On November 3, 2016, Christine Peterson, Co-Founder of The Foresight Institute in Palo Alto, treated an audience of 200 economic and industry stakeholders to a peek at the technologies of nanotechnology, biotech and artificial intelligence that are already driving innovations in healthcare, national security, energy, sustainability and a host of other areas. Describing risks as well as benefits, she provided attendees the foundational knowledge of these transformational technologies to support wiser policy and utilization decisions.
Dan Parolek, Founder of Opticos Design, shared highlights of the firm’s “missing middle housing” concept and how “form-based coding” can address in-fill and density issues.
Missing middle housing is the type of livable housing accessible to those with more income than typical affordable housing residents, but not the income of those who can afford single family or executive homes on large lots. Denser than most single family residences, missing middle housing includes creatively-designed duplexes, quadraplexes, live/work units, courtyard multi-family units and other types of housing that can fit nicely into regular residential neighborhoods rather than multi-family zoned set aside parcels. Characterized by practicality, smaller footprints, accessibility to community amenities and fewer off-street parking spots, missing middle housing is now documented as in demand by both millennials and down-sizing baby boomers. It offers communities a creative alternative to unattractive, high density apartment buildings that are often placed out of walking distance to community centers, thereby isolating residents from community life.
EconAlliance vice president Joe Halsell of Halcell Builders emcee’d the event, with incoming Board president Steve Pepe, co-founder of Clos Pepe winery in Santa Rita Hills taking the reins of the organization from outgoing president Mike Kirkwood of Community West Bank.
Another highlight of the event was the awarding of the first “EconAlliance Innovation Award”, this year coordinated by Ben Oakley of ERG California. Recipient was Edmund Burke, founder and president of Space Information Laboratories (SIL), honored for development of GPS tracking technology related to spacecraft launch and recovery. Runners up included Raiza Giorgi, founder of the Santa Ynez Star, and Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center, a concept to re-purpose a rural Cuyama industrial center into an entrepreneurial hub and incubator. The Innovation Award was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Business Times.
The EconAlliance Future Forum is an event under the organization’s “IDEA” Initiative co-led by Ben Kiblinger of WebWise and Steve Burgess of Burgess Consulting. Burgess recruited the Future Forum speakers and Kiblinger served as one of the judges for the Innovation Award.
The 2016 EconAlliance Future Forum was sponsored by PG&E, Jerry & Alejandra Mahoney, Aera Energy, ERG California, Community West Bank, Clos Pepe, Plus Properties, the Santa Maria Railroad, the Santa Maria Inn, the Radisson Hotel and the Lompoc Valley Medical Center. Four North County mayors and numerous city council members, in addition to industry stakeholders, government officials, real estate professionals and technologists made up the diverse audience.