Sunday, May 31, 2009

--More Green Houses No Real People Will Buy

Here's the problem with the present state of green homebuilding: these houses are cartoons. Real people don't want to live in them.

Homebuilders are building houses that appeal only to "green" people and among that group are considered "normal". Thinking must move orthagonally--homebuilders must begin constructing "green" homes for "normal" people.

As always, this blog affirms that the secret is New Regionalism.

Read the whole story, here.
From today's Wall Street Journal...

Friday, May 15, 2009

--A Green McMansion?

I love everything about this. Cherokee Investment's "Mainstream GreenHome" is EXACTLY what everyone should be thinking about. Read the article from BusinessWeek, here.

--Green Campus Hits and Misses

The above building is graduate student housing, where windmills and solar panels provide electricity and up to 80% of student food is grown in the surrounding garden. (Do we really need to make grad student life that much harder?)

Business Week has profiled campus efforts at greening. Most of these efforts aren't too interesting from a New Regionalist perspective. But check out College of the Atlantic, which succeeds on too many levels to mention. The mass consumer market has a place for their dorms, unlike the Penn State effort pictured above.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

--From the New York Times: Car-free in Germany

Vauban, Germany — Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

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Here's the problem with glorifying this suburb: Germany already has walkable urban centers. A suburb that connects to a walkable urban core via light rail is a brilliant idea, yes. But what if you tried to connect The Waters or Hampstead to Montgomery via light rail. A train stop at Eastchase and one downtown...and still no access to a major supermarket or movie theater or airport or discount retailer or....

Maybe car-free suburbs are admirable in the Northeast. The rest of the country has a long way to go.

--From the New York Times: Car-Free in America?

"A New York Times article from this week described efforts in Vauban, Germany, a suburb of Freiburg, to go “car free.” The story mentioned attempts in some American communities to achieve something similar. While walkable communities have become common all over the United States in the last 15 years, going car-free is another challenge altogether. Is this a realistic goal in a car culture like ours? We asked some urban planners, developers and other experts to comment."

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Monday, May 11, 2009

--A Tax Credit for Builders

Check out this link for tax credits to home builders that employ energy efficiency techniques.