3 Tips for Finding Land for Development

If you are investor, finding a parcel of land to develop is a tiring task. It is time-consuming. It is also very challenging in terms of having to compete with other investors who might have also found the same piece of land for their concepts. Here are some tips to at least make your task a bit easier.

  • Work or deal with high street estate agents

A lot of developments are managed by high street estate agents in behalf of the firms they work for. If you want your development or your concept be in their portfolio for selling, you have to deal with them. Your business proposition should always be ready for presentation. If you have ongoing constructions, you can take them to your site. Be very idealistic and vocal with the plans that will shape up your development. What they will hear from you or see in your presentations will influence their decisions. Be extra competitive because some of them might already have steady contacts with other firms.

  • Make use of satellite imageries generated by well-known applications.

Technology is indeed here to make things easier for many people. It includes you. Yes, you can use applications that generate satellite images of streets. Through this, you can easily find gaps in streets and empty spaces or where some small houses are built beside some vast greens. You can then track these places or at least look for some landmarks. Conduct an ocular at the place afterwards. Look for people whom you can talk to regarding the land. If there are no available persons to talk, the local government is your reliable source of information.

  • Consult local planning divisions of towns or cities you are interested to build your development.

Maximize your time while you are in the city or town hall. Go to the planning division. Ask information on some brown lands or even green lands which are open for planning and development. Remember that once applications are submitted, they become public record. This means you can look at these documents and see for yourself if there are still room for further developments. If not on the same parcel of land, on the adjacent piece perhaps.

Finding a piece of land in which you can establish buildings, townships or even self-build your home can be very exhausting. If at some point, you come to realize you need the help of your local real estate agent, remember that he or she is just a call away!

What Are Characteristics of Sustainable Communities?

Environmental conservation has become an important way of life for an increasing segment of the population. Some people are committing themselves to green living to the extent that they are choosing to live in sustainable communities. These populaces come together with a common goal of living in a way that focuses on environmental, economic, and social health and resilience.

The Mindset

Economic growth and development is imperative for ongoing human wellbeing. However, if this development causes harm to natural resources by polluting water, air, and soil; destroying forests; flooding landfills with garbage; and producing toxic waste, the net result ends up being negative instead of positive. The premise of sustainable communities is finding a way to improve quality of life with economic development, while preserving the environment. Neighborhoods embracing sustainability are pursuing alternative options for economic development that do not produce harmful side effects such as air pollution, urban sprawl, congestion, and full landfills.

Strategies for Achieving Sustainable Economic Development

Use Local Resources Carefully – Every community has local resources that are available for use. When a neighborhood explores its local resources and then commits itself to meeting the needs of its residents with these commodities, everyone benefits. This internal resourcefulness creates jobs, boosts the economy, and reduces negative impacts. A community that works together to meet these basic needs internally usually thrives.

Creating an Efficient Infrastructure – Urban sprawl and inefficient city design have a negative impact on the environment. A city without careful planning requires its residents to rely heavily on their individual vehicles for transportation. An environmentally conscious alternative involves careful planning of neighborhood design so that people can reach work, school, and shopping more easily. The availability of public transportation is an integral component of sustainable communities.

Pursuing Energy Efficiency – When everyone in a neighborhood works together to conserve energy, big results usually happen. Businesses and households that focus on waste reduction, pollution prevention, and recycling can work together for the good of everyone. These types of neighborhoods usually experience a reduction in various kinds of damage such as air pollution and misuse of land.

Prioritize Quality of Life – Many people are becoming more aware of the importance of pursuing quality of life in their daily lifestyles. When a community prioritizes this type of lifestyle in its design, residents are generally happier. Creating an attractive neighborhood with clean water and air, open green spaces, and access to natural areas is a positive strategy for benefitting both humans and the environment.

Creation of Jobs – Pursuing environmental consciousness often creates new jobs. Job creation in the areas of environmental technology, waste reduction, pollution prevention, and recycling will often help to create a booming economy in a community.

