Gaviotas-World Class Sustainable Village

This article points out the incredible power of human ingenuity.  As I keep taking steps toward sustainable lifestyles, I run into all manner of inner limiting belief systems.  A major one is “Don’t Make Mistakes”. The correct answer is rewarded in school. But check out the learning from Gaviotas. Try stuff, learn from “the mistakes”…. genuis appears through trial and error.  So Go For It!!! There aren’t mistakes, they are the path to amazing.

It became clear to us that most of the successes at Gaviotas were not a result of brilliant planning but of a trial and error process, replete with wrong turns and detours.

Gaviotas showed us that there is not an orchestrated march toward a finished product—there is only the process, the unpredictable evolution of strategies and ideas… 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!

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 >>

Empowering Boys, Winning the Future

Here’s another amazing TED presentation. “We have serious problems with boys, their culture isn’t working in schools”, Ali Carr-Chellman so states.  Her opening summation of the 100 Girls Project statistics are remarkable.

As you may know, I am petitioning the Gods to send us the tools to assist us in re-inventing our world sustainable. Ali speaks on the how boys and their gaming world is forbidden in school.

Imagine this…you get a knock on the door, and the 4th grader who lives down the street, greets you and says he is surveying the neighborhood, and wants your help.  ”It’ll take 15 minutes, and if you participate, it’ll raise money for our school!”  You say yes, and what unfolds amazes you.  You find yourself encouraged and imaging a better tomorrow, a mixed use, deeply affordable lifestyle, where “you can join the car share program and make money, up to $6000 a year!

He opens his laptop to Google Earth, and up pops your neighborhood. ” Our family has been thinking about what to do with grandma, since grandad died last year, and she’s living alone in her big house. Here’s what my Dad suggested.  We want to add a second story to our house, and move upstairs. My Grandma will move in with us and live in the old master suite downstairs.  She loves to bake pies, so we want to open a pie shop!  The living room and kitchen will become Doris’ Pie Shoppe!”  He proceeds to show you a mock up, in Google Earth, with the help of  Sketchup, of the remodeled home, “Doris’s Pie Shoppe” proclaims the hand painted sign across the old front door.

“OK, so what would you like to do with your home?” he asks you, ready to mock it up on his screen.

This is the curriculum I’m talking about;  Hands on, relevant, involved in the winning the future. Making Sustainable Real!

Here’s Ali’s video.  Enjoy.

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.

Passive House Design Contest

Enter the DesignByMany Challenge and Design a Passive House for New Orleans | Design CompetitionsPassive Home Design Contest

 

This year HP is sponsoring an exciting new challenge open to designers, architects and creatives around the world! The DesignByMany challenge invites participants to create of a series of New Orleans-style eco-homes that meet the Passive House Standard – the world’s most rigorous building energy standard. Homes designed for the challenge are expected to be affordable to build and purchase, long-lasting, with minimal impact on the local environment, and affordable to heat and cool throughout the life of the building. The winner of this challenge will be announced on DesignReform on the first day of the 2011 AIA National Convention, taking place in New Orleans, May 12 – 14. The winner will also walk away with an HP Designjet T2300 eMFP, the first large-format, web-connected printer! All submissions are due by Sunday, May 1st, 2011.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE:May 1st, 2011

SUBMISSION DEADLINE:May 1st, 2011

LINK:http://www.designbymany.com/challenge/passive-house-for-new-orleans
AWARD/PRIZE
The winner of this challenge will be announced on DesignReform on the first day of the 2011 AIA National Convention, and walk away with an HP Designjet T2300 eMFP – the first large-format, web-connected printer!

JURY

Judges for this challenge include Alejandra Lillo, partner of GRAFT, David Basulto, executive editor for ArchDaily.com, Corey Saft, assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, andTrey Trahan, president and principal-in-charge of Trahan Architects.

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 >>

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 >>

Architectural Designer Contests!

I love architectural contests! Somebody puts up an award, and all these designers submit their best ideas.  and Wallah! The community gets a wider range of possibilities to work with.

How can the use of contests help bring forward our collaboration and creativity and further truly sustainable lifestyles, across the US and around the world?

I’ve heard rumors of websites for entrepreneurial  fund raising.  I just participated in a fundraiser for a green home building project in rural Mexico on Kickstarter.

kickstarter green housing in rural Mexico

Kickstarter fundraiser for Architects for Humanity

Share your ideas Contest ideas here! It’s time to be making  sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

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