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Bike LogoMILLENNIAL CITY: How a New Generation Can Save the Future ~Dennis Walsh and Glen Hiemstra A BOOK REVIEW

“’The future is not what it used to be.’  Laura Riding and Robert Graves first wrote these words in 1937, but they could have been writing about today.  Here in the second decade of the 21st Century their statement seems prophetic.  The world is not like we expected when we looked ahead to this century, back in the 1990’s. We are confronted with some very profound questions about how we are going to create a better future, if we can.”

Dennis Walsh is a sustainability futurist, journalist who researches how green businesses can assist in the restoration of the environment without compromising core business value and increasing future long-term profitability.  He lives now in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada.

Glen Hiemstra is the Founder and CEO of he is also a consultant and was a College Professor educated at Whitworth College, U of Oregon, and U of Washington.  He currently lives in Seattle with a wife and 3 Millennial age adult children. Author of FUTURE INTO REVENUE and STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP: Achieving Your Preferred Future.

Dennis Walsh sent me a message on Linked In and asked me to review his new e-book about Millennials.  I had to purchase the book myself so when I said I would review the book, I could choose my date and location for the review.  I think this book works best on Biking Architect and I can highly recommend it to all my readers.

So 56% of the world’s population groups live in the city, which is rapidly rising to the 96th percentage because cities are where talent wants to be and where talent attracts Millennials to work and play.  They even want to grow their food close to their living arrangements and have it easy to obtain – and healthy.

The Ford Motor Company at the turn of the 20th Century needed to train assembly line workers and teach them how to live within their means (Great new historic novel covers this – my review of THE NEW MEN)  That is definitely not what we need today and into the future.  I think the Millennials as a group are having trouble picking careers and work because they have not been taught to be big thinkers or to figure out their talent and what they like to do.  They are not exposed to enough of what challenges them and supports their energies and their futures.    This is very different thinking and the schools are losing students by not advocating for their futures – Hey folks! Manufacturing jobs are not coming back, there are so many more jobs and experiences on the horizon and not enough talent prepared to move forward into these positions.

I will use this book when I am talking about careers at the local schools and the environmental meetings – How architects plan for the future?  We need to plan and we need to prepare, because the next generation is moving up to the challenge and running right on past those standing in their way.

I believe this book is also for older folks who are stuck with old ideas.  They avoid change, often computers and concepts about the future, which will affect their lives tremendously.   The elders need to explore their environment and celebrate their talents and GET OUT OF THE WAY of the Millennials.  We need to learn to code, fix our own computers, program our own entertainment centers, eat local food, vote for the future, and enjoy what the talented up and coming folks have to offer.  Knowledgeable chearleading and encouragement are vital to the future.

We need to stop being in denial about the earth and it’s future.  Resistance and fear are STOP ACTION commodities.   We just spent trillions of dollars on a fossil fuel war which did not stop the future from arriving at all – actually we cheated the Millennials;   if we had used that money instead to put solar panels on every building in the USA, taxpayers would be making $169 Trillion dollars in income!

This is a very positive book…Extremely easy reading and could be read and enjoyed by everyone who is living into the future.  (Well then again, maybe not Congress – they are celebrating feudalism and Greed)   Architects can definitely benefit from this read and be more helpful to clients in planning for the future.

Millennials will be more community oriented, already are, and more interested in good communication skills and less individualistic.

Very interesting short video on the Futurist site, one might also enjoy.

Related Reading:
Celebrating Olympia Federal Savings Green Remodel
That Funny Little Building in the Picture
Do You Know Your Walk Score?

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Fri, August 1 2014 » Reading » No Comments

Bike LogoSolar Energy Amazing Developments and Wind powered Trains

Just check these articles out and see if you are amazed.

I know that we have been discussing in our community the many oil trains and Rail Cars which go through our downtown and the increased traffic.   We also witness all the explosions and fire bombs happening in even larger numbers each year.  We know that China may be out of the fossil fuel business very soon – within 5 years?  We know the old fossil duffers are trying to build coal ports and are just going ahead and creating obsolete venues right now, and we know 82% of the people in the State do not want to continue with these fossil fuel problems.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has targeted our legislative body and state for control and under cutting all the independent voters and progressive voters even liberal voters.

