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!

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.

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Fuels-pick your poison!

Nuclear, coal, natural gas, methane, biochar oil, ethanol, algae bio-diesel,  the sun, the tides, the wind, or good old gasoline…each comes with its costs.  As we innovate  toward a sustainable lifestyle, the refining processes and embedded energy, the delivery system, and all the other externalities come into play.

Currently 60% of the US’s  primary electricity comes from coal fired plants.  The burning of coal releases mercury into the air. The fish in New Mexico have quite a bit of mercury in them, especially those located downwind from the Four Corners Generating Plants. Fish in the Pacific Ocean have high levels of mercury as well, as the mercury bio-accumulates in the bigger fish, like tuna.  The Chinese coal fired plants are the mercury source for our sushi and salmon!

Agricultural crops converted to fuels come with GMOs, fertilizer run off, soil degradation, and embodied production and delivery costs. Local production and supply keeps dollars in the community, building wealth and cutting transportation costs. Talk about complicated…. READ MORE >>

Health and Healing- Inner work in a supportive environment!

the light body

Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual levels of health

Whoa, this is a huge component to a sustainable lifestyle.  In many ways, health is  an indicator of  sustainability. There’s inner health, coming to grips with emotional, mental, and spiritual issues. And of course, there are the elements of physical  and outer health.

A newborn’s health begins in the womb. Diet and food quality, toxicity in the environment, stress in our lives, how loving our environment, and what kinds of options we have available as we age and transition from this plane are just a few of the profound components that come into play…. READ MORE >>

Meltdowns and Other Impending Bummers

“Oh so many, ways to be wicked”
I woke this morning to the song playing in my head, Maria McKee and Lone Justice belting it out, my personal soundtrack….the Japanese Meltdown is in Day 6.

I call em Impending Bummers. When I think about doing something unknown, I can have a lot of apprehension, I can feel downright scared. I bite my finger nails, tear at my cuticles.

Maybe it’s the thousands of years of our collective worrying about getting eaten by a sabertooth tiger.  Or if Genghis Khan is going to show up in the spring this year…That may explain where the dread, this background anxiety, comes from. It certainly pushes me on a spiritual path in an attempt to find relief, but face it, as stewards of our amazing beautiful spinning green and blue planet, we suck…. READ MORE >>

FOUND? Killer Modeling Tool

I happen to talk to one of my partners about my latest blog on the Killer Modeling Tool, and he directed me to “Write this down. EVONY”. So I did, and later last night I went to the web site, remembering the advice he’d given me,   “Don’t let the way they built the game distract you from the platform.  We can get it built however you want it”

Well, here’s my questions…

Can I go to Google Earth and put my own neighborhood into the  playing field?

Can I add stories to existing buildings?

Can I reshape blocks, creating a new cross street in a long block?

Could a stand alone be turned into a row house of three homes, for instance?

 

Wow, I’m running out of hurdles.  Other configurations seem doable.

We can plug in numbers for the number of residents it takes to support a corner grocer, for instance.

Stephen Mouzon was saying the other day, that the usual numbers quoted are 1000-1500 residents, but there is a neighborhood of 350 that is really committed to  shopping at the local store, hang out, and it is thriving apparently. I think it is Waters, near Montgomery Alabama.

1/4 mile radius is the typically quoted “how far Americans will walk to a service, with the exception of 1/2 mile to a transit stop.  I bet those numbers change when gas goes to $4.50/gallon!

Stephen said something else I found awesome.  Five years ago he moved to Miami, into the second most walkable neighborhood in America (South Miami Beach), and has lost 60 pounds.  He showed a map of all his haunts, the work out place, the bookstore, etc.  The map of his world…  that’s what I want this Killer Modeling Tool to be able to do! Download your neighborhood, and see what it takes to make a sustainable lifestyle REAL!

For more of Stephen’s years of experience, go to OriginalGreen…  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 >>

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