Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Friday, October 07, 2005

Sustainable Business Alliance, the luncheon

My friend Nika invited people to show up to the Sustainable Business Alliance monthly luncheon. I said yes, arranged my schedule, charted the miles (18! Will the Sparrow make it? No suspense for you: yes, with Amp-hours to spare!), and had lunch with the lieutenants and sergeants of the green movement.

Me? I'm infantry, at best. There are no generals, since it's a distributed structure. ANYWAY...

I met Katy Hollbacher from Build It Green, the folks who create the marvelous Green Home Tour (and who might be interested in having small seminars in my demonstration space! Yay!).

I met Jenny Shore who is very excited about solving housing affordability issues, with some of the new mortgage products that are about to become available. She was was not surprised at all by my equity partner scheme to get into this house. In fact, she's thinking thoughts along the same lines I am, regarding helping people who are part of the fabric of a community (and with household income below a region's median income) to move into home ownership. There's a thing called a fractional TIC which many of us will become familiar with in the near future. We discussed creating the mortgage package that creates affordability and then staging a house party to help get the word out about it. That would be SO COOL. I'd better contact the good people over at SOL.

I also got to meet Gil Friend, who of course has been thinking and writing about sustainability since before it was hip. He's just back from a conference, and clearly had stuff to get to. So did I, and therefore we didn't chat much.

I've been working on this demonstration project since... oh, 2002? 2001? For most of that time, it's felt unattainable. "Sustainability" was barely part of the lexicon, and unless you wanted to buy a bamboo or cork floor, or convert a bus and live in the woods, there weren't many options for exploring how to build ecotopia.

Then, as Truitt got hold of green building, it suddenly felt like everyone knew about building sustainable urban environments. I don't live in one, I don't see my neighbors making choices that honor the earth's carrying capacity, but it felt like I'd missed the boat.

Finally, today, being in a room full of people who are bringing green awareness (it's about transparency of process and building each other up, looking for the win-win-win) to mortgage lending, real estate, legal services, as well as architecture, smart urban revitalization and even schools, I felt for the first time that my timing is perfect.


  1. I work in real estate and find that there are mortgage programs out there for all needs, but I think people get robbed and raped just to get a mortgage, and it is usually those in need the most. Here in NJ/PA there is no such thing as affordable housing anymore. It is unfortunate for those less fortunate.

    Please keep me up to date on your efforts. I find it very interesting.

  2. Thank you!

    Yes, not only is it unfortunate for those less fortunate, but it's tough on the environment, too. Out there in NJ, you folks have built just about everywhere you're allowed to.

    So, where do people who get jobs at a tire company, or at 7-11, find shelter?

    I think I'm very close to a market-driven solution, and I will certainly keep evveryone posted.

  3. The farms and pinelands of NJ that were once restricted from develpoment are now wide open for building. Major parts of the environment and landscape (natural resources now gone along with homes to many animals) and homes that so many cannot afford.

    Please keep me up to date. Keep fighting the good fight, as well.

  4. !!!

    Even as recently as a couple years ago, wasn't NJ full of protected space? You mean to tell me that developers are building homes that people have a hard time affording, on top of the last green spaces?

    Ugh, that is so disheartening.

  5. There has been a significant amount of pinelands and land that has remained restricted. Yet, there is land that was deemed protected that has ridiculous amounts of growth. New construction condos start at $500k where I live, so you can imagine what townhomes and single family homes go for. Is $500k for a 2 BR affordable housing? I hardly think so.

    I sold my house 3 years ago because one side of it was deemed protected pinelands. I came home from work and found the trees gone one day. New homes going up. There were lawsuits the works from taht point on.

    Again, keep me posted.