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Real Estate Development

The ideal footprint concept can be used to calculate the optimum population density for any community. The basic footprint calculates to six people per acre(15 people per hectare). This figure is correct for a completely self-sufficient community, however not all communities will be the same. Some communities will create surpluses, and others will not be self-sufficient. Communities that are not self-sufficient must have higher population densities, because another community will require the land area to produce for them. Likewise, the more surplus a community supplies to non self-sufficient communities will decrease the population density. The one exception to this rule are communities that favor higher density so they have extra space for increased common areas or living space. Vertical development is the primary way to increase density beyond the basic footprint concept, because the footprint is based upon all structures being a single story. If a community has multiple stories for living and business space, then it will have additional land space for other uses.

The basic method of calculating density follows: Basic Single Story

1) 6 people per acre(15 people per hectare) for self-sufficient community. 7260 sq ft per person(653.4 sq m)

2) 9 people per acre(22.5 people per hectare) if a community produces all food but no durable/consumer goods, because 2500 sq ft(225 sq m) per person (durable/consumer   goods) must be subtracted from the 7260 sq ft(653.4 sq m) per person. 7260 sq ft(653.4 sq m) - 2500 sq ft(225 sq m) = 4760 sq ft(428 sq m) per person

3) 19 people per acre(47.5 people per hectare) if they do not produce food or durable/consumer goods. 7260 sq ft(653.4 sq m) - {2500 sq ft(225 sq m) - 2500 sq ft(225 sq m)} = 2260 sq ft(203.4 sq m) per person

4) 4.5 people per acre(11.25 people per hectare) if self- sufficient and provides food surplus for equal size community. 7260 sq ft(653.4 sq m)  2500 sq ft(225sq m) = 9760 sq ft(878.4 sq m) per person

5) 3.5 people per acre(8.75 people per hectare) if self-sufficient and provides food and durable/consumer surplus for equal size community.
7260 sq ft(653.4 sq m)    {2500 sq ft(225 sq m)  2500 sq ft(225 sq m)} = 12,260 sq ft(1103.4 sq m) per person

6) 1 person per acre(2.5 people per hectare) if self sufficient and provides food and durable/consumer surplus for a community 7.25 times larger than its own size.
7260 sq ft(653.4 sq m)  {2500 sq ft(225 sq m)  2500 sq ft(225 sq m)}7.25 = 43510 sq ft(3915.9 sq m) per person.

http:// www.usgbc.org




Land Use

The factor of land use can be expressed as an ideal ecological footprint per person in square feet or square meters. The measurement reflects how much space people need to support their lifestyle. The formula accommodates all the basic lifestyles, from rural to urban. The formula can sustain a very high standard of living. The Individual footprint is a portion of humanity's overall footprint.

This footprint was derived in part from what is necessary to support humans sustainably and secondly, from what the earth can handle. In other words, we use only what we need to live comfortably.
The method of determining this figure follows:
The total land mass of Earth equals approximately 36 Billion acres(14.4 Billion Hectares). Humans can only use approximately 4.175% of this total land space, because the rest must remain as biodiverse as possible to support all life functions on Earth. This also applies to other natural resources such as water, minerals, etc. This leaves 1.5 Billion acres(600 Million hectares) for human occupation and use. The total population of Earth will most likely stabilize at 9 Billion people. Therefore, the average population density is 6 people per acre.

The math:
36 billion acres(14.4 Billion Hectares) x .04175 = 1.5 Billion acres(600 Million Hectares) Humanity's Footprint
9 Billion people divided by 1.5 Billion acres(600 Million Hectares) = 6 People per acre(15 people per Hectare)
43560 sq ft(acre) divided by 6 People = 7260 sq ft per person
(10,000 meters sq=hectare divided by 15 people = 653.4 sq m per person)

Currently, Americans have the largest ecological footprint on the planet at 23 acres(9.2 Hectares) per person. Most industrial countries are following close behind this and currently no nation is sustainable. The American Standard is 138 times larger than it should be. 300 million Americans use about 6.9 Billion acres(2.76 Billion Hectares), an amount that is exhausting our reserves of natural resources and depleting our capacity to develop more.

 The 7260 sq ft(653.4 sq m) Footprint contains five basic parts:
1) Living Area equals 500 sq ft (45 sq m)
2) Integrated Food Production Area equals 2500 sq ft (225 sq m)
3) Open space/common areas equals 485 sq ft (43.65 sq m)
4) Economic/work sphere equals 145 sq ft (13 sq m)
5) Naturally Managed/ Harvest Areas equals 3630 sq ft (326.7 sq m)

The footprint equals this:
For every square foot of developed land, 23 square feet of land must remain natural and pristine. This calculates to four acres per person(174,240 sq ft).
Or 174,240 sq ft(total) - 7260 sq ft(Individual footprint) = 166,980 sq ft( natural and pristine)



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Green Home Conversions

Investing in green home conversions is a matter of increasing home value by tangible means such as improving energy efficiency, water efficiency and other green modifications that save money on bills and upkeep. This strategy is sound because the property and home can be valued on measurable factors rather than fickle market indicators.

