Innovative Approaches to Big Challenges

There were three articles that grabbed my attention this week that I wanted to share and which will hopefully be of interest.

What if Central Park was an Urban Farm

The idea is based on the historic presence of Seneca Village in part of what is now Central Park in Manhattan.  In 1850 Seneca Village had about 225 residents, the majority of whom were Black, and it was a thriving community outside of New York City.  Eventually, the area and land was subsumed into what became Central Park through the use of eminent domain.  Amber Tamm, an experienced Urban Farmer, wants to convert 14 acres of the 55 acre Great Lawn into a community farm to serve under-resourced Manhattanites and call it Seneca Village Farm.  Food availability in Manhattan differs vastly by neighborhood, with some areas primarily serviced by corner store type operations that offer very limited quantities of fresh food.  Her conversations with the New York City Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy are ongoing, but many obstacles still remain to overcome.  You can learn more by reading the full article here.  The idea of creating more self-sustaining communities from a food perspective, especially in very urban environments is definitely something worth exploring.

3D Printed Backyard Homes

Mighty Buildings, an Oakland, California startup has developed the technology to print the entire shell of a tiny house in 24 hours with their 20 foot high printer.  The company’s process automates up to 80% of the construction, and that greater amount of automation reduces the cost of the house by 45% versus the average house cost in California.  To facilitate the construction process they developed a synthetic, lightweight stone like material that works with the 3D printer and allows for construction of the entire shell of the home.  The homes are energy-efficient by design and the company continues to innovate to improve that efficiency and deliver further sustainability features.  Currently the company is offering homes that range from a 350 square foot studio to a full 3 Bedroom/2 Bathroom house.  You can learn more by reading the full article here.  The ability to deliver lower cost housing is going to be essential as we move forward through these uncertain economic times.  Throw in that the process can be more sustainable and energy efficient and you start chipping away at more than one challenge we are facing moving forward.

Amazon Audible Feeds People

Audible has been headquartered in Newark, NJ since 2007 and has worked to really integrate itself into the community.  In response to Covid-19, the company launched Newark Working Kitchens – a program aimed at reopening local restaurants by paying them to cook and deliver meals to residents in need.  The perfect mix of needs, as each restaurant involved in the program in making at least 200 meals per day for delivery, helping owners remain in business, getting people back to work, and ensuring those who need it are getting fed good, quality meals.  Audible seeded the program up front and other partners like TD Bank, PSEG and Thrive Global have donated significant funds, along with the frontline work of the restaurant owners involved.  The hope is the concept will spread to other cities and corporate sponsors, as we look for innovative ways to combat the economic impact of the pandemic.  You can read the full article here.

I love seeing the different innovative approaches people and companies are taking to core challenges our society and economy faces.  Feel free to share your thoughts and any great ideas that you have come across.

The Free Range Viking

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