MIT's Journal of Industrial Ecology reports: In new, single-family houses constructed in the United States, living area per family member has increased by a factor of 3 since the 1950s. As square footage increases, so does resource use in homes. As footprint expands, so does the impermeable surface. Rise in construction costs and energy consumption mean more concern about environmental impactincluding storm-water runoff...(a Big Deal in our part of the country where we are prone to landslides)....
Tonight, as the sky darkened and little lights began to twinkle across the valley, I gazed out my window to see at the very top of the mountain, a 7,000 square foot home ablaze in light. I wonder if the couple who live there understand the impact they have on the other families that also live on the hundred acres we share. And what about how all of us affect these guys ? (See photo I just took)
Bears on the driveway. November dusk.
As REALTORS® most of us are ever-curious about trends in the market. After all, our financial well-being in the future depends on our foresight today. So tonight I am wondering: Over the years, as homes "super-size" their way into living spaces, has the quality of life changed? Over the past 50 or 60 years, has air quality in urban areas gotten better or worse? Are there more or fewer warnings about eating fish caught in local streams? How are the birds and bears doing in your neck of the woods? Are there fewer or more job opportunities where you hang your hat? Are we working more and earning less? How is the poverty and homelessness situation in your community? Finally, is it easier or harder to find homes our clients can afford?
As I talk with my clients today, there's a growing consensus. Many people are choosing a more balanced lifestyle and less debt. People, and not just by those of retirement age but people of all ages, work situations and backgrounds, want to work less, live more and have time to spend with their families, communities and on personal interests.
Tom told me, "I really had the urge to grow organic vegetables!
So, I called you to help me find a more generous lot, but with a smaller home. "
Deb and Laz confided, "It really just was time for us to think about our priorities.
We want to spend time with our young daughter while she is small, to home school her,
and maybe volunteer to help in the green-way project.
We selected a smaller, less expensive home because it meant we could do those things."
"As you know, I'm an empty-nester," a widow friend of mine nodded.
"I want to downsize, but I want granite, stainless and a lap pool...
you know, some serious ‘bling-bling!"
And as I listen to the fortune-teller's tune upon the winds, I hear of change ... a new way of living's on the way. ..a trend in the single-family house that includes downsizing.. Downsizing ..not a low-quality, sombre habitat or lifestyle. Au contraire! These residential jewels may improve quality of life as well as resource efficiency. What does this portend? As I listen, I hear a demand for both quality of life and residence. As clients learn more about sustainability and its attractiveness over the long run, we may well see a shift in the residential market. In terms of ensuring an economy and society that can continue to exist without destroying the natural environment on which we all depend, consumers may, in fact begin to demand "a wee, bling-bling cottage" with upscale amenities.
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