If we examine the past real estate bust, then we find that before the bust people were buying and flipping properties for a profit without any real justification for the increase in value. A person would purchase a property and make a cosmetic improvement and then sell at an inflated price. Some people bought a property and simply held it a while and then sold it for a profit. All of that was bad business practices that lead to the current state of affairs, because the houses were rarely maintained. In fact, many homes were neglected, but still sold at a profit. After a while reality began to set in and the latecomers to this game bought homes in disrepair. The final result was financial meltdown.

On the bright side, we now know that real estate value must be tied to something more than just "location, location, location." Real value is determined by livability, comfort and sustainability. In short, is this home affordable and will in meet my basic needs and wants?

This should guide real estate investors to address what people really need in a home. First, a home should be safe and secure. It should be energy efficient to save on heating and cooling bills. Appliances and, sinks and bathrooms should save water to keep the water bill down. The home should be structurally sound and maintained to keep repair costs down.

A Green Home Conversion is a process to meet these guidelines:
1) Make improvements to passive solar design.
2) Reduce and eliminate unnecessary energy use.
3) Upgrade all lighting and appliances to energy efficient models.
4) Make improvements to building envelope, insulation and structure.
5) Install renewable energy system.
6) Install water saving fixtures and measures.
7) Upgrade landscape to xeriscape, natural, or edible landscapes.
8) Remodel, paint and make cosmetic improvements as needed.
9) Supply with natural, biodegradable cleaning products.

Ideal Properties will meet this criteria;
1) Existing passive solar design.
2) Already has native plantings.
3) Good overall condition.
4) Near public transportation.
5) In a walkable neighborhood.
6) Near a good school for people with children.
7) In a low crime area.

Ideal properties will take less investment to get them to a sustainable level. However, investors should also look at less than ideal properties because this is really the largest market and will provide many opportunities to make a profit.

The days of the unschooled real estate investor is over. New investors need to study the market more closely and make solid investments by actually taking the time to make the property valuable to renters and buyers.

Websites for more information:

By Nolan A. Cary

Nolan's Site:

Security and Real Estate Development

Security of real estate is important to protect people and property. Security should be addressed during the property design and development. A properly designed layout will make keeping it safe and secure easier. Most security problems result from poor layout design and poorly executed security measures and procedures. A poor layout will always make securing a property more difficult, regardless if the security team is good or not.

In general, layouts should be compact rather than sprawled out. Layouts should be easy to navigate and monitor. Locations from one point to another should be short and direct to keep response times down. Vehicle traffic should be limited rather than expansive, because crowd control is easier and less costly than traffic control.

Doors, gates, barriers, cameras and alarms must be integrated with physical security, because a security system is only as good as those who monitor it. In short, layout is paramount to overall long term security.

Founding Statement and Goals

Founding Statement

Gothic Green promotes the concept of sustainable real estate investing and development. It was founded on the inspiration from Gothic architecture which was an urban architecture. The Green was derived from green design. The combination of Gothic and Green creates a new approach to development which has roots in the past, yet uses advanced designing and technology. The original Gothic Green Urban Core plan combined vertical communities with compact horizontal development in a single architectural unit. That plan is the basis of Gothic Green.


1) To create a distinct brand of real estate development and urban planning.
2) To create a distinct brand of architecture.
3) To provide designs and guidance to real estate developers and investors.

By Nolan A. Cary

"Creating Green Investment Portfolios" by Nolan A. Cary: http://www.lulu.com/sustainabledesign

Nolan's Blogs and Journals:
http://greenbusiness.livejournal.com Business Journal
http://onecaravan.livejournal.com Political Journal
http://sustainableart.livejournal.com Art Journal
http://artistandcollectors.blogspot.com Art Blog
http://sustainablecentralflorida.blogspot.com Central Florida Blog

Conceptual Grid

The purpose of conceptual thinking is to simplify the complex and to explain it in a fashion everyone can understand. For this reason, urban planning can be based on grids and linear models with regular populations. This helps convey information that can be applied to many situations even though certain features of each site may be unique. It is left to the designer to adapt the conceptual model to real world environments.

This system is based upon a mixed use transportation system that contains trains, buses and small electric vehicles.
The basic unit of the grid is a community block which is composed of four quarter sections. The community block is 5 miles by 5 miles for a total of 25 square miles. This is equal to 16,000 acres. The population is 96,000 residents. This is a completely self sufficient community.
The community block has a junction station at each corner, as the boundary of the community block are rail lines that connect the stations. The community blocks are dissected into quarter sections by highways. Each quarter section contains 24,000 residents. 

Integated Food Production: Gothic Green

This is the Integrated Food Production area. It contains fish ponds, vegetable gardens and mixed fruit orchards. The IFPA is 25 acres(10 Hectares). These are community owned for the people who rent, lease or own part of Gothic Green.

Three Minute Walk Concept: Gothic Green

This is an illustration of the three minute walk concept. This standard is higher than the five minute radius concept of the Neo-Traditional Communities. Gothic Green is an urban core that is exclusively designed for pedestrians.

Building Plan: Gothic Green

This is the building plan. Gothic Green was inspired by Gothic architecture and its grand scale. Gothic architecture was originally designed as an urban architecture. This particular gothic piece is designed to maximize sustainable living. This is the reason it is called "Gothic Green."

A few design features:

1) On site renewable energy system.

2) Polybranched Water Management System.

3)State of the Art Energy Efficiency Standards.

4) Partial Food Production on site.

5) Roof Gardens.

6) On site conservation areas.