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 >>

A more sustainable neighborhood…Bed ZED

Built and occupied in 2002, Beddington Zero Emissions Development, Bed ZED, helps people go green with time tested encouragements. The resident on the right took too long a shower. the one on the left failed to recycle a beer can. What were they thinking, what planet are they living on????

As you can see, my sense of humor loves to go gonzo. Twist the lines of reality and poke fun at our collective humanity. Hey, I own it…one of my favorite sayings is of the late Hunter Thompson, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

This post started out to be about Bed ZED and floor plans.  It still is, just had a zany intro…

The point I want to emphasize is the relationship between neighborhood, shared amenities and your home’s design.  In Bed ZED, the transit friendly location creates a deeper affordability as alternatives to private car ownership are expanded….WATCH BED ZED VIDEO>> READ MORE >>

Peak Oil Production…OMG

peak oil graph

Because they only made so many old, raggedy dinosaurs

 

From the chart on the right, you can see the predicted world peak oil production... looks like 2012-13 to me. Notice how the line heads south in rapid order; Down 25% by 2020… that is incredible!!!

I can understand why oil companies want to drill everywhere; Artic Circle, way off shore, Tar Sands of Alberta. Lord Have Mercy! we are gonna be short on supply!

In a paper he presented to the American Petroleum Institute in 1956,  American geophysicist M. King Hubbert predicted that production of oil from conventional sources would peak in the continental US around 1965-1970. America’s oil production peaked in 1972, as I recall. 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 >>

WANTED: Killer Modeling Tool to Sell Sustainable Urban Villages! Part 3

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — New construction of U.S. housing units plunged in February, erasing a sharp gain in January and coming close to an all-time-low level. March 16,2011

Bed ZED

Bed ZED is different. We're not in Suburbia anymore, Todo!

If we want to revitalize the US Economy, we have to do things differently.

If we work with the 1/3 of the Boomers, and 88% of the Millennials that want to move into vibrant, alive, pedestrian friendly walkable neighborhoods, we can resurrect the construction industry and send us on a path to a prosperous, positive future! What is required is using a whole systems approach and designing for an exponentially more efficient way of life… 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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