It's time for a new real estate product. I wrote the attached article promoting New Urbanism in 1998. Since that time, I have become convinced that better design and /or a reversion to earlier design is not comprehensive enough. We need to build physical and operational environments/infrastructure that encourage consciousness. Systems that encourage wisdom and sustainable living that will be required for us to improve our quality of life rather than degrade the same. Any successful product must be something that encourages wisdom for not just the eventual occupants, but for the construction, operations and management of the product.
The product is not new. It has been tried by the wealthy with a great deal of success. First it was golf courses and then it was residence clubs. Both products permit members access to the real estate without possession. It dramatically expands the world that members can occupy. It is now time to initiate primary residence clubs.
While there is much talk of green construction, it is mainly for a segment of the population that has at least one other residence. It is time that we sat down and asked ourselves: Knowing what we know about the sustainability of the earth, how many square feet should I occupy? My personal response is that it probably should not be greater than about 500 s.f.
Living well is not about accumulating. It is about living lightly on this planet and leaving something for future generations to enjoy. Clean air. Clean water. We cannot do this with our current real estate model. The current model is based primarily on debt and inefficient use of space.
First the bad news. In order to be green we need to substantially change the way we live and work. The good news? Anyone who makes the shift will live healthier, happier lives and have way more productive leisure time.
What will people do once the whole manipulation economy breaks down? (See Conquer the Crash by Robert Prechter) Hopefully, work in a Jeffersonian environment that grants them the flexibility to discover work that is meaningful. To my knowledge, this does only exists in a very limited way in these times. One of the reasons is the manipulation economy mentioned above. One-half of the occupancy of the club will be designated for lodging for these independent contractors.
We need to find a new way to direct our philanthropic dollars. First of all, we need to pay our taxes and get the country out of this embarrassing debt that we are in. The wealthy should deposit their money in a primary residential club and pay their taxes. They will have access to a system that is far more meaningful than getting to attend special events for contributing a certain amount of money. The Aspen Institute comes to mind. What have they ever done that will change our destructive course?
All aspects of the construction and operation should utilize local – on-site if possible – independent contractors. Much of the food that is served should be locally sourced. Again, this is not something new. The Herb Garden in the Seattle area has been doing it for years.
There are no new ideas here. It is simply a matter of integrating them in a comprehensive way.