You know stuff is mainstream when it's in USA Today: Home design trends for 2011? Think small, green, urban
Tidbits and shoutouts:
"the continued growth of green building, which a November report by McGraw Hill Construction projects will double overall in size by 2015. On Jan. 1, California's CalGreen building code takes effect, mandating eco-friendly practices that were previously voluntary." (OK--so the link indicates that green/Urbanism is hardly new stuff for USA Today, but stubbornly I stand by my lede.)
"Here's another development that may be coming to a suburb near you: detached accessory units that share lot space with larger houses ... these stand-alone structures are coming in handy as granny flats for elderly parents, studios for home-based businesses, or rental units for homeowners wishing to supplement their income."
"Residential architects in the latest AIA home design trends survey report a growing interest in sustainable and cool roofing, tubular skylights that provide natural daylighting, and low-maintenance cladding materials such as fiber cement, stone, tile, and natural-earth plasters."
We have no fewer than five tubular skylights and absolutely love them! Our lights are rarely on during the day. And the granny flats are an excellent way to accommodate senior citizens who may not want their own space, but don't want to take over one of their grandkids' bedrooms either. It creates a more diverse housing stock, and helps increase density, which in the aggregate works against sprawl.
Other encouraging signs: Altering face of fast food
The Charleston, SC, Post and Courier reports about how increased city and town architecture/design oversight is leading to higher quality development. Example cited is a Bojangles franchise that includes stormwater remediation, native plant bioswales, and beautifications to a previously more unattractive building.