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Cisco Sponsors LifeEdited.org: Bringing YOU $70,000 in cash, products and contracts for the best ideas

“What if we could save money, radically reduce our environmental impact, and have a freer, less complicated life?” This may sound like a theory to many but Graham Hill, founder of TreeHugger.com, is making this a reality and not by himself.

Graham believes “we need to have less stuff and live in smaller spaces” which is why he is renovating a 420sf apartment in New York City with the support of Mutopo and Jovoto as an open challenge to design an ultra low footprint space.

We are equipping Graham with a Cisco umi telepresence system to put into his 420sf apartment so that he can connect with his friends/family without having to use a car or airplane to ease congestion and reduce emissions that can contribute to climate change, air pollution, and disease.

LifeEdited.org and Cisco are inviting YOU to propose, discuss and evaluate designs to encourage people to start thinking about considering living in a smaller space.

The community, along with the Life Edited jury, including Cisco’s very own Mike Kisch, Director of Consumer Marketing, will choose the winning designs.

LifeEdited.org is awarding up to $70,000 in cash, products and contracts for the best ideas including Cisco ūmi telepresence systems, Cisco valet routers, Flip cameras and a Cisco WebEx annual subscription. Other prizes include $10,000 in cash, a Strida folding bike, and more!

Click here to submit, rate and review ideas!

Here’s the $50 Visa Gift card question of the week. Please comment with your name, email and in 50 words or less. Sweepstakes for this period starts from today until next Sunday, October 31st at 11:59PM PST. We will announce the winner next Monday, at 9:00AM PST with the next opportunity to win a $50 Visa Gift Card. For official rules, please click here.

QUESTION: If you could talk to Graham using Cisco ūmi telepresence, what is the one thing you would tell Graham that he ABSOLUTELY cannot live without in his 420 sq. ft apartment?

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62 Comments.


  1. I would tell him he absolutely could not live without a couch so he could have someplace to sleep! He can use the couch as seating when people come visit and then use it as his bed at night! He could sleep on the floor, but that wouldn’t be comfortable!

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  2. Having lived in a small studio like this, I would tell Graham that the one thing he actually could not live without is a decent microwave oven. Cooking food in a microwave oven is also more energy-efficient than using a conventional range – and a range is too big, anyway.

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  3. I would tell Graham that he CANNOT live without broadband access. Broadband provides the mechanism to stay connected, whether using umi or just checking the football scores. And God knows – we NEED our football scores!!!

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  4. Space certainly is a premium in such a small space. You need to do more with less, so I would recommend a convertible coffee table – one that is padded so it could be used as a seat, and hollow so it can be used for storage.

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  5. I’d say he cannot live without a trip to IKEA ;-). They actually have areas of the store set up with full apartments sized (I think) 350-800sq ft. Go vertical as much as possible, so that means flat screen TV (or something like an HP touchscreen PC/TV in one) on the wall, couch/futon, and items doing double duty as furniture and storage.

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  6. His firesafe aka Zombie Survival kit. You need to have a safe place secured for your life’s important documents and then essentials of survival. Get a rugged locking storage container and put the fire safe inside it. They have an assortment of colors and sizes at Target.

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  7. I’d tell him to line his walls and ceiling with the same material used as emergency firestorm shelters by firemen. It will be fantastic in keeping heat out during summer and in during winter. Just flip the direction of the shiny part!

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  8. I would tell Graham he absolutely can not live without A can opener. This way he can save electricity and not use a refrigerator. He can purchase can goods and eat his food that way.

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  9. I would tell him that he absolutely cannot live without Umi.

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  10. I would let Graham know that he must have a murphy bed. He will need to free up as much floor space as possible!

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  11. A decent hot shower to start the day fresh. Everything else falls into place.

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  12. E-reader. One like a kindle that doesn’t need to be back lit for day time reading. He could downsize his library by scanning all his books into useable format and then donate books to libraries and charities. Major news papers have digital distribution which allows for on the go news.

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  13. Graham will need a a nice wall-mounted LED TV, small foot print and energy efficient. A surround sound speaker bar would be a great compliment too, while saving space. Who says Green living can’t be fun too?

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  14. I would tell Graham that he simply cannot live without indoor plumbing. We all need a place to shower and use the restroom.

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  15. Graham will need a nice wall-mounted LED TV – small foot print and energy efficient. A surround sound speaker bar would be a great compliment too, while saving space. It also makes a great platform to use with Cisco UMI. Who says Green living can’t be fun too?

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  16. If Graham is like me, he will be on his Cisco Umi night and day, so he will be needing his rest. I would tell him he can’t live without a convertible sofa which converts to either a regular bed or the style that converts to bunk beds.

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  17. A computer, because it can double as your tv, and your work station. Just go for a small one to save room for everything else!

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  18. I would tell Graham that he could not live without a drop leaf table and fold up chairs for eating, studying and for when company comes over.

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  19. I think a murphy bed would be great because it’s comfortable but out of sight when visitors are over. I think that whatever is used for a bed has to do double duty. A chair that pulls out into a twin bed or small loveseat with a hideaway bed.

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  20. I would tell him he couldn’t live without a Roomba vacuum!! (Easy to store without much space!)

