With baby boomers reaching maturity, new responsibilities can become overwhelming in a struggling economy. With parents in retirement, children growing up but staying at home or leaving, the financial burden for each can strain the whole family’s finances to a breaking point. Certainly if one finds themselves living pay check to pay check it is easy to make an argument for change.
Yet the strategy for self-sufficient living seems to dominate the typical American’s way of thinking, that is for the most part, graduate college and go live on your own. Certainly existing housing stock reinforces this notion. Yet in many cultures and even to an extent here in the US more people are opting to keep the family together, with grandparents, siblings and with in-laws. Financially, the strategy is sound, that is, one property supports many families or individuals.
The worry? Someone is a slob, loud, argumentative, problematic with an addiction, or some other self-destructive behavior. In this respect one has to establish rules to govern the standards which everyone needs to comply with. For instance, all public shared spaces must remain clean, and debris or storage free. But in this respect a well designed dwelling can answer many of the needs of most people, in providing secure storage areas, efficient handling of trash, sound absorption methods that limit the distance of airborne noise, and even orientation of spaces to further isolate individual dwelling modules. In this respect we have developed several housing prototypes as noted in previous or upcoming articles. For this article, we discuss some of the financial benefits to shared habitation.
With several hundred vacant buildings in Newburgh, NY owned by the city, the city needs to take drastic action to stop the decay and reverse the momentum immediately.
While the excuses of lost jobs, crime and the effects of urban renewal can be reflected upon, the lack of motivated intelligent and experienced direction is at the heart of the city’s failures. I too hear the voices of ‘oh I hope someone renovates this majestic structure one day’ and while everyone can share this sentiment it just isn’t enough to affect actual change, for if the city does not drastically modify its approach and attitude all those structures which hold so much potential will eventually need to be torn down, leaving more ‘urban renewal’ effects dotted throughout the city and thus further contributing to the decline of the city. The dam has broken and the water is all but gone. First step, repair and strengthen the dam in a way that is more self-maintaining, in order to prevent decay or a breach in the future… so the water may once again fill in the cavity.
The following are the five most important things the city can do to begin to stop the negative momentum and change people’s perception of the city as one of opportunity.
A followup on the SimpleTwig article ‘Time, Not Distance, Determines Development of Cities‘ we need to take a moment to review the existing density of New York City, as an example to show that people reside in the area that physically puts them closer to where they work, in this case Manhattan. While this is probably obvious to most, one can not assume everyone understands the organic growth of cities.
While it would be nice for everyone to live and fit in Manhattan, or for that matter in a location that has a view of it’s beautiful skyline, it isn’t always possible given the cost of property, and, the lack of availability of housing stock. This means, with an ever growing population, alternatives must be addressed.
Time, that is the time it takes to travel to a job, determines where people focus on in their search for a place to live. Thus a city like New York City has it’s own CBD (Central Business Districts) of Midtown and Downtown, with extensions on the upper East/West Sides and infill throughout, along with growing CBD developments along the river banks of the Hudson and East Rivers, especially with regards to Newark, NJ and Downtown Brooklyn, NY.
When it comes to choices for a residence, there is a curve of acceptable ‘time to commute’ for a particular job. Those on the outskirts of this curve might travel 2 or 3 hours each way, not because they want to but only as a necessary evil in their life to pursue their own interest and priorities. This is why the current commuter system fails, in that providing express service is just not enough to harness the potential of land just beyond the more acceptable half-hour commute, and why there needs to be ‘super express’ service to new core areas to help increase housing and opportunities while providing the ‘time connection’ people demand for their daily lives.
This townhouse renovation project in Brooklyn, NY is for a young couple with a need to secure their financial future, and, start a family. With this in mind, SimpleTwig suggested creating two rental apartments in addition to their Owner occupied unit. This would allow them to maximize extra income into their savings, giving them the option of combining units in the future when their family expanded.