Best Popcorn in the World and Other Benefits of Living in a Sustainable Neighborhood!

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”. swimming hole

“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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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

As we face higher gasoline prices again, we’re getting more practice in the emerging, post peak oil economy. Our ingenuity will kick in, our lifestyle will transform, all “good for people, the planet, and the polar bears”.  With this global warming dealie, time is of the essence; we can evolve faster, learn from our mistakes, share good ideas, and have fun! Share your ideas, dreams and ingenuity! We can make sustainable real!

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!Room for Rent sign

Home Design

#1. Rent Out a Room

Maybe one of your family boomerangs, and ends up back home. Maybe you just got sick and tired of trying to do it all yourself. Maybe you’re ready to change careers, go back to school, retire, or get divorced. Our suburban, rugged individual, nuclear family lifestyle isn’t set up to be as supportive as it can be. Just the opposite, sprawl and isolation throw up barriers.  So take a sledge hammer to it! Tear out a wall, add a door! make it a private entrance. Make life easier on yourself…. READ MORE >>

Building a Sustainable Neighborhood with Online Planning Tools

If “it takes a village” to create a sustainable lifestyle, and 70% of the “villagers” don’t get systems, how can we reinvent our way of life socially, economically, and ecologically whole? As I understand it, 70% of Americans are “sensors”, a Myer- Briggs typology.  Sensors don’t get systems, so I’m told. Apparently they don’t get cause and effect.
connecting the dots

Wanted; Killer Modeling Tool to Connect the Dots for a Sustainable Future

A year or so ago, I was on the Dell site, and found their “continue personalizing”, building a computer step-by-step process.  It started with choosing your color, and then the website walked you through each choice for each component. The price and specs accumulated as you went.  I got really excited…”Hey this is how neighbors or future residents could design their neighborhoods sustainable!”
This is my dream.  In the not too distant future, you will be able to use an online tool and go through a similar process, and build your neighborhood socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable! 

Imagine all your neighbors going through the same process, and then getting together to compare notes.  If the modeling tool had 3 D capabilities, then things like shadowed areas and massing could be visualized. Once your community “sees” the agreed upon values, and the great options that appeal to the group’s needs, and all the mutual benefits to be had,  neighborhoods will reinvent themselves sustainable.

Even Sensors Can Do It!

By breaking complex systems into pieces, giving information as to the costs of each option, and then aggregating them all together at the end for a grand total, makes it so we know what we’re going to buy and how much it will cost!  What if the info supplied was the social, economic and ecological consequences? What if the complex system was the design of a sustainable lifestyle??!!

I believe we can out compete sprawl development, give the market a better choice.

I call it making sustainable real! 

“Just as a mainframe that used to fill a room evolved into a laptop, so will our way of life.
The embedded resources are vastly reduced, while the quality and performance will be superior”… 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 >>

WANTED: Killer Modeling Tool to Sell Sustainable Urban Villages! Part 1

1/3 of the Boomers want to move in.  88% of the Millennials want to move in. The problem is, Sustainable Urban Villages don’t exist!

Village scene

Building Your Neighborhood Sustainable

Well they do, between my ears and in my heart, but we need a great modeling tool so all the future residents, landowners, finance people, city planners, designers, the school district, and neighbors can see what there are signing up for/signing off on. Then the resuscitation of the construction industry can begin in earnest, the emerging sustainable economy can…emerge!

As this is the ultimate sales tool, we are building the neighborhood on paper, so the future residents can say, “Yes, if you build that, I’ll move in!”. And of course, the numbers have to work for everyone involved. Let me give you a walk thru of “the Killer Modeling Tool” as I conceive it…. READ MORE >>

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