Bubil: Getting lost, and finding our direction


I've always prided myself on my innate sense of direction, memory of landmarks and my love of, and comfort with, maps.

But, admittedly, even I have resorted to Mapquest to find my way to this destination or that — like I don't know where I am after living here for 56 years.

Mapping and the global positioning system (GPS) are among the many wonders of the Internet.

But this convenience, says a noted architectural critic, is costing us something important: a sense of place.

People, especially young people, "need to get lost," said Alastair Gordon, speaking to the Gulf Coast chapter of the American Institute of Architects last month. Finding their way boosts their confidence and ability to solve problems.

"I am not a Luddite," he said, but the Internet has fostered "the loss of physicality, the loss of three-dimensional space.

"Civilization depends on spatial metaphors. When Google Earth took over Planet Earth, we got a lot, but we didn't really sit down in a town-hall meeting and discuss what we are losing."


In the Real Estate section on Saturday, columnist Lew Sichelman wrote about the trend to have information on for-sale houses' "green" features included on MLS listing sheets.

Albert Wooster of Sarasota is among the "green Realtors" who have been working to include "green" checkboxes on the local MLS. That was done in 2011. Now it is a matter of encouragement, he said.

"It is up to the individual Realtor" to fill in the boxes, he said. "The checkboxes are there for Realtors to use."

If your house has green features, such as solar power or tankless water heating, ask your Realtor if she knows how to input that information into the MLS, Wooster advised.

"If the agent is hesitant, or shows the slightest sign of befuddlement — the seller should find an agent with the NAR (National Association of Realtors) Green certification, or other green certification, who will know and care enough to put them in properly and completely.

"Being that this is a relationship business," said Wooster, "often sellers list their homes with someone who was referred to them, or the person who seems to sell a lot in their neighborhood, or the agent that sold them the home. That may not be the best thing to do, especially with green (homes), as less than 10 percent of agents have green designations.

"The likelihood is not strong that the referred agent, the neighborhood guru, or the last agent used, will know what green is, or how to market it. More agents need to get up to speed on this, and more sellers need to pick agents who are green-savvy."

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: June 7, 2014
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