Sunday, June 22, 2008

A note on Urban Living

I've said to many that the times are a changing. Having been a student and practicioner of urban design and city making, I said that land values are a function of transportation costs. When getting in your car was cheap, it spawned the suburbs and mass suburbanization as many could now afford the big house outside the city; the only cost being their time to get there (when gas was under a buck a gallon). With competition for the limited amount of oil production, gas has shot through the roof and so has the cost of living in the suburbs. This cost is pushing suburban values down (not to mention the subprime market over building). So what is happening???

Decreased values outside the urban core (places that take lots of gas to get to);
Increased values in the center city;
Decreased values in markets where over building happened to fuel the big demand of buyers who were qualifying for loans and shouldn't have qualified (not in urban markets).
Increase apartment living costs as many apartments where converted and no new supply reached the markets as developers were busy building condos.

So my recommendation?
Hold your homes in the urban markets. If you are in the market to buy a house, buy small and by close in. People are realizing it takes a lot of money to heat, furnish, upkeep a large home where you use less than 50% of the spaces. Heck, look at all those SUV's they can't GIVE AWAY at the dealers. It pays to be prudent and to realize that the difference between desire and need. I mean, what do we really need? Keep it basic. Keep it simple.

This post was motivated by yet another article in a recent periodical. I provide it below:

Coldwell Banker® sales associates working in urban markets across the United States indicate they are seeing interest in urban living increasing because of the high cost of gasoline. While 96 percent of the 903 sales associates surveyed report that rising gas and oil prices are a concern to their clients, 78 percent report that higher fuel costs are increasing their desire to consider living in an urban setting.

According to the Coldwell Banker survey, the primary reasons for this interest in urban living are related to work commute and energy-efficient modes of transportation:

81 percent cite minimizing a reduced work commute as a reason for the interest in urban living
54 percent agree that access to public transportation is appealing
75 percent agree that the ability to walk to more places is a positive
"Over the past several years we have seen a boom in downtown living all over the country and this is not just reserved to major cities," said Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. "It is interesting to note that the study showed that 53 percent of our surveyed sales associates have seen an increased interest in urban living compared to five years ago."

Coldwell Banker surveyed sales associates who also reported they have seen an 84 percent spike in interest for properties with a home office, as compared to five years ago, indicating a trend towards telecommuting.

While the study also found that 64 percent of surveyed sales associates report their clients increasingly look for homes with "green" amenities that could save on heating, cooling and electricity costs, only 42 percent surveyed believe saving on energy costs are a reason for their client’s interest in urban living.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

For the LOVE of Cycling

Someone asked me why I like cycling. I thought about it and the first thing that came to mind was "LIFE." Digging deeper into my soul, I realized that after years of feeling the rush of endorphins post running, then knees giving way to another sport, cycling; it wasn't until I climbed on my bike, learned to push hard THEN... I could feel my heart. I guess the pounding of my heels on pavement would mask this beat, this magical beat within me. WOW. To feel your heart beat within your chest made me feel so alive. I could feel it pulse the blood energy through my extremities, I could feel my heart surge its strength of pump throughout my body. Nothing is more real or of truth in my life past or present.

Now what's my buzz about yoga?

I found yoga increases my consciousnenss. How? For me and many others yoga is physical and spiritual in the sense that I have come to feel my humanness beyond the heart beating in my chest. The practice of yoga awakens feeling of embracing life and expanding it – to become aware of the reality that all things and beings are connected, to realize that love is the fabric of the universe and to live as such. Yeah whatever Lisa! Hear me out.

So beyond the beat of my heart I now fully feel the power of my breath in each pose (the breath's movement up and down, front and back in my body) and have become aware of both the breath and heart and powerful movement and presence in my body through yoga. As my breath becomes more and more relaxed, the heart is felt AND heard. I more tune into the mystical rhythm of the breath and heartbeat - which has also transfered itself to my cycling. Yoga has expanded my experiences in Cycling such that both give me the ability to know my heart and true self as well as the power within. If this doesn't connect with you... do some yoga or just some breathing and truly feel it move in your body. You will feel more alive than ever.


