Rumination

“Climate change will increase the risks and hazards facing urban populations in numerous ways, from increasing heat waves to more intense rainfall to rising sea levels. For some of these risks, trees and other natural features can be a way to reduce the threat, in effect serving as part of the climate adaptation strategy of […]

Solve for X

“Life is an open book exam,” he said, “It’s not about memorizing formulas, but figuring out how to solve problems.” That approach worked well for me in college, although not all professors had the same attitude. Most engineering classes were tough, and slide rules complicated the precision of many answers, so partial credit was necessary. […]

Future Suburbs

All good solutions are beautiful. They have proportion, balance and harmony – all parts fit with one another, and the solutions fit rightly into the bigger picture. ~ Boast and Martin, Masters of Change If you’re doing transit-oriented development without adding transit, then what’s the point? ~ Peter Moskowitz My adult son groans when I […]

Water Balancing Act

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. ~ Roger Miller “If you want to understand hydrology, go stand in the woods in the rain,” he instructed. We looked at our environmental engineering professor as if he was crazy, but over the next few weeks, most of us tried it. Once I was […]

Community and Connectedness

At the same time that we’re solving for climate change, we’re going to be building cities for three billion people. That’s a doubling of the urban environment. ~Peter Calthorpe Nationalism seems to be sweeping the U.S. and Europe, but maybe it’s just a pushback against natural forces. I remember reading that R. Buckminster Fuller saw […]

Plastic (not so) Fantastic

I bent down and picked up a plastic six-pack ring from the ground, cut it apart with my pocket knife and tossed it into the back of the car. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Cutting it up,” I replied. “But why?” “Ever seen those photos of ducks or other birds caught up in one […]

Doom and Gloom

Some people walk in the rain; others just get wet. ~ Roger Miller It’s easy for me to get depressed these days. Heat waves and glacial melting present as dire warnings that climate change is here and not just some far-off threat that may plague future generations. National politics have become horribly malicious, and so […]

Home Garden

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” ~ Margaret Attwood My father’s garden was a small area about ten-foot by ten against the south side of the house that got intense sun early in the day, but was shaded in the afternoon. He didn’t start a garden until […]