We need to get louder and counter the noisy claims of the old fossil duffers who are not green except for making money.  We need to focus folk’s attention in a positive energy.  Let’s Greenly Make More Green for Everyone – not just the duffers.

I went looking for some positive solutions and I was not disappointed.  Facebook sent me 1 right away –Fantastic!

Dutch Wind Turbines to Power Electric Trains
This is a You Tube Video (7 minutes) that is about the prototype roads and the results (You can find pictures here: ) And these Solar Roadways are now possible and could get us totally off fossil fuels and clean up pollution –  and no snow shovels!!

So did you get as excited about these concepts and ideas as I did?

But what if those trains are using the inadequate rail cars with the highly flammable oil going through your downtown?

Will you sign our petition?

The Sixth Extinction
Celebrating a Solar Remodeled Bank
How are We Doing With Our Solar Panels?

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Wed, May 28 2014 » Discoveries, Inspiration » 1 Comment

Bike LogoEXTINCTIONS and SECRETS: What an interesting SPRING!

“At the same time, some of Cuvier’s most wild-sounding claims have turned out to be surprisingly accurate.  Life on earth has been disturbed by ‘terrible events,’ and ‘organisms without number’ have been their victims.  Such events cannot be explained by the forces, or ‘agents,’ at work in the present.  Nature does, on occasion, ‘change course,’ and at such moments, it is as if the ‘thread of operations’ has been broken.”   From the Sixth Extinction

I have come out of the weight of winter and into the garden of spring.  I am busy pruning and mowing and processing the unfolding studies of being confined to indoors.  But Of Course! On every dry day, I am on my bicycle, and even those days of perpetual misting, commuting to work and just venturing forth in discovery.

My most recent read has been a recommendation from THE DAILY SHOW –

THE SIXTH EXTINCTION: An Unnatural History ~Elizabeth Kolbert

This is a scientific tour of the previous 5 extinctions revealed as the author  visited sites that tell the story. The reader travels all over the world and reads the past lessons of the earth’s history.  The story is fascinating and I can see that even middle school students would get hooked on the entertaining stories of the adventure and the history.  Kolbert has a delightful sense of words, humor and stories that would intrigue every mind.  Trips to coral reefs, bat caves and museums of earthy knowledge told great stories about the earth and humankind’s search for understanding and meaning of the process.

The 6th extinction is about what Humans are bringing on and very rapidly.  It is told in solid scientific terms which we all can understand and identify with in our own lives.  It is a terrific read and I certainly think every architect and planner could benefit from the book and assist our communities in making necessary change.

On the heels of finishing the book, it has been revealed that our own City Planning Commission has been holding secret meetings with developers because they are the experts!!!!   What is this?

The Commission is disregarding the facts that our community does not want more automobile traffic, big box stores, and ignoring our plans for reduced pollution and better health.  We have done the studies and the vast majority of our populations want sustainable development.  Years ago we said NO to Walmart and we said developers should be part of the process but the public needs to be the main group.  Yep! SECRET MEETINGS and Developers are the experts – What money can buy…

The other news of March is that we already have a dangerous pipeline which is unregulated in our state – the Koch brother’s railroad system of pipelines for fossil fuels.  Buffet’s Railroad pipeline is up to par and people in surrounding communities are considered HUMANS – The Koch Industries railroad pipeline is just an accident waiting to happen full of sands tar oil from Canada, North Dakota, China and it travels through our downtown, our cities and through the Nation 2 times for processing and shipping.   It does not create jobs – just pollution, health hazards, and danger – and a ton of money for the brothers.

We cannot support this kind of development and would need to find ways to draw into the community even more retailers and traffic – This is the opposite of the plan and the voters decisions.

And on that NOTE, from (Facebook) and The UN climate Official’s findings:

“There is no doubt that we must stay within a finite, cumulative amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.  We have already used more than half of the budget.  This means that three quarters of the fossil fuel reserves need to stay IN the ground, and the fossil fuels we do use must be utilized sparingly and responsibly.”   Christine Figueres,  UNFCCC

“The time for experimentation and marginal change is over.”

