Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Urban Renewal

Many cities have initiated a variety of steps to renew the inner city. Baltimore was able to pull off a respectable renewal of their waterfront area in the 1990s with the completion of Camden Yard and the Ravens football stadium ( The 16th Street Mall and LoDo redevelopment in Denver is another success story. Most of these initiatives revolve around replacing or renovating buildings. Detroit's idea of urban renewal is quite radical, replacing buildings with high tech farms.

Article supporting Farming Detroit:

Article against Farming Detroit:

Article Farming Detroit:

If this idea moves forward, Detroit should consider adopting the Zero Waste Zone concepts that Atlanta has implemented (Zero Waste Zone Blog Entry). In particular, the idea of composting the waste food from restaurants and using this as fertilizer for the urban farms.

What do people think about locally grown food vs. dependence on importing food from other states or internationally?

It seems like all other ideas to revitalize Detroit (for example the casinos) have failed. Do people think that farming could help bring jobs back to Detroit, bring families back to Detroit, and be beneficial to the community?

Friday, March 12, 2010


Here is an interesting article on green residential houses and how appraisers are undervaluing green technology. This results in banks only accepting home loans at a fraction of the construction cost. Thus, without significant money down, people cannot afford the houses. A consequence is that developers are only building with the lowest cost green options. Is this good or bad for the country as a whole?

The last paragraph, especially the last sentence, of the article is the most interesting:

"As more American homeowners green their homes, there will be more and more of a premium paid for green homes," said Ben Kaufman, GreenWork's founder. "I can imagine a miles-per-gallon type sticker on homes for sale and the marketplace will absolutely favor fuel-efficient homes."

The Human Life Project would like to indentify and promote the use of "biomarkers" within communities. Biomarkers would collect data and notify the community of healthy or unhealthy patterns. As a simple example, consider a buoy in the water with a light on top. When the light is green, the water is safe to swim in. When the light is red, the water is not safe to swim in. In the case of green homes, Kaufman's idea of a energy-efficient sticker that comes with the sale of the house offers a biomarker to alert future homeowners.

What biomarkers do people think would make good indicators for the sustainability of the community? For example, categories such as nature might include air quality and renewable energy. Harder to measure categories under social indictors might include family stability, quality of relationships, and effectiveness of community leadership.

Post by the Staff of the Human Life Project

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sliding vs. Deciding

Dr. Scott Stanley has been doing some interesting research that he calls Sliding vs. Deciding ™ ( The general concept is related to how one moves from a cohabitating relationship to being married. Dr. Stanley states that those that make the conscious decision to get married have a better chance of staying married. Conversely, those that "slide" into marriage are more likely to get a divorce. Thus, the longevity of the relationship is based, in part, on making the conscious decision to be in the relationship, instead of just "going with the flow".

One of the goals of the Human Life Project is to find and implement patterns that lead to building truly sustainable communities. One thought is that long term relationships translates into more stable communities.

In future postings, we will try to discuss "Commitment Levels" and the impact on relationships. For now, do readers of this blog have any thoughts on how committed long term relationships (or lack of commitment) impact the community?

Another interesting thought is applying Sliding vs. Deciding concepts to other aspects of our life. For example:
- Consciously deciding how many hours to work vs. sliding into a situation of working many hours of overtime
- Consciously deciding how much TV time the kids are allowed vs. sliding into the situation in which they watch TV many hours a day

Post by the Staff of the Human Life Project