Monday’s meeting was full of energized debate and discussion — I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s fun to be part of such a passionate team.
We agreed on all aspects of how the project would work and what our principal deliverable would be.
1. We will look at how economic and financial frameworks shape a real estate outcome or project.
2. These frameworks or “lenses” will include:
- national economic interest (GDP/ GNP)
- business interest (ROI/ IRR)
- national balance sheet economics (environmental economics, national balance sheet)
- impact on happiness
3. None of these lenses are new, but we would like to reach a broader audience than the academic, sustainability or real estate community.
4. The study will use storytelling as a way to understand the topic and translate a complex idea for a broad audience. We anticipate a final product that is in a video format (possibly 2-3 short videos). We also think the storytelling format lends itself to a wide variety of speaking opportunities.
5. We recognize that stories are stronger if they are linked and begin in one concrete place. In other words– start with something people can see and touch, and use human stories tas representations of some of the more abstrat concepts we are interested in. The NPR example (posted on this blog) of tracing the story of toxic assets is a model for this.
6. Contrasting different examples can also be a powerful tool for storytelling. One option is to compare one case in the US with a case abroad and look at how the different frameworks produce different results.
7. The team supports choosing 3 related topics (or perspectives on a project) that we can explore in one location, address in groups of 2 or 3, and then debreif and discuss as a group each evening.
We weighed several locations and specific topics in our discussion on Monday. Some locations were exciting because they are naturally resource constrained (Israel, Cuba) and so they naturally tend toward more of a balance sheet accounting in their economic models. Other locations (such as Vauban in Germany) were exciting because specific projects there seem to point to a different framework that made them possible. An initial vote (3 votes each) showed us to be fairly wide-ranging in our enthusiasm:
1. Cuba (I-Sustain trip) (2 votes)
2. Germany (Vauban) (5 votes)
3. Israel (3 votes)
4. Singapore (2 votes)
5. Bangalore (1 vote)
6. Phoenix (2 votes)
7. Detroit (1 vote)
8. Australia (3 votes)
We decided that before we make a final choice, we should do a little more research on specific projects in each of our target destinations. Between now and mid-December, we plan to use this blog to examine specific topics in our target locations so that we can have several projects on the table. We plan to make a final descision on project and destination by mid-December (or January 1 at the latest).
Please post your ideas for group projects in any of the destinations listed, and comment on other ideas listed here. Our goal will be to reach a decision on or before January 1.