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!!…

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Free Up Disposable Income, Ditch the Car

Mixed use neighborhood. Sounds simple. Saves money. Artur C. Nelson presented the info. Robert Steuteville wrote about it.  The question remains…where do you want to live?

“The average American family spends 32 percent of its income on housing and 19 percent on transportation, leaving 49 percent for all other expenditures. Those who live in auto-dependent suburbs spend 25 percent of their income on transportation, leaving only 43 percent for all other expenses. Those who live in transit-rich neighborhoods spend only 9 percent on transportation, leaving far more money for discretionary expenses.”

Another beautiful thing about living in a walkable mixed use community, is the attached part.  Just by the virtue of being attached, your house has less exterior wall exposed, thus a savings in heating and cooling,  and less maintenance. Polar Sam gives it two big thumbs up!… READ MORE >>

Empowering Boys, Winning the Future

Here’s another amazing TED presentation. “We have serious problems with boys, their culture isn’t working in schools”, Ali Carr-Chellman so states.  Her opening summation of the 100 Girls Project statistics are remarkable.

As you may know, I am petitioning the Gods to send us the tools to assist us in re-inventing our world sustainable. Ali speaks on the how boys and their gaming world is forbidden in school.

Imagine this…you get a knock on the door, and the 4th grader who lives down the street, greets you and says he is surveying the neighborhood, and wants your help.  ”It’ll take 15 minutes, and if you participate, it’ll raise money for our school!”  You say yes, and what unfolds amazes you.  You find yourself encouraged and imaging a better tomorrow, a mixed use, deeply affordable lifestyle, where “you can join the car share program and make money, up to $6000 a year!

He opens his laptop to Google Earth, and up pops your neighborhood. ” Our family has been thinking about what to do with grandma, since grandad died last year, and she’s living alone in her big house. Here’s what my Dad suggested.  We want to add a second story to our house, and move upstairs. My Grandma will move in with us and live in the old master suite downstairs.  She loves to bake pies, so we want to open a pie shop!  The living room and kitchen will become Doris’ Pie Shoppe!”  He proceeds to show you a mock up, in Google Earth, with the help of  Sketchup, of the remodeled home, “Doris’s Pie Shoppe” proclaims the hand painted sign across the old front door.

“OK, so what would you like to do with your home?” he asks you, ready to mock it up on his screen.

This is the curriculum I’m talking about;  Hands on, relevant, involved in the winning the future. Making Sustainable Real!

Here’s Ali’s video.  Enjoy.

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Creative, Affordable Healthcare

What’s a sustainable lifestyle without affordable healthcare??? Just as we’re called upon to re-innovate our neighborhoods sustainable, so are we challenged to bring creativity to healthcare.

1st we create a healthy lifestyle! With a mixed use, mixed income community, we get a pedestrian centered way of life, where we walk to many of our daily tasks. The shorter commute and more affordable lifestyle makes for less stress. More exercise, less stress, means less need for healthcare over one’s lifespan. Just the act of living is preventative medicine!!!

Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his innovation in creating micro-credit programs for poor women and now he’s bringing innovation in healthcare to impoverished women as well.

His program, Grameen Healthcare is designed for low-cost, affordable health services for all of Bangladesh, especially the lowest income women and children, and sustain these services thru social business. Whereas the program is 90% self supportive,  Yunus believes it will become completely self supportive!

“We are excited to support the Grameen Nurse Institute, a breakthrough social business model that could transform the health care industry by positioning girls as not just the beneficiaries of services, but the agents of future change,” said Lisa MacCallum, Managing Director of the Nike Foundation. “In our work so far at the Nike Foundation, we have learned that if you start with a girl, everyone else benefits: boys, women, men also. That’s the power of the girl effect.”

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3rd of 29 Ways to Make Money on Your Home-Open a Commercial Shop

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 your ideas to the list via the comment area!

Home Design 

Home Occupation

I like the idea, the signage could be improved!

3. Rent Out a Work Space

Live/work homes have a separate workspace with commercial potential. What if you reconfigured part of your house to be a workshop or a commercial space?  Of course the zoning may not allow it.  Here in Santa Fe, home occupation is an accepted usage, with conditions on how many parking spaces and the number of allowable employees. A big difference between home occupation and commercial in the eyes of Santa Fe regulations is the home occupation is for appointment only customers/

If your clientele would “follow you home” , opening up your business out of your house could be a large saving.

Maybe your house has a great location, and a neighbor is interested in opening up a yoga studio;  maybe you just don’t need such a big house, and could use the income. … READ MORE >>

Creating More Time-It takes a Sustainable Urban Village!

How can we have more time?? How are we going to live lighter on the Planet??!! Significantly lighter??  SHARE YOUR IDEAS! (comment below, or go to Share Your Vision!)

more time anyone?

Creating More Time-It Takes a Sustainable Village!

Here’s my take.  If we were to create a great neighborhood, a convenient, mixed use, inspiring, supportive atmosphere, we would be richer.  If we could find ways to downsize our financial needs, we’d free up time; More disposable income, more time.

To be able to walk,  ride your bike, or take public transportation to work, requires a mixed use community. Now your family can let go of a car or two, and life becomes more affordable.

A mixed use neighborhood, with neighbors out and about, creates safer streets, so our children can get about without chauffeuring, freeing up time and peace of mind.

A short commute, or joining a meal share plan frees up and creates more time.

What would you do with more Time? Work on the new career…..lifelong learning…professional development….time to contemplate?

Spending time lingering over a cup of tea, or a beer, with a friend, reading a book, spending more time with children, or working in the garden; maybe these make for a more abundant life for you.

To have an end of life strategy, an aging in place program where I can help the elders of my neighborhood, and in turn, when my time comes, be assured of helping hands nearby, these are qualities money can’t by, but time can.

The trend over the last 40-50 years has been to make the home the center of  life;  Our theater, our library, spa, restaurant, entertainment center,  a sanctuary, an isolated unit in suburbia; an increasingly bigger house connected to the world in a sprawl car dominated lifestyle.

My wife and I are a unit, a band of two, holding it together.  As we’re both self-employed, even our offices are in our home.

When I contrast that with the stories I hear of long established village life is Europe, it gets me to thinking.   How can I lower my expenses so I can have better choices?  How can I lower my eco footprint?  What would I be willing to share?

As I understand, in this European lifestyle, community life plays a bigger part of the home life.  The home is smaller, the living room in the nearby restaurant.  Many evenings are spent over a meal, enjoying the comradery of community.  Maybe it sounds kind of  gossipy and claustrophobic, and yet there is something alluring.

As we learn to live in balance with the planet, we’ll be learning to make choices that can give us more time and a higher quality of life!

My intention is for this website to become a living compliation of good ideas, what works, what makes sustainable real. SHARE YOUR IDEAS, STORIES!

 

Image courtesy of Virginia Tech

Architectural Designer Contests!

I love architectural contests! Somebody puts up an award, and all these designers submit their best ideas.  and Wallah! The community gets a wider range of possibilities to work with.

How can the use of contests help bring forward our collaboration and creativity and further truly sustainable lifestyles, across the US and around the world?

I’ve heard rumors of websites for entrepreneurial  fund raising.  I just participated in a fundraiser for a green home building project in rural Mexico on Kickstarter.

kickstarter green housing in rural Mexico

Kickstarter fundraiser for Architects for Humanity

Share your ideas Contest ideas here! It’s time to be making  sustainable real!… 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 >>

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 >>

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