A Think and Do Tank

From where I stand, Innovation is the name of the game.

How can we create an atmosphere conducive to innovation to better support the emerging sustainable economy in …emerging??

I’m envisioning an affordable, interdisciplinary Think and Do Tank, an innovation lab. As I contemplate this “Center for Innovation’, I can see there are several ways it could be configured to serve each region’s needs. This Think and Do Tank could well have an online presence that facilitates innovation.  Today, I’m going to focus on “real world” applications.

Some businesses, such as Google, pay their employees every week to spend 20% of their time on endeavors outside their “normal” jobs. These pursuits end up generating something like 80% of the innovative products Google develops.

The Think and Do Tank could be this kind of an asset for our community;… READ MORE >>

A Match Made in Heaven

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!!…

READ MORE >>

Call it Poverty, call it Voluntary Simplicity

I lived out on Taos Mesa in the tiniest trailer known to mankind.  There were no utilities, no running water. I’d haul water from Henry’s house, just down the road, and heat up a pot of water to take showers. Invigorating showers out in the wide open space, freezing night air.  A 5 gallon bucket was my toilet, which used sawdust to cover contributions. When the bucket got full, I’d bury the contents in the earth, feeding the earthworms.

The remarkable thing is I loved it.  I felt wild, and yet I was surviving creatively.  A boy from the burbs of Southern California. I felt freer, less rent to pay. Except for filling the propane tank for heating and cooking, I had no utility bills.  I’d clip a power cord to my truck’s battery and have a little light at night.

The one thing about the road out to my trailer on the Mesa, was the spring thaw…you had to leave early and get home late, cuz when the daily thaw happened, the muck was amazing.

Other than that, call it voluntary simplicity, call it poverty…I called it good. I was a new father, in the middle of a separation, learning to be a construction carpenter, and was looking to live inexpensively.

Even then, I was dreaming of sustainable villages; high density, vibrant alive, local food, local energy. Heck, Mike Reynolds was my nearest neighbor. His house/office under the windspinner was my nearest neighbor to the south. We’d argue about where to build sustainably; he was a “in the country” kind of guy, and I’d argue for urban settings… turns out we were both right.

I want to live in beauty, but I don’t want all the maintenance that goes with it.  I want thriving, vibrant, alive streets, with kids roaming and having fun. A sunny spot at a wind sheltered table for a morning coffee. Watching the sunlight bounce of the pond’s surface. I want to be a part of an abundant life, I’ll help maintain the pond, I’ll help establish frog habitat.

My wife is much more domesticated that I, and she has a strong sense of beauty.  She once visited the trailer on the Taos Mesa, there is no way she’d have anything to do with it.

This is one of the defining challenges we face…how do we live lightly on the planet, and yet have a high quality of life? How do we make sharing easy, convenient, so we aren’t owned by all our stuff?  I believe it takes a village to go sustainable. My spiritual practice reminds me I can’t find what I’m truly looking for in this world.

Share your ideas! How would you make sustainable real? Call it poverty, call it voluntary simplicity….I’m calling it good.
Images courtesy of Taos homes, ArttattlerREAD 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 >>

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 >>

Share the Vision of Your Thriving, Sustainable Future

If the current state of affairs is the best we can do, we are in trouble! With all the Impending Bummers, we got problems Houston.  What the world needs now, is a vision of where to go! We got the hell part down, now, where is heaven??? Share your vision of daily life in your future thriving, sustainable neighborhood !

vida streetscape

A Sustainable Neighborhood Streetscape

Just in case you want some ideas to jog your vision, here are some of the Goals and Guiding Principles… 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 >>

WANTED: Killer Modeling Tool to Sell Sustainable Urban Villages! Part 2

Continuing the walk thru of my take on the Killer Modeling Tool

As the amount of input from the Charrette (design) process builds, the needs and desires of the future residents, landowners, finance people, city planners, designers, the school district,  neighbors, etc, are collected.  People are starting to get excited. The question is “How can we tell how close we are to achieving a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable  lifestyle? ” or in other words “Where’s the Killer Modeling Tool??!!”

We can convert the demand and jump-start the emerging sustainable economy, if we can make all the numbers and qualities of life real (or at least a reasonable facsimile). Future residents will be assured of the quality and cost of moving in.  The development/lending community will be reassured of the strength of the demand.  The City will see the increased tax revenue vs the costs of infrastructure, etc.

How much residential does it take to make the commercial successful?… 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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