Friday, March 2, 2007

The Next 100 Million: Where will they go?

I went to a panel discussion last night sponsored by the Institute of Urban Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. The topic was the above title: "The Next 100 Million: Where will they go?"

It was fascinating to have 3 hours to think about urban planning, massive immigration, and smart growth. Paris Glendenning, former Maryland Governor, was one of the panelists ... and he's my new hero.

The discussion got me thinking about creating a personal utopia. I've created a plan.

Part 1: The Urban Model
This would consist of a townhouse divided into at least three spaces:
1- An apartment for me
2 - A communal area for studio work and meetings
3- And a divided space for living and/or studios for rent.
To make this work the mortgage would have to start below what I would be able to pay in rent, so I could save money for renovations. It could be in a "developing" neighborhood, but I would want it to be walking distance from a grocery and public transportation, no more than 2 miles from the city center.

It would have the following:
1- A green roof and area for trees and outside communing
2- Solar panels
3- Sustainable materials: bamboo or cork flooring, milk-paint, recycled glass tiles, and energy-efficient windows and appliances.

Ideally I could use the communal space for meetings for groups that are like-minded. I would also like to develop a community of like-minded folks in the same area. And the extra living space would be available to people in need for short to medium stays.

Part II: The Rural Model
This would consist of a farm, protected wetlands, and would be in a northern area.

I would either rent it to organic farmers or use it in the summer to farm beautiful natural food for the Urban Model to use throughout the year.

It could also be a seasonal retreat center.

Now, I just need to make this all happen.

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