··········   July 20th, 2010   ··········

Architect/Author Sarah Susanka declares a joint venture between better homes, better neighborhoods, and a brighter future in the housing market.

The book that started an industry and a movement.

Sarah Susanka, in a talk at a recent meeting of the Green Building Council of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, was her usual, charming self. Sharing ideas from several of her nine best-selling books about right-sized, well-designed homes, she moved deftly from architectural details to new urbanism. One of her more interesting points was the value of following your personal passions. She discussed her transformation from architect to author, and how she discovered that writing was her passion. This point struck a chord with me, as I feel that after a twenty-five year love/hate relationship with the remodeling business, I have found my passion as a consultant. Susanka has managed to very successfully share her ideas with a huge audience through her publications, website, and an upcoming TV series. Similarly (and at a much smaller scale) I have been able to reach more people with my message of green building and remodeling as a consultant and curmudgeon that I would have had I remained a contractor. A side benefit is that I much prefer what I now do to building and renovating.

Not So Big Urbanism

As I mentioned in my earlier post on New Urbanism, many in that group have only recently come around to embracing green building, even though principles of both have often meshed together well. Similarly, Not So Big and green building, evolving almost simultaneously, having had a sort of under the radar relationship early on, are now happy partners in home building and remodeling. Coming full circle, New Urbanism and Not So Big are officially in bed together, according to one of the slides in Susanka’s presentation. She made the point that, in addition to wanting fewer McMansions, homeowners will be looking for more walkable neighborhoods in the future. Hopefully the smaller homes in those walkable places will all be high performance ones. If anyone can sell these ideas to the public, it is a best selling author like Sarah Susanka. As a friend sitting next to me during her talk pointed out, she is one of those people who could sell ice to Eskimos. Here’s hoping the people that listen to her are in a mood to buy what she is selling.

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