Realistically, achieving sustainability is a process. A neighborhood will not attain this status overnight, but it is possible to work toward it by making important improvements. For success, sustainable communities must adopt a long-term perspective by adjusting focus to both today and tomorrow. This type of perspective will help ensure that current and future resident needs are met.

Organic Architecture

What is Organic Architecture?

The term “Organic Architecture” was invented by the great architect, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). An architecture idea which promotes harmony between man-made structure and the nature around, through design approach so well integrated that the buildings and surroundings become part of a unified & interrelated composition


Organic architecture not only addresses environmental concerns but also expresses individuality. As each building is related to the variables like man, site & time so every resulting structure is unique & unrepeatable.

Origin & Inspiration

Primitive vernacular architecture was innately organic, based on natural forms, structures and simple, local materials. The rectilinear, perpendicular form of architecture that came to dominate the 20th century was the reflection of an industrially driven age. However In the new millennium the designers are awakening to a new world inspired by the creative forces of nature and biological organisms.

It was in the USA that organic architecture began its great modern journey when Architect Louis Sullivan described his famous proverb that form follows function–a key concept for organic design. Frank Lloyd Wright would often choose sites close to woods, rock formations, or even waterfalls and his buildings would become part of nature. For Antoni Gaudí, Spanish architect the straight line belonged to men and the curved line to God.


– The design approach is inspired by nature & the built form grows out of the site, emerging like an organism from the seed of the nature.

– It is visually poetic, radical in design, multifaceted & surprising, distinctive but flexible & environmentally conscious.

– Organic architecture is said to be the mother of all architecture- sustainable or bio architecture, alternative architecture or any other.

Some examples of this movement are: Kaufman Residence ‘Falling Water’ (Pennsylvania), Sydney Opera House (Sydney), Casa Mila (Barcelona), Lotus Temple (New Delhi).


– A respect for natural materials (wood should look like wood)

– Blend into the surroundings (a house should look part of the hill, not perched on it)

– An honest expression of the function of the building (don’t make a bank look like a Greek temple).

Exploring Organic Architecture

New age, architects have taken the concept of organic design to new heights by employing newer materials & technology in the application of natural shapes, rhythm & composition to their buildings. The re-emergence of organic design represents a new freedom of thought. This is affecting most fields of design- products, furniture, lighting, textile design, architecture, landscape and interior design. More liberated and imaginative forms, unacceptable to major corporate clients a few years ago, are now being encouraged & accepted.


Rectilinear buildings are not ideal “green” buildings if they work against the dynamics of fluids, heat, light, sound, and force. The buildings need to work with nature and allow optimum shapes and forms to be developed that are more efficient, economic, and appropriate to local climate and environmental conditions. With continuous expansion of cities, there is a growing lack of interaction between, man & nature. Organic structures with free flowing & curvilinear organic forms inspired by nature can fill in this void enhancing the city spaces aesthetically, spiritually & with the spirit of pursuit & marvel.


Organic or sustainable architecture is evolving fast, but there is a risk of it becoming a superficial statement engrossed in high-tech science and technology & organic forms being superimposed from the outside rather than evolving like life from within. We need to learn to use natural forms & materials from observing living forms & creatures which are the very forms of life and growth that inspires organic architecture.

A Sustainable Life With a Profit

TIM Adams and Pip Watt live in a sustainably built, energy efficient house that is warm in winter, cool in summer and has no bills all year round.

Tim designed their 7-star energy rated home on about 7 hectares (about 17 acres) at Gherang near Geelong in the south eastern part of Australia in the state of Victoria. The home is fitted with alternative energy systems plus various heating and cooling techniques to make the building carbon neutral and comfortable.

Tim is the current president of the Victorian Building Designers Association who also runs a sustainable home design business, F2 Design, to produce high performance energy efficient houses. Tim is also an accredited thermal performance assessor for the organisation.

