Create Your Desired Future, Thriving and Sustainable!

Share Your Vision!

As a country, we’ve spent the last 60 years getting really good at mass producing suburban sprawl and now the economic, social, and ecological collateral damage has gotten too big to ignore.  So what do we do now??

Here’s how I see it…if you are willing to design a sustainable lifestyle, and move in, you are in the driver’s seat! The construction/development industry needs YOUR vision so the emerging sustainable economy can…..emerge!

You zero in on the floor plan that works for you, the amenities you’d like to have in your neighborhood, as well as the price you can afford.  The planners, architects, city policy department, and investors will do their dangest to pool your ideas with other prospective neighbors and come up with scenarios that meet your needs.

I want to facilitate your efforts in any way I can and here’s another attempt to give you a breakdown of areas that you might consider.

You get your own page , and can come back any time and make changes. (until Buddy Press is set up, enter your ideas in comment below!). If  you want to think about some elements for awhile, don’t feel obligated to address all the elements. Other contributors will propose ideas you can spark off of.

Creating a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable is a complicated challenge. Together we can make sustainable real!!

  • Describe the floor plan of your future home.
    • Maybe you only want 500 sf (see floor plans for ideas), maybe you’d like to rent out a room to supplement your income.
  • Describe the amenities you’d like to have in house or would be willing to share.
    • Maybe you’d be ok with sharing a washer/dryer with others, as long as it was really conveniently located, and water and energy efficient. Maybe having an affordable guest room would be just the thing.
  • Describe your neighborhood.
    • What shops and services do you need nearby?
  • How about water features?
    • A pond in the neighborhood? how about an outdoor shower?
  • What about food?
    • Need a garden? How about a place to do outdoor grilling? a personal compost pile, or a community composting service?
  • Describe your preferences around transportation.
    • Car share, bike, skateboard, bus, pogo stick, walking?
  • Fun!
    • Recreation, hobbies, sports, entertainment
  • Open space, nature, habitat.
    • Would you incorporate nature into your neighborhood? How?
  • How about career/jobs?
    • Lifelong learning, startup support, professional development?
  • What would work for your retirement scenario?
    • Working out of your home as a consultant?
  • What about health?
    • Healthcare plan,  preventative healthcare, aging in place strategies? Need some help with your relationship skills?
  • Giving and Receiving
    • Are there specific services would you like to give? services you would like to receive?
  • Quality of Life
    • Aesthetics, spiritual/religious considerations

 

A Sustainable Way of Life Becomes the Curriculum! Part 1

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

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 >>

SUSTAINABLE URBAN VILLAGE -turning SUVs into SUVS

Sustainable Urban Village is an odd phrase.

Sustainable Urban Village is a mash up of opposites. “Village” is pastoral, dreamy, idealistic, old fashioned, small and intimate. “Urban” conjures up pretty much the opposite-gritty, concrete and asphalt, contemporary, hip, huge and cold. Add “sustainable” to the mix, and it becomes ….an odd phrase. Where would one find such a creature? And what qualities will it embody?

As we contemplate where we’re going as a people and we feel the ground shifting under us as we transform from a car dominated sprawl lifestyle to a pedestrian friendly, ecologically sound, lowered consumptive way of life, I’m suggesting we pick and choose from the best options; incorporating best practices, and lessons learned of what works and what doesn’t, leaving those choices with harsh unintended consequences behind.

vida streetscape

Live, work, play, learn, shop, all within walking. Kids play, while you catchup with a friend!

“What works” for me, rolls into 5 principles; “Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space……everywhere.” Another way to put it? Sustainable Urban Villages, and they are found…..everywhere.

It takes a certain number of residential to make commercial be successful.  These economies of scales hold true no mater where we live, in a rural setting, a grayfield, or in the suburbs. We will learn what works, what it takes to be sustainable. As we reinvent our economy, we will pick wisely, and base our investment in the future on the real, lasting values we hold collectively. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to live in balance with our earth.

Redeveloping ourselves sustainable is complicated and requires collaboration. We’re wired to innovate. As we rise to the greatest challenge humanity has ever known,  we will be amazing. Share your vision!

Together, we can bring forward the emerging sustainable economy, a lifestyle that is “Good for people, good for the planet, and good for the polar bears”.

Let’s make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

Life Long Learning+Innovation= Reinventing Ourselves Sustainable

To me, waiting our car-dependent, sprawl suburbia economy to rebound is like waiting for the Easter Bunny to show up. Wisely renovating,  retrofitting,  redeveloping our neighborhoods and communities is the base of our future prosperous economy.

two chocolate bunnies

Easter Bunny Waiting for the Suburbia Economy to Recover

In other words, we are going to be studying  and applying what works for the rest of our lives.  Learning isn’t just for kids any more, learning is a way of life.

I’m reading Creating Learning Communities-Models, Resources, and New Ways of Thinking About Teaching and Learning, edited by Ron Miller.

24 years (as of 2000) of innovation has created a learning atmosphere that is “systemic or comprehensive” rather than piecemeal change, “transformational learning outcomes,” “real world linkages” for learning through experience, “learning experiences…that are child-centered, life-centered and brain-based,” Personal Learning Plans,” “elevating the position of teacher to ‘facilitators of learning,” “students viewed as powerful resources and participant in decision making, vigorously involved parents,” partnerships with other entities in the community, CLCs as “headquarters for learning for the community” and programs based on needs that are “family centered and family supportive.”… READ MORE >>

Sustainable neighborhoods as popular as cell phones!

Over the years of studying what works, and looking at all the impending bummers coming from our sprawl, car dependent lifestyle, I continue to conclude that the cure, the silver bullet, is “Mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space……everywhere”.  Even though I’m so sure these sustainable neighborhoods are the antidote to the vast majority of what ails us, a quick response time is everything.

The rate of carbon building up in the atmosphere, and the forecast outcomes,  require the developed nations to get to sustainable lifestyles pronto.

Talk about jousting at windmills….. I’ve set the intention that sustainable neighborhoods become as popular as cell phones, and get implemented around the planet. I take heart  from Margaret Mead’s “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does”.

The times call for a paradigm shift, transforming our car-dominated economy to a knowledge-based economy; from fossil fueled, polluting, wasteful overconsumption to renewable, non toxic, more efficient, lowered consumptive living.

As we get good at clearly defining the benefits, the popularity will soar.  Mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods with lifelong learning and open space are the way we are gonna make sustainable real!… READ MORE >>

Resurrecting the Economy…Sustainable!

In my last blog “What to do about the Economy?”  I was saying “we need ‘sustainable mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space…..everywhere’ “. Let me explain that a bit.

In 2006, Arthur C Nelson has been warning that the over supply of large lot suburban homes will be 22 million by 2025.  Currently, $1.2 trillion dollars of commercial is underwater, with leases due to renew between now and 2013.  Much of this commercial, as I understand it, serves the outer reaches of suburbia, the very same neighborhoods where the majority of residential foreclosures have occurred.  So with all this oversupply, you might ask, how can I claim “We need sustainable mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods, with lifelong learning and open space….everywhere?”

Well, simply put…”It’s the Boomers, and their children, the Millennials!”  Turns out in surveys, 1/3 of the Boomers (24 million or so) want a simpler, walkable lifestyle.  And 88% of the Millennials (27 million???) want a more vibrant alive urban kind of lifestyle.

If all these demographic surveys are accurate, all we have to do to Resurrect the Economy is build higher density, vibrant alive, mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods!… READ MORE >>

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