Fascinating and Inspiring Reading
Our Solar Panels  
Thoughts about Coal Plants and Energy

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Tue, April 8 2014 » Reading » No Comments

Bike LogoTINY HOUSES Bring Lots of Attention To Our Efforts and Rededication of the Washington Center for The Performing Arts

What an exciting week to have MSGS’s work shared so far and wide.  Quixote Village is now complete and residents have moved into their TINY HOUSES and are quite happy with their new circumstances. We worked with the Methodist Church and all the folks who have been housing Camp Quixote for years and years.   The camp was a tent city which moved from church parking lot to church parking lot for too many years.  The residents are all working folks but have lost their homes.  The city and grant money were provided for building the structures and the residents were involved.  Lots of reduced fees for service and lots of gifted resources and hours!  It takes a whole village to create a whole village!

Garner Miller deserves a great deal of credit for this project.  And the Village has solar panels on the community building, which were a wonderful addition to the project.

Quixote Village

Quixote Village

 YES! Magazine did a story on our project and other TINY HOUSE projects which were succeeding.

Article in Yes! Magazine 
The NEW YORK TIMES newspaper sent out a reporter who took lots of pictures: NYT article
Bill Moyers Article
ABC’s Diane Sawyer did a story and interviewed Garner Miller the lead architect

We know the story has been shared on FACEBOOK with New Zealand readers/ Australian readers / and South African readers – this is very exciting.

Washington Center Invite

Washington Center Invite

To top off this exciting week of great news, we attended the Dedication of the Washington Center for The Performing Arts (pictures on site), a project remedying some building problems and concerns and getting a new facelift along with the remodel – That was on the front page of the OLYMPIAN

Some weeks are just like that – amazing highlights for sure.  WOW that was fun; let’s do it again!

Living Building Learning Challenge –Eco Districts
5 Questions: Garner Miller
5 Questions: Bill Sloane
MSGS on Facebook

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Wed, March 5 2014 » Inspiration » No Comments


solar-panelHere is the jealous part:

I have been researching solar farms and their functioning and the complaints and I wandered into an amazing collage of images about the German Solar Farms and the satisfaction the Germans are enjoying.  There was even a write up about a whole city which pays no power bills because all the public buildings such as schools, hospitals, and city hall produce enough power that the citizens pay nothing for home power usage.

There are no recorded complaints about the solar or wind farms in Germany, including no health related claims or complaints to be found.

We were hoping to have more wind, wave, and solar power in our vicinity and yes the local public library is fully up and running on solar, but we have a long way to go here and keep getting blocked by the Tea Party and the Coal and Oil folks and their greed.  Now the Germans are going to build the largest solar farm in the world in Georgia (USA) and make money off of Americans that way!

Can you feel my jealousy?

I think I need to drink some of my clean water and take a few deep breaths of my clean air.

I cannot have some of my wonderful deep water salmon to eat, because Monsanto has released too many of their “Frankenfish” into our coastal waters and the out to sea fish farms are full of sea fleas and chemicals they cannot filter or clean.  Just imagine what a coal or oil spill would do to our water and our food supply!

The excited part:

Then I got extremely excited when I discovered I was not alone in trying to find clean fish. Actually, I became extremely excited about sharing this TED talk of 18 minutes from Chef Dan Barber about his search to find clean, healthy fish for his dining pleasure.   He has very dry humor so I think you will enjoy this video very much.


Spain’s Sanctuary and Water Filter project is pretty amazing


Lots of related reading under the TOC tab at the top of the page   – such as: Glutton

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Thu, February 6 2014 » Inspiration » No Comments

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Fri, December 6 2013 » Discoveries » No Comments


Olympia Federal Exterior

Olympia Federal Exterior

November 8th  2013 we put on our best bib and tuck and went out to an open house  celebrating Olympia Federal Savings west side branch remodel.  It is not the first building we have worked with this amazing local bank, which continues to go GREENER AND GREENER and light up our community.

The bank has solar panels  and heat pump and also lots and lots of solar tube lights which means that the lights rarely need to be turned on – they offer up so much natural light to the floor space, halls, and bathrooms. The new conference room is simply a delightful meeting space and the break room really provides for employee needs.

DUCT SOX were used through the building and they are something new for this writer.  They are soft black fabric ducts which when inflated look like round cylinders and when not in use look like stunning valance covers for the computer generated blind system.  Extremely quiet and attractive.

