The Growing Communities of 2015 Expand In 2016

January 6, 2016

Happy New Year!

There is no greater felt profit than sharing the experience of making and defining profit. Karmic and monetary profits collided in 2015. 2016 has continued with a increased interest in  investing in real estate, growing communities, and the Patch of Land-type focus on Doing Well While Doing Good. The Now-Housed-Homeless, Shaquille O'Neal's One Riverview development, and repurposing the ass of an underpass, continues to inspire growing communities. We have each other to lean on as our focus remains rebuilding. From human faces to living spaces, 2015 was a year to seek value in what we have, while not letting it limit what we desire. Whether veterans of war or veterans of life, neighborhoods became the size of countries and the wealth of heart became as valuable as the depth of pocket.

Doing Well While Doing Good In 2015 Inspires Many More Years of Growing Communities

Tiny House Huge Purpose Two

We started 2015 by introducing readers to the benefits of building for those without a recognized voice. Just when I thought nothing could surprise me, something else does. Remember Elvis Summers who built a tiny home for Smokey? After realizing she was homeless, Elvis built her a tiny home that provided basic shelter and a new leash on life for a very inspirational survivor. That was just the beginning. April 13th, 2015 marked the first day of a crowdfunding campaign designed to effect the lives of a few more people. In 9 months, over $100,000 has been crowdfunded and over 30 movable homes have been built. A person of incredible vision, and energy to match, set the pace for an inspired new year. I hope I didn't burst Summers' eardrum in excitement for the level to which he has raised this mobile real estate project. In our most recent phone call, he explained the new additions. Each home is now tall enough for people to stand in and includes a 10"x6" solar panel that can power two light bulbs and a computer or cellphone charger. Each tiny home costs approximately $1100. Elvis explained that while they could be built for less, the value of some accouterments that provide psychological lift outweighs the cost.

  • A custom key with the word "Home" etched on it.
  • Two Windows, each with an alarm.
  • A door with a peak-hole.
  • Warm pad and carpet
  • Smoke Detector
  • Painted exterior and trim

The most inspiring build is one that he plans to deliver at growing communities, community revitalizationthe end of this week: The Newlywed Home. A Vietnam Marine veteran and his partner had been struggling to survive for 15 years. The homeless couple couldn’t use homeless shelters or warming centers, because they won't accommodate a man and woman who aren't married. What is the first thing Elvis did? He helped them get married in the church who houses the recent ten-home public build. This week, a tiny home, with "Just Married" painted on the back will be delivered to the newlyweds. While Summers  files for 501c3 non-profit status, you can get involved: by donating at or by volunteering at

Abandoned Fraternity House Became A Renovated Life Force

We introduced the Pescadero Lofts in Southern California just weeks after the move in day. A year later, the residents have settled in, adopted blossoming lifestyles and are inspiring the broader community. Many residents were homeless for up to 30 years. Now, they have been connected to community-based resources that provide addiction counseling, mental health resources, independent living resources, legal aid and educatiogrowing communities, community revitalizationn services. What does this mean for the rest of us? Inspiration! Last Monday, as I held my usual post as salad-server, I was flanked on by college-aged volunteers cracking jokes with the hungry. They received the gift of gratitude from a population of survivors who smile through weathered mouths, and wave "Thank you" with frozen fingers. Two vastly different populations made common ground very obvious as they inspired each other to foster balance and unity. The rehabbed abandoned franternity house increased surrounding real estate values, and the cycle of investment in healthy human regard pays dividends. Light at the end of a year-long tunnel has come in the form of things that most residents never thought were possible:

  1. Family members reunited after years of loss.
  2. Significant medical and dental issues addressed; including cancer treatment.
  3. Legal issues resolved.
  4. Substance abuse recovery goals authentically engaged.
  5. Moving Beyond the "Here and Now" and paving the way to futures planned.
  6. Inspired communities across the nation will now create the same.

While the Pescadero Lofts volunteers pool experience with Elvis Summers' Starting Human reflect on Doing Well While Doing Good.

Shaq Attacks Community Revitalization Challenges And Remains Undeterred

Perseverance is a familiar mindset to Shaquille O’Neal. That is a good thing, as he and Boraie Development certainly needed it last year. The Riverview project that O’Neal hopes will be the epicenter of Newark’s Revitalization has experienced one delay after another. Since we reported the ground-breaking of Newark, NJ’s first skyscraper to be built in decades, one delay after another has been endured. Steady determination outweighs these challenges. Shaq and his  development team recently applied for permits, and the project is moving forward. The Newark population definitely recognizes what this development could mean to continued community revitalization. In November, 2015, the Municipal Council of Newark marked this faith as they voted to transfer $2million to Boraie Development to kickstart project. Let’s keep watch of this piece of real estate wonder, because it could shake up the revitalization of Shaq’s hometown in a manner that could ripple into progress nationwide.

Thinking Small Broadens Horizons

Opulence has been traded for prudence in business and in real estate. Large homes have been traded for smaller, more efficient homes. We have watched a concept become the micro-home craze~  Not just a resource to shelter the homeless, but also a middle class means to economize. As we purge the unimportant from our lives and give value to the essential, the trend of simplification has left an imprint on our architecture. Remember the mountain centered tree houses, garage-turned-mini-homes, and the transformation of historical abandoned buildings into efficiency lofts that drew residents out of their homes? This trend has led to healthier living drawn from nature, and in seeking social gifts as urban communities gather.

Chicago seemed to lead the drive of community revitalization in 2015, and the small space craze was not lost on the windy city. From Parklets to Podchitecture, living small inside led to the implementation of innovative meeting spaces outside. Crowdfunding real estate has created financial means that traditional lending may have limited in the past. A parking lot, turned park is the perfect example of a place where innovative thinking and innovative funding collide. It has only just begun.

Growing Communities Through Repurposing Forgotten Spaces

Boston began Phase 2 of Interstate 93 viaduct rehab to create a beautiful and functional cultural hub out of a most unlikely space. Individuals in the connecting communities are likely to feel a vested interest and get involved in the successful completion. We may see crowdfunding campaigns to finance portions of the renovation that government funding can't accommodate. When faced with the limits of available government funds, many of us forward thinkers are watching for crowdfunding campaigns to fill in the holes. Detroit's crowdfunded Green Alley project provided an example growing communities, community revitalizationof successfully combining government funds with crowdfinance. It raised the appeal and value of real estate. Unlimited innovation has even taken appeal beyond the curb as we have watched the outer walls of buildings become playgrounds for vertical greenspace. The sky really is the limit. But, even the sky will cease to be the limit if vision like the Eco-wise Hong Kong Concept Tower comes to life.

Read more: Wild, Simple and Empowering Greenspace

The most successful growing communities of 2015 are those powered by finance as innovative as the construction. Whether investing in financial or karmic gain, the most creative minds intertwine the two and bring them to life through crowdfunding growing communities.

Be Innovative in 2016. What project would you spearhead to inspire real estate crowdfunding to help growing communities?


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