Embracing the Family Clan, for their Healthy Financial Future

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.

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Top 5 Things the City of Newburgh Should Do Now.

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.

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Human Design: Eyelashes and Eyebrows

Architecture is fundamentally connected to humans. That which is not connected is not architecture.

To understand function and how it influences the way something looks, one need only look at the human machine, and in this article the eyelashes and eyebrows. While the conclusions here are based on observation they hold within them a fundamental logic which is hard to deny.

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Accommodating Population Growth for the New City of Tomorrow

Accommodating Population Growth for the New City of Tomorrow

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.

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Dog Parks in Brooklyn (Map)

We, at SimpleTwig Architecture, put together a Google Map of Dog Parks in Brooklyn.  While it is viewable publicly few have found it. Perhaps this post will help.

Anyone can edit the map and hopefully add new sites and photos.  It’s a great tool for finding new Dog Parks in your area, and adding additions.

UPGRADES:

The Department of Parks will consider upgrading existing dog parks if a plan can show certain amenities, like a gate(s), lighting, water, fencing, suitable ground surface, etc.

 

NEWS:

Currently Prospect Park is considering adding a dedicated dog park on the East side. Called the Kensington Run. Read More: http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/40/13/dtg-kensington-dog-run-designs-revealed-2017-03-31-bk.html

 

LINK to MAP:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1e7tobrv1MA9hvE_vprFTWqloAnk&usp=sharing

 

If you have suggestions, please comment.  We’re more than happy to update as required.

Time, Not Distance, Determines the Development of Cities

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.

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Newburgh, NY, a Case Study in Urban Revitalization.

Newburgh, NY, a Case Study in Urban Revitalization.

It isn’t enough to talk about buildings, or streetscapes, or general urban planning directions to achieve success. One has to understand that it is imperative to provide opportunity and positive attitudes in Newburgh in order to attract ‘new money’ and investment in the community, ideally translating into new residents who can help sustain the economic minimums for individual households and thus result in new sales and property tax income for the city.  Without a change of attitude especially with regards to violent crime including burglary (which undermines a sense of security) people will not feel safe and thus will not risk their own lives to live in Newburgh.  This isn’t to say Newburgh isn’t filled with so many wonderful people, festivals, events and even a symphony.  It’s to say that the urbanism of the CBD is clearly suffering and needs the kind of focus to make the kind of change happen that will help those who feel stuck in what is sometimes referred to the Newburgh slums.  References to ‘slums’ must stop, and those who use the term should be informed to understand how it is doing more harm to families living in those communities than doing good for the sense of ‘coolness’.

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Townhouse Renovation Planned in Brooklyn

Townhouse Renovation Planned in Brooklyn

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.

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The dark side of the Building Code

Every building code is designed to keep people safe and improve their lives, but often the code imposes a negative impact on the potential quality of a place.

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