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  21. While technology can help simplify and reduce our possessions, I believe Graham cannot live without something organic in his environment. I would recommend a window garden to grow fresh vegetables. Plants soften the space and clean the air.Here is a fabulous link to window farming project in the urban environment:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125504307

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  22. A washer and dryer. Schleping dirty clothes to the laundry mat and digging up quarters from somewhere is a hassle. I think a washer/dryer combo or even a stackable washer/dryer would be really nice.

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  23. I would tell him he can’t live without a bike. He’s gotta leave the house sometime. Might as well get around as “greenly” as possible.

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  24. Oh come on, of course it would be the majestic blackberry smartphone. Life without it feels less life-ish.

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  25. I would say that Graham can’t live without ceiling fans, they cool in the summer.Reverse the blade direction when the weather gets cooler to circulate the warm air that rises to the ceiling.

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  26. French Press… Doesnt take much room, great for coffee and tea. Boil water with that great microwave and brew up a cuppajoe. Great for sipping while in a philosophical discussion with that person on the other side of the umi. No waste, less expensive than Fourbucks coffee, and very tasty.

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  27. I would recommend Kindle, since he cannot really have books in such a tiny space.

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  28. I would recommend a microwave! Can’t live without it!

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  29. I would say make sure he had a all in one phone internet cam all in one space is a issue tweeting @waterbluffy at twitter party right now @theonlinemom

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  30. I would tell him he couldn’t live without a stainless steel water bottle.

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  31. Graham you absolutely cannot live without multi-function furniture like the Inova Table Bed! You can easily go from a bed to a dining table or work area. It is freestanding, can be moved and even used as a divider.

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  32. It sounds to me like he could live without just about everything. I would suggest that he definitely have an emergency kit and a cell phone.

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  33. Graham

    1) Working Toilet – because it could get awfully smelly in a 450 sf apt w/out that

    2) Sanity – so keep the mind working with great thoughts!

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  34. I like this – a commendable project indeed. Lots of great suggestions about what he cannot live without, but anything he currently has and decides he no longer needs, please choose dispose of it with care.

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  35. Keep an emergency radio at least =)

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  36. 420 sq. ft. eh? My first recommendation would be a lush green plant to add “life force”. Also, a large mirror to make the place feel more spacious…

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  37. Air freshner, otherwise the whole house including the kitchen might stink of food and other stuff.

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  38. electricity and multi outlet power strip

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  39. mainly key is needed for security of the appartment and then peace in family

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  40. I’ve read all about these material things but if GREEN is the goal shouldn’t there be some pennance to a higher power. As man is definitely not the ultimate and creator. So I say Graham you can not live without faith.

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  41. Graham will need laptop and microwave (electricity, money and internet connection implied). For delivery of everything the spirit + the body need.
    If Cisco can provide love too..
    http://www.vjaraonderim.eu

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  42. The attitude of being satisfied with small things and put them best to the best possible and utmost use.

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  43. The attitude of being satisfied with small things and put them to the best possible and utmost use.

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  44. he would need to following; 1)a beer dispenser for when the mates /family are around – 1a)right next to the sofa for ease, 420sq ft is far too big to get up and go to the fridge!
    2)umi compatible device for PS3 so that when your wanting to play and umi – it can do it all at once (or 2 screens, maybe perhaps split screen) or “on-hold” job.
    why have one tv when your stuck on umi. this is the picture – ur sat on your sofa, talking to a mate on umi – he says- i dont need to be right back, got the beer next to me. what about food, if takeaways had umi, he could call up pizza express or dominos or what ever talk to the person face to face, even inspect his food to make sure its done properly…lol (quality control or what!)

    and it just occurred to me, he needs an umi-robot like the toyota robot…

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  45. I would tell him he cannot live without a microwave! It can be used to cook his food,warm it up,reheat leftovers,or pop popcorn! An big stove wouldnt be neccessary with a good quality microwave oven!

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  46. I would tell Graham he absolutely can not live without a coffee pot. Tweeting @indybaby57

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  47. Graham can’t live without a window herb garden, fresh parsley and basil are essential for good eating!

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  48. He absolutely cannot live without a broom. It’s an easy way to clean the space, had a low carbon footprint, work with no electricity, help you stand-up and exercise and can also be decorative.

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  49. I would tell Graham that everything starts with a good morning breakfast.

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  50. I am quite amused with all the suggestions here coming from the readers. So instead of thinking of an answer, in the spirit of ecological awareness, I decide not to contribute anything at all except just this comment in itself.

    Someday people will realize to really live in complete harmony with nature. May that day be coming soon.

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  51. One day we will be living in a mole just to save space. We do not need to conserve space. Nature loves space

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  52. I would like to see a list of things he will compromise in his new house just to save space

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  53. I would tell him he couldn’t live without a wife.

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  54. I would tell him that he absolutely cannot live without Umi.

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  55. I think you now have a need to safe place secured for your life’s important documents and then essentials of survival….

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  56. I would tell Graham that he absolutely cannot live without a good friend or a loved family member. Is more important than anything else in life, in my opinion.

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  57. i’d tell Graham that he wouldnt be able to live without a toilet lol

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  58. Futon beds are always great in this situation, they can be used to sit on and when you need a place to sleep, PRESTO!

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  59. I would tell Graham that I cannot live without broadband Internet access. Broadband provides the mechanism to stay connected with my job and my friends all over the world.

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  60. hi..
    thanks for info n give me idea..

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  61. When I try to subscribe to this particular RSS feed it just gives me a bunch of rubble, is the issue on my side?

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