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What I'm Doing These Days

Three to four years ago, I did a lot more writing of posts than I do now. These days I'm working on other digital forms of communication (takes time) as well as our old school hold-in-your-hands treasures called books, and in the midst of writing, photographing, editing, and laying out our next major book, Small Homes.

Once in a while I like to slip in a post as of the old days. Can we talk?

It's been raining like mad. Marin county reservoirs are spilling over. Shasta Lake, NorCal's big one, is at 81% now—a welcome relief after all the sad years of bare banks. Went out a few days ago with friends to see cascading waterfalls; power of our magic mountain. Toots: "Love the Rain": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u7YY-jQ0XU

Small Homes, Our Next Book
The book is growing daily. It's a lot like gardening. I am having a lot of back-and-forth emails with builder/contributors, often in search of large enough photo files. (What works on a monitor won't work in high-quality printing.) I'm over half-way through, doing layout with a 5-year-old Brother color copy machine, scissors and scotch tape before they go to Rick for InDesign/Photoshop precision, enhancement, and preparation for our printers in Hong Kong. You can see 17 sneak previews here: http://www.theshelterblog.com/?s=preview

Scotland Shelter Exhibition
There is a festival of architecture in Scotland now, sponsored by the Fife Contemporary Arts Center. It's called "Shelters," and features an entire room exhibiting our work, with photo and page blowups, and our building books on tables (below). It's open now at the Kircaldy Galleries (Kircaldy is about 12 miles north of Edinburgh, on the east coast of Scotland) and runs through June 5, 2016.

I'll be doing a slide show presentation on May 10th, at Kircaldy Galleries, titled "50 Years of Natural Building," chronicling our building books from Shelter in 1973 up to the present.

The Shelter Blog
We have finally increased the amount of original material on our blog (as opposed to mostly references to material already posted elsewhere). Check it out: http://www.theshelterblog.com/. Note: when you go looking for it, you need to type in the "the" to get the correct URL. If you type in "shelterblog," it will go to the wrong place.

Driftwood Shacks: Anonymous Architecture Along the California Coast

My first ever art exhibit; I'm pretty excited to be doing this. On display will be about 24 of my photos, shot on various northern California beaches over the last 15 years. At the Bolinas Museum, opening reception April 2, 2016, 3-5 PM, 38 Wharf Road, Bolinas, Calif

Healing Broken Bones (and Injuries)
(Of interest only to people with injuries.) My broken wrist (skateboarding) is maybe 80% healed (hmm, Shasta 81%, wrist 80%—all to the good!). I explored a lot of modalities, including comfrey (also called "knitbone"), calcium citrate, bone broth, prunes and bananas (yes!), marijuana patches and salves, stretching, and wrist braces. Info on my previous posts (including over 30 comments here: http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2015/12/did-i-say-i-was-going-to-give-up.html and I'll soon be doing a special post updating the methods for hastening healing. (I did a lot of research.)

45 Years of Publishing
I can't believe it. I'm 80, and have never been busier or more productive in my life—and in an extraordinary profession full of wonderful, intelligent people. I don't even mind all the email and business stuff, but I love shooting photos, doing layout, and especially having the chance to do an exhibit of my photos.

Vine-covered Building in Berkeley

Looks like a brewery. Also, wall appears to be glass blocks. Unique design, must be nice inside.

Fixer-upper in Berkeley

This is exactly the kind of building I'd be looking for if I wanted to live in a city (or town) these days. I'd first check to see that the foundation was solid, and there were no rotting floors to deal with.  (The roof looks pretty good, and the eaves do not seem to be sagging, which usually indicates the foundation is not disintegrating.) It would be exciting to fix a place like this up.

Six kid-stroller in Mill Valley, California this morning. The nanny was too shy to be in the photo.

Design Revolution in China

In the mail today from architect Peter Calthorpe:
"We have just had a major victory for sustainable urbanism in China. Over the last six years, Energy Foundation and ClimateWorks sponsored us and many others to test and advocate a set of design principles that were antithetical to common practice throughout China. When we started, isolated  superblocks were the norm, and few thought it could change. Now the central government has issued new standards that not only require open, mixed use and walkable communities, but actually attempt to open existing gated superblocks. With newly issued TOD guidelines and  standards issued by the State Council there is much more.

The new standards are a urban design revolution: they overturn the destructive Chinese model of superblocks, gated communities, and giant streets that has been eroding the livability OF their cities. They are perhaps the most important application of global best practices in smart growth to date: Urban Growth Boundaries, compact mixed-use development, walkable environments, infill development, bikeways, auto free streets, Transit Oriented Development, green buildings, and the preservation of history, culture, agriculture and natural ecologies in urban development. They have been testing these ideas for years, but now they are moving them to a scale that is unprecedented. See the following article for a summary:

Liuyun Xiaoqu is a livable community in Guangzhou. It’s not gated, but its public spaces are only open to pedestrians. It is a sustainable and vibrant example of what the new guidelines would support. Image: CC Huang.