You can see them around the tops of the windows in this picture.

Olympia Federal Interior

Olympia Federal Interior

We have always celebrated OLYMPIA FEDERAL SAVINGS AND LOAN and are proud of their integrity and huge community spirit.  The materials used in the remodel are from our local area.  The Contractors and workers are a part of our community.   The Musicians at the reception were outstanding violin students from our local schools.  Performances at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts are sponsored by our bank, as is our KIDS AT PLAY theater company and lots of local artists and businesses.

How honored we are to have such a fine community member and how honored we are that our architectural firm  was chosen to design our Greenest!

Building came in under budget and ahead of schedule.

Yes we raise our glasses high in a toast to this fine business enterprise.

Do you have a business which truly celebrates your community and is GREEN?

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Tue, November 12 2013 » Discoveries, Inspiration, Products » No Comments

Bike LogoKeith Smith’s Facebook Wisdom

cold-leafThere are moments in my life which are dull and grey or I feel envious of an others’ work or success, I believe everyone has these moments and they can rapidly fill up the pages of our thoughts and control our thinking.  I do not wish to get stuck in these moments or walk them into dis-satisfaction or inertia.  I often find doing something a bit out of the ordinary can spike the color right back into the rainbow of my activities and energies.

Architecture is often “feast or famine” work.  There have been lots of days of famine in the field for the last few years, I must go further out on the limb and reach for something NEW  to heighten my awareness and energies.

I purchased a new book about reinventing your business and this has been helpful.

I found these two posts on Facebook recently and they inspired me to stretch further – I thought they might stir your creative thinking a bit too as we enter Autumn’s turmoil and transitions?

August 2013

Sometimes it seems as though things come with great difficulty, as though I must fight every inch of the way and yet gain little ground. Then I realize how my attempt at controlling things and the expectations I create are perpetuating this reality. At other times, when I follow an impulse that comes from deep within, I catch a glimpse (each time a bit longer in duration as I grow) and see things unfold in magnificent ways and almost without effort. All of this serves to remind me of how limited our perspective can be.

September 2013

For as long as I can remember I have held the view that in order to achieve any worthwhile goal, I would have to work very hard. If I wanted to have enough free time and money so that I could do things I enjoy, then years of hard work and sacrifice would be a necessity. This deep-rooted belief has been part of how I have identified myself and how I wanted to be identified by others. I have now come to see that this is false, or perhaps backwards. Up until recent months I have lived like this: I must “have” this or that (money, time, job, or fill in the blank) so that I can do things that will help me “be” who I desire to be. What I have come to learn is quite the opposite. I must “be” first, then the “doing” and “having” will follow. There is work to be done, but it is inside of me.

If this makes sense to you, then maybe you’re in, or have been, in a similar place.

Keith on Facebook 
The Keith’s Blog and Music: Straight Up Living 

What do you do to stir your mind or activate the creative flow of your work?

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Wed, September 25 2013 » Discoveries, Inspiration » No Comments

Bike LogoLiving Building Learning Challenge: Eco Districts

River at SunsetMid July I was invited to a program on Eco – Districts and how the Living Building Challenge is progressing in our area of the country.  It was an extremely informative learning experience and it was a dynamic call to educate the people here at home.

The Two BIG takeaways of the evening:
#1 It is human structures which are going to end our dependence on fossil fuels.  NO GROUP OF PEOPLE LARGE ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE KNOWS THIS.  Architecture 2030 is trying to get the word out but we need more local people becoming knowledgeable to change codes and elect the kinds of officials who can understand the largeness scope and can actively use collaboration.

Local people need to understand and we need to demand that local developers are held to a 97% compliance to standards and provisions before they receive a building permit.  Local architects are the KEY to this and they need to be educating daily and have numbers in place for local folks to understand how many, many millions of dollars will be saved and made by these changes.  Where are the Local architects doing this – how to do this – crucial?  Are folks hearing the message? Are they numb?

