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Community greening- why is no one doing this?

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Greening the community

spring vegetable gardenFor those of you not versed in commercial real estate, most states require a minimum amount of “green space” to be used in every development be it retail, multi-family and even industrial. Many developers get around this standard by excavating the land where the project will go, then adding some saplings and sod and calling it green space. The same goes for apartment and condo communities.

Maybe I’ve been reading too many hippie blogs, but it occurred to me today that the age old concept of community gardens is perfect for apartment and condo communities where some of the “green space” is slated to go or currently exists?

For those of you who have never been to a community garden, interested parties get a dedicated piece of land (usually very small and in the case of an apartment it would likely be a few square feet) that has been excavated and enriched with native soil so gardeners aren’t planting in bad soil or on bedrock.

The multi-family sector is fairly stagnant in ideas for added amenities and often look for ways to build community, but adding horseshoes and throwing a pizza party are so 1993. Environmentalism has become more commonplace- recycling continues to rise in residential areas, people are consuming more green products and building more green homes, so it seems that it would be acceptable in some MSAs to insert community gardens in what is currently useless space.

I would get involved in an apartment or condo community garden if offered, would you? It’s much easier than potted vegetables on a small patio and I would love to meet neighbors. What are your thoughts?

CC Licensed image courtesy of wwworks via Flickr.com.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Genevieve

    April 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I am in total agreement. Community Gardens should be much more prevalent. I actually did a little blog about that in December ( arbourrealty.com/green-ideas/break-minimal-planting-space-community-garden-plot/). Here in Northern Virginia, there are actually a lot more community gardens than you would expect- they are just not very obvious. When you find out where they are, though…. make sure to sign up on that wait list!

  2. Benn Rosales

    April 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I’m not sure if you remember there was a Will and Grace episode about the gnome and the community garden and the obsessive nature of those who use them- maybe that’s why no one does it, gnome people?

    It’s a cool concept, it should be done more, especially in highrise spaces where rooftops are reserved for sexy air conditioners and the like.

  3. Mark J. Lehman

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I’d love to see some fruit trees going in these spaces. Can you imagine instead of congregating around the water cooler, stepping outside your office building and chatting while enjoying a freshly picked apple or plum?

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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