lives lighter on the planet.

Roy Wroth's concept diagram

A Neighborhood that Serves Itself, while Serving Others!

The Focus Group identified conceptual “clusters” of homes or workspaces, designed around residents’ simple but fundamental essential common needs; (in other words, the “cluster” could be a scattered site)

  • Child-Oriented Houses
  • a Cohousing Group
  • an Elder Housing Group
  • a Live/work and Commercial Space Cluster
  • a Small Houses and Eco-Homes Compound
  • Artist Cooperative Workshops
  • Young People Living Over Garages….

 

Giving More Amenities, Getting More Life

These different clusters were assigned services to be provided, not only to meet the cluster’s own needs, but as economies of sale require, to meet the needs of the adjoining clusters and the existing, surrounding neighborhoods…. READ MORE >>

Curriculum – Because life is for learning!

I should have been a woodshop teacher, (BA in Industrial Arts) but went into construction instead.

Much to my amazement, I keep being drawn to learning, my own ongoing growth and the Santa Fe School District’s trials and tribulations. Quite a few years ago, I came across the idea that schools could be centers of communities; in fact they used to be, all across America. The light bulbs went off…What if schools were reconfigured and became the hearts of “Mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning, and open space”??!!

vida streetscape

Live, work, play, learn, shop, all within walking

If they were conveniently located, and multiple stories for commercial shops and teacher’s housing were added for smarter density, teachers could walk to READ MORE >>

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