A few years back I did a video tour of Rishi Kumar’s suburban home in southern California. I was seeking examples of ordinary people living in cookie cutter landscapes who were making their households more dynamic and resilient. Rishi’s goal was to transform his family home from a center of consumption to a place of production. … Continue reading Manju Kumar and the Box People
Behold Evergreen Gardens in Pomona, California. The cultural imperative in the suburbs is to maintain the emotional facade of the single family home and the security of a private enclave. If you squint this place comes close enough. Cough. Residents drive in through the electronic security gate, park in the garage, and head for the … Continue reading Evergreen Gardens
One of the many smart young people who orbit my kitchen table at dinner time explained what he was doing at his last job. It involved “peak shaving.” No. It had nothing to do with a barber shop. Instead, it was a tech gig that managed energy consumption for private clients. California’s state energy policy … Continue reading Peak Shaving
There’s what exists on paper according to the authorities, and then there’s reality on the ground. The recent fires in Sonoma and Napa counties destroyed 7,000 buildings – almost all of them single family suburban homes. Entire subdivisions were wiped out overnight. This occurred in a part of the world where the gap between what … Continue reading The Domino Effect
Friends invited me to their weekend cabin for a bit of extended birthday celebrating. The big Five Oh. The coast of northern California is spectacularly beautiful and I love walking along the shore watching sea lions play in the surf. As the crow flies it’s only a hundred miles from the city, but it’s a … Continue reading Sliding in to the Sea
Last month I wrote about how insurance companies are getting ahead of the curve by preemptively dropping coverage and/or significantly raising the cost of policies for properties believed to be at increased risk. Less than four weeks later forest fires ripped through Sonoma and Napa counties and destroyed 7,000 structures – most of them single family … Continue reading What Happens After Half Your Town Burns Down?
A couple of months ago a friend sent me some images from Florida. He and his family were visiting his wife’s parents who live in a comfortable retirement community. To quote: “Here’s where we’re staying for the next few weeks. Sun City Center. It’s very superficially nice. My father-in-law has had to look things up … Continue reading The Death of Household Productivity