Projects for the Center for Innovation and Sustainability

I’m proposing a Center for Innovation and Sustainability (CIS), an ongoing Think and Do Tank facility to harness our genius, wisdom and caring to create local market-driven sustainable products and services. With deep collaboration we can create living examples of desirable neighborhoods where less is more – where lowered consumption from a systems-integrated-design approach creates a higher quality of life and affordable lifestyles. We can design scenarios that use less energy, generate little waste and take into account the less visible impacts of the choices we make on habitats and our ways of life.

As we do these systems integrated design, thousands of new products and possibilities will come up for invention. As I’m seeing it, the Fab Lab will being taking the info gathered from audits and assessments and coming up with products and services that meet the new opportunities.  So what are some of the project possibilities and potential demonstration sites that occur to you?

Here’s a couple of ideas and location possibilities


  • Design a neighborhood recycling and community garden center
  • Create a water recycling demonstration site, by tapping into the perennial stream (sewer line) and then hosting a design contest to create a public water feature using the  recycled water.

Demonstration Sites

  • Dana Richards has been spearheading a Sustainability Pathways project for Santa Fe High School. The idea is to create a community center/demonstration site of cutting edge technologies to give students hands-on learning opportunities.
  •  The Zia Roadrunner station has been zoned for a mixed use transit oriented neighborhood.
Ok, Santa Fe…let er rip! Share your ideas and possibilites for projects and demonstration sites!
Together we can make sustainable real!

A Fabrication Lab Turns Ideas into Products and Services

A Fab Lab is a collection of tools with which we can forge an empowering, high quality,  sustainable way of life.  Just about very aspect of our lifestyle is in need of an upgrade. Short vision and short term profits with “externalities” have turned into one big ponzi scheme. We’ve spent the last 60-70 years experimenting with the most expensive real estate development in history of humankind and not only is  our happiness quotient not doing so swell, but the cost of maintenance has set us up for big time bankruptcy.

Of course a Fabrication Lab will have a 3D printer and a shop with all manner of metal and woodworking tools. It also needs innovative financial, policy, and planning capacities.  Business startup and marketing support are also a necessity.  One often needs collaboration skills and the ability to persevere, so developing internal tools are essential components.

These are some of the ideas I’ve gleamed.   This vision of a creative, support atmosphere needs your input to become real. We are inventing sustainable lifestyles and a sustainable future! What tools and capacities would serve your needs?

Harvard Fabrication Laboratory

Image courtesy of Harvard Fabrication Laboratory

A Network of Key Influencers

How do we go about creating the Paradigm shift; innovating and collaborating to bring sustainable neighborhoods to the market?  A friend told me of the “Network of Key Influencers” process practiced by Susan Davis since the 1970s and it sounded like just the ticket!

Susan begins by gathering peer recommendations so the Network will be made up of a talented team from a wide range of sectors, balanced by age, gender, race and geography. Nominees are chosen for their

  • integrity and innovations
  • their ability to collaborate
  • high credibility in their field
  • their innate spiritual connection and willingness to serve the highest good for all
  • and their passion for the network’s mission;

In this case, we’re talking about a team that is passionate about creating thriving, vibrant, alive, mixed-use, mixed-income sustainable neighborhoods that are “good for people, good for the planet, and good for the polar bears.”

A Network fo Key Influencers-a passionate, talented team of collaborators

I’m on this mission, searching for this awesome group of talented folks. Think about the sectors in the graphic above, and if someone comes to mind, email me their name and I’ll interview them!  So far, I’ve interviewed 19 people, getting their recommendations and feedback. Once Susan has gathered a list of recommended “Key Influencers”, the nominees are invited to a Founder’s Retreat, where a dynamic community resource gets initiated.  Maybe you’re reading this and saying to yourself “Dang, I would love to be on this team!”  Hey, don’t be shy! Email me at “Contact” and we’ll set up a time to get together.

Whether you’re a pioneer lone wolf innovator, or a collaorator, we all have essential parts to play.  Together we can make sustainable neighborhoods real!

The challenges before us are so huge, we all can get feeling overwhelmed. One of the great quotes that give me inspiration and assurance comes from Margret Mead. I’m sure you’ve heard it before,  but it never gets old.  Here it is again:

  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Share Your Favorite Best Practices and Possibilities for Sustainable Futures!

Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico were at the epicenter of solar design in the 70’s and 80’s. I believe we can be on the cutting edge once again and lead the emerging sustainable economy. By bringing together our pioneering genius and deep caring, along with emerging technologies, we can collaborative  integrate systems and innovations and then build neighborhoods based in real-lasting values.

Join in! I’ve set the intention for this website to be a supportive tool as we learn to live sustainable on the planet, and you’re invited to help make it real!

Choose a “sector” to talk about and share your favorite best practices and ideas.  Then invite your friends and peers to contribute their favorites and carry on the conversations.

As the conversations build, the site can evolve into a forum/wiki where we can give and find support as we reinvent community. By collaborating, we can create great places to live, revitalize the construction industry, add a demonstration Sustainable Neighborhood showcase to our eco-tourism offerings, and bring forward futures that are “good for people, good for the planet, and good for the polar bears!”

So what are the awesome ideas you’ve run across, the opportunities that will transform the planet, your favorite inspirations? Together we can make sustainable neighborhoods real!

The Green Fire Times May 2012 The Center for Innovation and Sustainability

Last September I got to be the guest associate editor of Green Fire Times. The entire issue was dedicated to envisioning the creation of “Sustainable Urban Villages” in our area – vibrant, alive, quality-filled, deeply affordable, mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods that live lightly on the planet. The challenge remains: How do we actually create sustainable “triple bottom line” alternatives to suburban sprawl – thriving, resilient communities that are good for people, the planet and the polar bears?

If done right, a smart infill demonstration Sustainable Urban Village (SUV) showcase in Santa Fe would generate local economic development, expand ecotourism and help transform the planet. In today’s hyperlinked world, solving problems anywhere solves problems everywhere. So Santa Fe, let’s get it done!


The Puzzle of 1000 Pieces

Santa Fe and northern New Mexico has a lot of talented innovators, creative thinkers and pioneers. As the accompanying illustration shows, there are many pieces (see blue sectors) that need to be integrated to achieve sustainability. How can we put the puzzle together so that we create win-win-win solutions? I contend we need 1) an accessible, supportive, collaborative environment for innovation; and 2) smart 3D modeling tools.

Center for Innovation and Sustainability