Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining together to become a sustainable community with the school at its heart.
Biologies on the roots, detoxify water!
Science Rules! Tapping into the Power of Biologies; Community Composting and Recycling Water – Part 5
Throughout the neighborhood, attached greenhouses provide essential composting, soil studies and crop production opportunities. The solar recharged neighborhood electric cart collection service gives teens an opportunity to make money by driving household food scraps to the community composting bins.
“Living Machines,” water recycling tanks, demonstrate how bacteria and microorganisms purify water.
Living Machines, invented by Dr. John Todd, use plants and microbes to clean water instead of chemicals. They can handle household waste, and easily tackle industrial wastes, turning 600 to 750,000 gallons of waste per day into hyacinths and snails… Dr. Todd (a student of Bucky Fuller BTW), has been working with Living Machines for decades has found that there are certain plants or small animals that love certain kinds of waste. What he does is let the water run through a series of cisterns with different plants in each. What one plant likes to eat, it turns into other forms of waste, so in the next cistern he has the plant that considers that waste food. By the time the water comes out, it’s 5 times cleaner than traditional waste water treatment….
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”
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 >>
Foundation Investing and Your Vision of Sustainable Neighborhoods
Foundations grant 5% of their assets and invest 95%. As I understand it, the branch of the foundation that invests has very little connection to the branch that makes grants. In fact, sometimes their actions are running against each other.
The beauty of socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable neighborhoods, is they meet both objectives! The social mission of empowering, resilient, health lifestyles, uplifting, poverty busting, social justice, ecologically sound, and local economic development all gets handled in ”mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods with lifelong learning and open space” .
The investment mission gets handled in creating large opportunities for investing in real, lasting values!
So… submit your ideas, your vision of the sustainable life you want to be living. As the needs aggregate, the existing market demand for sustainable neighborhoods becomes more apparent. Once the construction industry, from builders to banks to investors, finally accepts the go-go days are gone, they will become more open to this new form of community based in real, lasting values. National foundations will have something to invest in that meets their asset needs. And their funding branch will see their missions move forward.
Your vision of your desired future sustainable lifestyle and billions of foundation $$$ assets ….A match made in heaven!!…
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 Lifestyle
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 >>
Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining together to become a sustainable community with the school at its heart. Part 2
Food; Community, Connection, Curriculum, and Cooking
Health, nutrition and cooking are all coordinated around the local agriculture program, “Yards to Farms”. The school’s kitchen has an expanded program that uses food to teach and create a more sustainable lifestyle. “Farms to Schools” and “Yards to Farms” bring regionally grown food to the plate, increasing local food security while lowering the shipping distances. Children now have a personal connection with their food as they regularly take working field trips to farms in the region and integrate classroom learning with hands-on growing. Several homes and commercial facilities in the neighborhood have constructed attached greenhouses, so food production is a year-round occurrence in the community.
Salsa Café and Bakery has transformed the former school kitchen into a great place for a meal. The facility is used “around the clock”, with the “Git ‘n Go Assembled Meals,” two different meal share plans, and the evening music scene where kids and adults get together and have a lot of fun playing music. Culinary and baking skills are taught to all ages, and the meals feature local and regional organic produce, dairy, fruit and meats.
The “Git ‘n Go Assembled Meals” program, especially appreciated by working parents, … READ MORE >>
Together, we can transform our way of life sustainable! By sharing our visions and ideas of our desired future, we can “build it on paper”. That’s how real estate development works. The proposal gets created, the numbers are crunched, the financing lines up, and building permits are issued. It all starts with the vision!
Puzzle pieces coming together around a shared vision
The prospects for sustainable “mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods” has never been brighter. Suburban sprawl has run its course. Gasoline prices are facing a new era of worldwide Post Peak Oil production. Those of us who have a vision and want to move in are in the driving seat of the emerging sustainable economy; the construction industry is all ears!
Be bold, Dream Big, envision with all your heart. In that way, we will have a “big enough why” to be as creative and innovative as necessary to make sustainable neighborhoods real!
Here’s my vision of a sustainable, quality filled neighborhood that lives lightly on the planet.
Imagine. An elementary school and the surrounding neighborhoods joining together to become a sustainable community with a school at its heart.
The entire community is experiencing a wide range of benefits since neighborhood residents, the city, local service providers, nearby businesses, parents, students, teachers and the school’s administration decided to work together to create mutually beneficial facilities. Benefits include job creation, an increase in city revenues, a pedestrian friendly lifestyle, safe streets for children to play, a huge jump in test scores, a much lowered dropout rate, a big increase in workforce housing and a less consumptive, more affordable lifestyle that allows Santa Feans to live lighter on the planet…. READ MORE >>
Imagine a room full of people, all gathered in a circle and sharing their ideas on what makes a sustainable neighborhood. “I would like a swimming hole, like at my grandpa’s farm”, a 12 year boy shares. “It has a rope swing and turtles and the fishing is pretty good”.
“I love prisoner of war escape movies and sci-fi movies. I’d like to curate a series of Saturday afternoon showings. I just got a huge big screen TV, and my living room holds about 30 people!” Herb, a retiree, offers.
A young mother speaks next, “I’d like to contribute part of our front yard to community gardening. With the new baby, I would like to be growing more food, but we need help getting the soil ready. My husband agrees; he’d rather pull weeds. He’s tired of mowing the lawn.”
Around the circle the sharing continues. ”Well”, Jack, a waste water engineer offers, ” I’d like to set up a water recycling facility… my idea is to go to the low point of the sewer system, and set up a series of living machines. Living Machines are greenhouses filled with translucent tanks full of water plants. The biologies on the roots of the water plants will purify the water, and we can then do a final UV treatment so the water is better than drinking quality. And that will fit into your ideas: One, the water would fill up the swimming hole and be a place of beauty and fun, and two, the water from the pond could be fed to orchards and community gardens. Another benefit would be in case of a fire, the fire department could use the stored water for fighting the fire.”
My hand goes up.”Hey, I make the best popcorn in the world. No brag, just fact! I’ll give lessons and man the popcorn machine on one Saturday matinee out of the month!” (See recipe below!)… READ MORE >>
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.
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.
What’s a sustainable lifestyle without affordable healthcare??? Just as we’re called upon to re-innovate our neighborhoods sustainable, so are we challenged to bring creativity to healthcare.
1st we create a healthy lifestyle! With a mixed use, mixed income community, we get a pedestrian centered way of life, where we walk to many of our daily tasks. The shorter commute and more affordable lifestyle makes for less stress. More exercise, less stress, means less need for healthcare over one’s lifespan. Just the act of living is preventative medicine!!!
Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his innovation in creating micro-credit programs for poor women and now he’s bringing innovation in healthcare to impoverished women as well.
His program, Grameen Healthcare is designed for low-cost, affordable health services for all of Bangladesh, especially the lowest income women and children, and sustain these services thru social business. Whereas the program is 90% self supportive, Yunus believes it will become completely self supportive!
“We are excited to support the Grameen Nurse Institute, a breakthrough social business model that could transform the health care industry by positioning girls as not just the beneficiaries of services, but the agents of future change,” said Lisa MacCallum, Managing Director of the Nike Foundation. “In our work so far at the Nike Foundation, we have learned that if you start with a girl, everyone else benefits: boys, women, men also. That’s the power of the girl effect.”
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.
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!
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.