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View Diary: Affordable, Sustainable Housing I: As Direct Action (40 comments)

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  •  Honestly? (6+ / 0-)

    I think the best route is the fact that Kossacks tend to be politically-active and sophisticated.  The most important link in the problem isn't technical.  It's political.  It's that the building and zoning codes are written and adopted by REALTORS.   Some time in the last fifty years, this profession realized that they have more to gain than anyone does by controlling local government.  Other people are interested in decent schools, but they otherwise have little concern for the nuts and bolts of zoning regulations, road repairs and building codes except the once or twice in a lifetime that they are impacted by them.  Realtors make their profits by selling the right to live and do business in a community.   Those profits are best served by high property values and quick turnover, which in turn are best served by a standardized product that can be comfortably subsidized by distant financial providers, with the fewest local differences possible.  The interests of the lender coincide with excessive "safety" demands in building codes (such as the inspector who told me I needed four smoke alarms in a four-room 800 sq foot cabin), lack of tolerance for "unconventional" architecture (difficult to evaluate and to sell), and unconcern for environmental or maintenance costs (what matters is ease of construction -- least labor possible -- and least current cost of materials).

    The solution is to get non-realtors into local government.  This would be easier for Kossacks than any other definable group of people, as local government is relatively cheap and accessible and a great start in any political career.

    •  That's true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Renee

      The UT legislature is full of Mormon developers. And the local town council is too.

      One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Some pragmatists are exceptions.

      by Words In Action on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 11:28:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it's cultural (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Cranium

      If there were a demand for 800 sq ft homes made with hay and clay and mud, someone would be building them.

      People want bigger open-concept houses - with land to play/live on.

      The diarist is wrong.  It IS a matter of demand.

      If demand were great enough, new standards for sustainable building materials and procedures would be created.  There is simply not enough demand to make that arduous task worthwhile.

      •  Nope. It's money. She's right, developers (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Renee, freesia, FarWestGirl

        run all the city councils. There's a lot less money to be made in these homes.

        As I've been looking into this I've been wondering, how can it be that land prices are so high in Salt Lake County, of all places? I mean, where talking a valley about 15 miles square. The economy is not so bad here but even the land on the "wrong" side of the freeway is expensive. Even out near the landfill and around the airport. Even down by the prison. Developers do everything in their power to pump prices up and keep them there. And a big part of that is zoning regulated lot sizes and the construction of big homes. Even though so thousands and thousands are empty.

        Each day more people get more religion about Climate Change, and they start getting more serious about saving the only planet we have, downsizing and cutting back on meat will become a lot more popular.

        I'll be doing another diary soon on communities that are working on it.

        We'll get down to the bottom of this over time. If research tells me you're right, I will let you know.

        One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Some pragmatists are exceptions.

        by Words In Action on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 03:40:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's our fault, too (0+ / 0-)

          "We", as a society, want those houses, and those property values.  All the while we are looking at buying a house, we want to find the best "value" we can find.  The day after we buy that house, all we care about is that the value of that property increases as much, and as quickly, as possible.  Housing has always been a symbol of success and status, as well.  And, it is a practical fact that the bigger your accommodations, the more flexibly they can be used.

          This is human nature.  It has been going on for thousands of years.  Unless you can re-engineer human DNA, I'd say you are fighting an unwinnable battle.

          Now, if there is some sort of planet-wide culture-altering catastrophy or event, I could see change happening.  But, it is much more likely, we will slump slowly toward a climate driven decay/change in our lifestyles, culminating with a return to feudalism or some other form of hierachical agrarian society.

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