This blog is about creating a Green Heart Town: Renewing Your Home, Neighborhood and Downtown from the Inside Out.
For over a year, I considered the right direction for this blog. I could use the "I have never blogged before" excuse, but the truth is I'm a slow poke. One thing I knew for certain is that I have always been passionate about sustainability. Some of my earliest memories involved playing in the creek behind the house, building forts and exploring with other kids. Being in a Scouting family further instilled a love of nature, as well as the the ideals of environmental stewardship and public service. Then, I found architecture school in college and my life seemed to align.
After college, my professional journey led me to a really cool place, where the past, present and the future converge. No, I'm not in the Matrix! I have reached a crossroads where green architecture, neighborhood planning and historic preservation intersect.
These three fields are key components for community-wide sustainable development. They have a lot of base-level similarities. Notably, they all conserve resources, and leave the world better for the next generation. But, also these fields are complementary and synergistic to one another. And, that is sort of like the Matrix, if you asked me.
Being green is about understanding your place in the world, living wisely, and leaving things better than you found them. ~LL
In my mind, being green is about understanding your place in the world, living wisely, and leaving things better than you found them. Leaving a LEGACY. This is a simple concept, but very difficult to achieve. In our All-American culture, sustainability has not been well received by the status quo. This is merely a fault of capitalism, and the lure of more stuff (link). Nevermind, that our gizmos may exploit a people group or be made with toxins or have a limited life-span. We all want it brand new and as cheap as possible, right? Even with all this in mind, our cultural inertia is hard to resist and following the herd often seems to be the only clear cut path to doing or purchasing anything.
The absolute lack of information on practical sustainability is ultimately why I need to write this blog. I need a way to begin learning how to live smarter, year after year. Learning what is best is even more important as an architect, where I guide other people on how to use their resources wisely.
For both new construction and remodels, architectural design is meaningful in that it creates space for the functions, interactions and experiences of life. If well designed and detailed, the built work can operate efficiently serving others far into the future. I believe that many of us want to leave something positive behind for the next generation, and I want to help.
My work with Main Street America™ grass-roots organizations has taught me a lot about the incredible power of community. Working with so many wonderful people across Oklahoma, and on the national stage, gives me faith in our culture’s resolve to leave the world a little better for the next generation.
Mainstreeters simply “get it”. They understand that they are part of something bigger, and that the historic downtown they love is an inherited legacy. They may purchase a building, but they never really own it. They are its caretakers, its stewards, if just for a while. I think we should all look at the world this way - as both a gift and a resource.
This type of visceral response to “what is best” is something that I hope we can engage on this blog. I plan to focus on common issues in our communities and get to the root of living a more practical and purposeful life. I also hope to pass the bug for green design on to you too.
Where green architecture, neighborhood planning and historic preservation intersect we will find a common motivation and a strategy to strengthen our homes, neighborhoods, and downtowns. Together we can make them into more vital places where legacy can be passed down to future generations. Together we can lighten our environmental footprints, live with purpose and enjoy life. The ideas for constructing this strategy will evolve, but I have a good idea on where we are heading.
Are today’s options better than the past? Will our buildings last? Can we return to building places that give our community life? Can we leave a legacy like our forefathers? Can we extend theirs? I hope that you will come alongside as a reader and a contributor here. But, mainly I hope you will take part in your community and leave our world better for the next generation.