He became interested in energy efficiency and sustainable building design after the 1975 world oil shock.

Tim and Pip have designed a home that has its own power, domestic water and waste water treatment systems.

The house has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and north facing open plan living areas with glazed walls to allow maximum natural light on the floor slab to capitalise on available solar heat.

There are no eaves on Tim and Pip’s home.

Tim said the use of eaves needed careful consideration as deep fixed eaves can hinder passive thermal effects if not used intelligently.

The day I visited outside it was around 13 Celsius (about 55 farenheit) while inside the house it was a steady 19.5 C (67 F) and the only footwear needed was socks.

Once Tim and Pip chose to install a solar power grid feed system they carefully calculated their annual electricity use and came up with an average daily consumption figure of 9.25 kilowatt hours.

They reasoned that a three kilowatt photovoltaic solar power grid feed system would capture enough sunlight to cope with their usage and produce an excess to sell back into the grid.

The house has a photovoltaic solar power electricity system that consists of a three kilowatt inverter with 18 solar panels of 180 watts each.

Tim said when they installed their solar power system there was a state government 66 cents per kilowatt hour feed-in tariff for alternative power systems so he arranged a 15 year contract on this rate with his power supply company.

“The first three-month electricity bill with the smart meter in place delivered a $205 credit, even though the average daily sunshine last summer (2010) was 1.5 hours below average,” Tim said.

The Adams have a normal array of household appliances that includes a kettle, toaster, microwave, espresso coffee maker, oven, an induction cooktop, full size dishwasher, fridge, front load washing machine and assorted entertainment equipment.

The roof’s wide V-shape design is an important part of the home’s solar power system.

The most northerly facing of the two sections of the roof is angled to position the solar panels for maximum exposure to the sun’s daily passage.

The thought behind the roof design is worth further examination as being inverted means people are protected from serious injury as any fall means a slip into the roof’s long box gutter, not on to the ground 4 metres below.

Tim designed the roof’s single box gutter so it was wide and deep enough to efficiently gather the rainwater needed for domestic use.

Cleaning it is also easier than a conventional gutter as it is wide (Tim calls it his lap pool) and can be easily swept and debris quickly removed.

Tim and Pip have plenty of roof space from three buildings that act as the catchment for their 120,000 litre (26,374 gallon) capacity rainwater tanks.

Warm water for a floor slab heating system comes from 60 solar evacuated tubes mounted on the roof plus back-up from an Italian combustion boiler with a high efficiency heat exchanger.

To allow the internal temperature to be controlled the house faces north and there is no under slab insulation.

Laying the concrete floor slab directly on to earth allows the choice of a cooler slab on hotter days.

To encourage further cooling in warm seasons the house incorporates cross ventilation design principles and employs other devices, such as temperature controlled switches on windows, ceiling fans and an evaporative water feature designed to channel cool air inside.

The home is a 7-star energy rated building due to only the southern side being fitted with double glazed windows.

There is insulation in the walls and ceiling with standard R3.5 rated insulation batts used (R rating in this case means about 160mm (6 inch thick) batts.

The house is essentially a square-shape building with rendered brick main support walls and picture windows otherwise clad with plantation native timber weatherboards.

The yellow stringybark weatherboards that clad the house were produced with innovative radial cut processing and sustainable growing methods to reduce environmental impacts and waste.

Tim explained that the most expensive outlay they had to build their home was for a worm-based black-water treatment sewage system.

This cost $10,000 Aus. to install and has an annual $300 service fee but they calculated this expense would be offset against the savings they make by owning their own power and water systems.

Tim said he had long wanted to build a sustainable design home to prove his design principles but also to show how cost effective it was to build such a house.

“I wanted to be able to build a new house and actually put my money where my mouth is,” Tim said.

“I did this (design) to use as an example.

“You can do this sort of thing (build a sustainable house) without spending a lot of money.”