The Opportunity of The Retail Apocalypse

“They paved paradise And put up a parking lot Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘Till it’s gone” ~ Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi It was basically a 50’s strip mall that occupied two sides of a square block, with room for plenty of parking in the middle […]

Plant A Tree, Save A Tree

“Love your neighbor, yet don’t pull down your hedge.” ~ Benjamin Franklin We first noticed when most of the big trees were gone. The old mobile home park had been located among some really giant old cottonwoods that provided shade, but undoubtedly created a hazard for the occupants in the flimsy structures below. Nonetheless, they […]

Water on the Brain

The creek that runs a block from my house is bordered by open space, parks and trails. It makes for a nice transition into our old neighborhood with its large trees and established landscaping. It also makes the neighborhood feel more relaxed — casual and friendly. We’ve known that the presence of vegetation in nearly […]

Be Green, Not Mean

“What’s in a fence? More than you’d think. In neighborhoods where as little as about $1,000 was spent transforming a vacant lot with some grass, a few trees, and a short wooden fence, people felt less depressed and less worthless.” ~ Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan In contrast to the suburbs or ex-burbs, urban areas are often relatively […]

Guerilla Tactics

Those who hear not the music think the dancers mad. — Unknown “There he goes again,” my neighbor sighed grumpily, pointing to the older guy wandering our street with pruning shears. “Come on,” I replied, “he’s harmless.” “But I may not want my trees trimmed,” he grumped and went inside. Once again my weird old […]

Old Urbanism

“New Urbanism is an urban design movement which promotes environmentally friendly habits by creating walkable neighborhoods containing a wide range of housing and job types.” – Wikipedia New Urbanism is one of our primary tools against sprawl. Greater density, alternative transportation, layered development, increased diversity — all contribute to a more efficient community. I had […]

Life on the Edge

No matter how refined we may think ourselves, at some level we are all still wild creatures, made up of the same materials as the mountains, the deserts, the oceans, the distant stars. ~ Gary Kamiya There’s a war going on in my yard. Clover, dandelions and violets run rampant in the lawn, overgrowing the […]

Over-ground

Obviously, I do rockets, so I like things that fly. This is not some inherent bias against flying things, but there is a challenge with flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy, the wind force generated will be very high. Let’s just say that if something’s flying over your head, a whole bunch of […]

The Plot Thickens

“So whether it’s redeveloping dying malls or re-inhabiting dead big-box stores or reconstructing wetlands out of parking lots, I think the fact is the growing number of empty and under-performing, especially retail, sites throughout suburbia gives us actually a tremendous opportunity to take our least-sustainable landscapes right now and convert them into more sustainable places.” […]