#2 The United States and China are the worst offenders.  11 States in the USA do not even have significant energy codes.  Only 100 architectural firms in the USA have signed on to learn about Living Building Challenge and the Educational Structures involved in that challenge.  The financial crisis of 2008 and recently the small dip are the golden opportunity portals of GREEN work and Architects need to be a noisy gong and not work in old school systems and codes.  They must not acquiesce to the client any more.   This is a time for some of the most creative work and thinking available.   One needs to actively counterbalance competition and compromise with COLLABORATION (know how to understand it and use it)   It is the local people and the local architects which stand to benefit the most and make the most money as they liberate their community from toxins, to reduce high CO2 emissions, to keep their water clean and their citizen healthy.


There were 2 speakers presenting Eco- Districts information of projects under way in their cities Seattle and Portland.

Portland Sustainability Eco District project was presented by Clark Brockman of SERA

Mr. Brockman has 100% compliance with the business owners in the ROSE QUARTER DISTRICT of the City of Portland primary because the business owners can see how they will be making millions of dollars more from their properties and keeping water and air clean.  The beginning changes in the wealthy CONDO district by the river have begun saving money and are keeping the aquifer and river unpolluted.  With lots of education and proof in the numbers they are having celebrating their success at collaboration.  It was inspiring.

From Capitol Hill Housing, Joel Sisolak is the Ecodistrict Project Director in Seattle.

Mr. Sisolak was able to show pictures of the changes to the street and drainage systems on Capitol Hill and the numbers in finely tuned detail of the difference in project costs and ongoing savings.  Having 2 university campuses as a part of the Collaboration efforts has made a difference and already the dorm shower water is being used for the public gardens and toilet flushing.  The grey water system is already in use and now they are adding the PURPLE WATER systems, which I am not sure I understand well enough to write about them here.

One of the points  driven home to me by these presentations was that my community needs much more education on a person to person/project to project basis.  We now have the numbers and some very tangible results to use to teach from and we just need to get the program together and put the show on the road – before the next election.   Challenge the voters to think bigger and not be bought and sold a bill of goods by the fossil fuel fellows attempting to keep us ignorant and foolish.


I was greatly inspired by the pictures from Sweden and Germany and all the progress those countries have made and how much money some communities have saved.  One city in particular where all the public buildings (schools, courthouse, jail, hospital, etc.) produce all the power necessary to run the citizen’s homes was very inspiring.  The people buy their public buildings, solar panels, wind mills, and safe building supplies and in return they pay no utility bills at all.  The savings in CO2 emissions is profound.

Related Reading:
Taking On the Challenge
Net Zero Housing 
Thoughts about Coal Plants and Energy
When Women Were Birds (Patricias Wisdom)

Crucial ? at the top of the page.  And what do you want to say?

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Sun, August 18 2013 » Discoveries » No Comments

Bike LogoFavorite Rides: PT. Defiance 2013 Edition

Pt DefianceNear to the 4th of July celebration for a number of years now my bicycle riding buddies and I have done an 86 mile day ride to PT. Defiance on Puget Sound and nearby Tacoma, Washington.   There is a huge park at the Point and also the Zoo.  When we rode into the park this year, THE TASTE OF TACOMA fair was in progress.

John, Dave, Paul, Stephen and I, made the ride this year and we took all the back roads and enjoyed so many great views.  There are a couple of good hills that one must muster.  Even with growing up just 45 miles away, Dave had never been to Pt. Defiance before.  It was nice to see our journey with fresh eyes.

Stillicoom PubWe usually stop in Steilacoom near the ferry terminal to have lunch and we did just that this year also. I think we were having such a good time this added  90 minutes to our adventure.  Yummy food too for hungry riders!


On the actual 4th of July we are gathering for a BBQ with our families and that will be fun also.  We are going to take Yakima Organic Cherries to the festivities – Rainiers and Bings

Do you have a favorite ride or a traditional ride that you do with your team or family?  Do you think 86 miles is a good day’s ride?

STP 2013 is on the 13th of JULY – I am nearly ready to go.  Already done a couple 126 mile day rides.  I think I will do the STP 204 in about 13 hours – if we do not have blistering hot weather.  This is how I have celebrated my birthday for the past 14 years.

Related Reading:
Cycling the STP and Hiking the trails
STP Gear
Reentry – 5 Lessons Learned

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Wed, July 3 2013 » On the Road » No Comments