Monday, June 09, 2008

SF Kinda Weekend

Looking at the jetstream for Seattle this past weekend I decided to get out of Dodge. Thursday I had dinner with Di Di who just left MSFT for Apple (one of my favorite companies). The contrast in cultures to hear her describe it was something of great fascination; moved from intimidation and bullying to support and nicities. To hear her describe it, well... she wishes someone would just tell her the truth or f-off. I think she is experiencing culture shock to say the least.

Friday was about cycling and remote working. I had a great bike ride with a dear friend Chrisandra who is a yogini and a writer for Yoga Journal. We cycled for nearly 5+ hours in glorious sunshine in Marin County. Barely getting home for a dinner date with two chaperones (who set me up) as I proved once again that I can still intimidate men (and very successful men). I certainly wasn't looking radiant (or so I constructed that reality), didn't place much effort into the adventure because I think I'm not ready to be attractive yet or think that men should like me for my mind (yeah right - who am I kidding). Enough on that topic.

Saturday was yoga at Chrisandra's class and an adventure to the Berkeley Hills to visit with a Matrix Alchemist. If you need to ask, you won't understand, but needless to say it was intense, exciting, inviting and purpose setting.

Sunday was Yoga at the presence of Jamie Lindsay. WOW. It was the first time I had done Headstand as a vinyasa between poses (basically the flow you use between poses). This guy is a genius and brought me to another state of consciousness with all the spine movements and gyrations. I felt a harmonic buzz resonate in my body after the 2 hour class. Following the class and some grub, a spin to the Headland in Marin across the Golden Gate Bridge, brought me into complete bliss for the weekend.

Getting home late Sunday night...
I had to jump into a busy, busy week with my first meeting starting at 8am this morning.
Woooo Hooooo!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Memorable Places

I was just asked by a well respected colleague to comment (for his blog) on what makes meaningful place. I share my thoughts (or a couple of sentences) below:

What I think brings meaning to place is the innate emotion a place can resonate, evoke or awaken within our soul. Its has more to do with experience as defined by our anticipation of the place, then the experience of place and finally the reception or the place's ability to leave us with a lasting memory of it and thus the ability to carry it forward in story. I think a place can be meaningful when its uncomfortable too, yet those aren't necessarily something we seek in a commercial sense, but ok and sometimes necessary for public spaces.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Peninsula Cycling & The Bike Savior

So Zana, Sile and I went to pre-ride the masters champ course yesterday out near Port Orchard. The blessings of good weather, good cheer were great beginnings to a nice ride. Meeting Zana at the Brem Ferry landing we loaded her bike on top my A4. Ya see they have this rule about height on ferries; if over 7 feet they ding ya another 15 bucks. So... with her sweet orbea on top...I now TOWERED 7 feet and a couple of inches. I told the fare taker that I'd take out the seat. Reluctantly he said "okay - lane 6". The ferry dude, directed us to the side where we had to REMOVE the seat post with 3 minutes to go before boat departure. Now Zana's MONDO seat post was not happy about coming out and neither was the ferry dude who watched us and his watch - counting down the 3 minutes. Stuggling to get her 3 foot seat post out of her frame (I kid you not) they screamed at us to hurry as the ferry wanted to leave.

I rushed, I sweated, I strained....
Until finally a gentlemen RAN over and extracted the seat post.

We raced to our seats, hopped back in the car...

They guided us to the high bay space (with clearances in excess of 20 feet) on the ferry where only half the deck was filled.

So, once we reached Bremerton, we unloaded the bikes and Zana went to put her seat collar back on, the bolt broke in two. I raced into town for whatever bike shop I could find (using my google text and nav system) and met Fred Pakas, a 70 year old dude running a bike shop (if I may call it that) in downtown Port Orchard. This guy was a blessing. Passionate about bikes, bike racing and anyone who says the word bike. Fred got us going again, wouldn't take ANY MONEY, so I said make it a donation to your cause!....but check out his bike shop; and these images are not photoshopped!

that would be the front door in the distance...

here is Fred surfing for the 5hex bolt in his 5hex bolt box, yet he is searching for the perfect length. Visit Fred in Port Orchard if you get a chance... he is 70 and still races. Was a Junior Champion and talks about bringing love to cycling and youth like the good ol' days. God Bless Fred!