Category Archives for "Design"

Oct 03

ROI Group welcomes Jonathan Westeinde, Ralph Shaw and Toon Dreessen as special guests

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Entrepreneurship , Green for Real , Ideas , PB4L , Real Estate , Urban Economics

The ROI Group was formed to create a forum for interested parties to get together online (and occasionally in the real world too) to speak to issues surrounding the creation of vibrant communities that are sustainable in every way. The idea is to find new, innovative ways to meet multiple “bottom lines” including how to: […]

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Oct 03

How to get free labor to build your next home

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Business Models , Design , Entrepreneurship , Finance , Green for Real , Ideas , Investing , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

[Negative Cost Labor (And Low-Cost Finance)] Sometimes, you can turn a cost into a negative cost. A former architecture student of mine, Dominique Tonetti and her husband, Frank Dutton, are managing to do that on their new project, Solisterra in Québec. Dominique and Frank are building wonderful straw bale structures on a 150-acre property they […]

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Oct 02

Longyards grand opening

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Business Models , Design , Entrepreneurship , Investing , PB4L , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

While it is a long march from humble beginnings to a continent-spanning business operation, if anyone can do it, it’s my friend and coaching client, Chris Long, pictured here with his oldest daughter, Lily, at the grand opening of Longyards at 6571 Bank street in Ottawa Canada on October 1st, 2019. Chris is a trained […]

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Sep 21

Potential policies and strategic directions for the city of Ottawa

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Entrepreneurship , Finance , Ideas , Real Estate , Urban Economics

[This is the third in a 3-part series written for Ottawa Business Journal by OBJ columnist, Bruce M Firestone, PhD, who is working with the city of Ottawa to develop a new OP, official plan, one that is suited to 21st century conditions—both economic, sociological and environmental.] Introduction If you were the ultimate authority in […]

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Aug 10

Land development: merchandising and marketing

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Design , Entrepreneurship , Ideas , Real Estate , Sales & Marketing , Urban Economics

Many real estate developers forget about branding and merchandising. Imagine if you went to a high-end dress shop or a place to buy an expensive suit and they had fabulous clothing but no racks–you had to pick up that dress or suit up from the floor and shake off the dust? Yuck. So, when buying […]

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Jul 31

On the plus side of a tornado attack: multi level basements

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Ideas , Investing , Real Estate , Urban Economics

On the plus side of getting whacked by a tornado in September 2018 is knowing soil conditions in our neighborhood, Arlington Woods. It’s sand all the way down–a great foundation material–it’ll support residential structure no problem at all plus the drainage is fantastic. Here’s our neighbor’s home. Her house was destroyed by the tornado attack. […]

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Jul 23

Specific opportunities and challenges facing Ottawa in a global context

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Entrepreneurship , Finance , Ideas , Investing , Real Estate , Urban Economics

[This is the second in a 3-part series written for Ottawa Business Journal by OBJ columnist, Bruce M Firestone, PhD, who is working with the city of Ottawa to develop a new OP, official plan, one that is suited to 21st century conditions—both economic, sociological and environmental. An edited version of this article appears at, […]

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Jul 15

Nothing can go wrong in the construction industry, right?

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Design , Finance , Investing , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

A client of mine asked me today about helping him sort through a very complex contract to fit up his new swim school. Obviously, the construction industry is perfect, right? Wrong. Here’s what I wrote him: This is scary for everyone. The four major things that can often go wrong in this biz are: 1. […]

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Jun 15

Dollars are democrats

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Models , Design , Entrepreneurship , Finance , Ideas , Investing , Real Estate , Urban Economics

Here’s an excerpt from Jenna’s Story, a learning outcome novel I wrote. It’s set in the future; the story revolves around Jenna McConnell, a young revolutionary and Tom Hatch, a business owner and wealthy person. Tom is in love with Jenna, but she views him alternately with suspicion and affection. Jenna speaks with a deep […]

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Jun 15

Planning at Macro and Micro Scales

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Ideas , Investing , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Sales & Marketing , Sports & Entertainment , Urban Economics

I have long believed that the best urban condition is one that arises from multiple ownership of land, each of them doing their own thing in a kind of organic growth mode. In other words, the best towns, villages and cities in my view evolve with little in the way of interference from a modern […]

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