Housing - stories

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Historic buildings could be swept away

“Some historic buildings are not saveable in their current locations.”

So says John Englander, author of High Tide on Main Street, at the recent conference, Keeping History Above Water. This charette comes up with some ideas about what to do to prevent this.

A simple life is hard to imagine. Here’s one way.

Lost driver: “Can you tell me how to get to Union Grove?” Roadside farmer: “No. But if I was you, I wouldn’t start from here.”

Most of us have trouble seeing from here down the road. If we ponder what life would be like with a lot less water, air-conditioning, meat, or municipal services, it’s hard to visualize. How would limited transportation, lower home values, more community conflict, and food scarcities feel? We can’t quite imagine.

I spend hours researching dangers like these and possible tactics for dodging them. But even I have trouble conjuring visions of their everyday consequences. [...]

New predictions of global warming – sooner than we thought

Normal temperatures in cities 30 years from now will be be hotter than today’s heat wave. We should prepare for decisions about school choice, career moves, and retirement with this mind. [...]

Flood insurance – growing risks, subsidized premiums

FEMA’s revised maps show dramatic expansion of flood plains. Families aren’t insured for flood unless they have a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program. [...]

Reason #2 to consume less and save more

Reduced federal spending threatens family budgets more than increased taxes. [...]

How not to be a nuclear family

Has Japan’s disaster made your family more concerned about living near a nuclear reactor? Do you know where the nearest nuclear sites are? [...]

Walkability strengthens neighborhood ties

Walkable neighborhoods mean residents are likely to have higher trust, more community activities, and stronger social networks locally. [...]

A Category 4 or Richter 6 near you?

Experts predict increasingly severe natural disasters. It makes sense to take this into account when making location decisions. [...]

Cohousing – designed for these times?

Cohousing can have advantages any time, but especially when energy, food and other family budget threats loom. [...]

Our grandchildren will know

If America isn’t going to fight climate change, the least Americans can do is to change our grandchildren’s habits and expectations. [...]

The rightsizing decade

More families are going to want to move and downsize in the coming years, and for new reasons. [...]

If expert predictions are wrong

Most of us don’t realize how shaky most predictions are – and how useful they can still be. [...]

Degrees of economic resilience

People who live in towns with lots of college graduates have a better chance of avoiding recession and unemployment. [...]

Zoning vs. progress

To live in a neighborhood where you have financial and environmental resilience, moving could be less painful than trying to build it around you. [...]

People will pay to walk

Walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented mixed-use neighborhoods are predicted to be in demand, pushing up prices and encouraging construction. [...]

Can you get there in 20 minutes walking or biking?

A map of Portland color-codes neighborhoods by walking/biking proximity to everyday destinations. Not everybody’s destinations.. [...]

Where are the other savvy families?

Building resiliancy is hard when everyone around you looks askance. There are “Transition” groups to join – or form. [...]

Snow storms and global warming – a connection?

Planning our family’s adaptation to a warmer planet is complicated by the fact that warmer winters bring more snowstorms. [...]

Most sustainable cities

While not fine-tuned to your family’s plans and concerns, city sustainability rankings are a good place to start to find and evaluate places you might choose to live. [...]

Meetup: get stimulus, make progress, have fun

Let others help end your paralysis. Meetups are smallish clubs of like-minded people inspiring each other, offering help, and doing tangible projects together. [...]

Rising sea-level hurts low land and low taxes

This example of sea-rise damage seems like the first domino in a chain that topples property values and tax base, and eventually town and state coffers. [...]

Walkable neighborhoods

Some neighborhoods provide the compactness, the safe paths, and the vibrant activities that put a smile on your face – and gas money back in your pocket. [...]

Small was beautiful (and can be again)

The Joys of Small really can make up for the Pride of Big. The Freedom of Simple can feel better than the Yoke of Complex. [...]

Neighborhoods with low transportation costs

Using bikes and scooters may work for some, but there may be a better way: choose a neighborhood where you can get around quickly on public transport. [...]

Renting – advantage #2

Home Sweet Home has been an anchor keeping many of us from better jobs, keeping some from any job, period. [...]