Cathy Simon has seen the attitude of architecture clients warm toward sustainable design in the last fifteen years. No longer seen as a part of the Great Left Coast Agenda, sustainable design today is often judged more on the basis of its cost than on its value to the planet. Says Cathy: green design still DOES cost more—but “less and less more” as materials and construction techniques have evolved. In talking to The Real Story last week, she expressed the opinion that people need to consider the life cycle cost of sustainable design, and not just the initial investment.
Her firm, Perkins + Will, has on its web site the statement: “Although our design may address many people, many places and many cultures, our work speaks to one human being at a time.” Cathy will be talking this week about waterfront design, in San Francisco and around the world.
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Last September, Lisa Marquis Jackson from John Burns Consulting, told The Real Story that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would be reporting a shortfall in its cash reserves. This morning, the New York Times supported Lisa’s contention, reporting that an audit “showed reserves to be 0.53 percent of the total portfolio, far below the 2 percent minimum mandated by Congress and far less than the audit last year had forecast. In 2007, just before housing prices began their worst slump in decades, the reserves were above 6 percent.”
Borrowers drawn to low down payment requirements – 3.5%, as compared to the traditional 20% down payment programs—quadrupled the agency’s mortgages in the last year to $360 billion.