Signs of Spring (and hopefully optimism)

To say it’s been a long winter is an understatement, even here in the Carolinas where we were lucky enough to avoid any real winter weather this year.  However, in the last couple of weeks we have seen the gradual rise in temperatures that signify Spring is here, along with a whole mess of rain.  It’s never a smooth transition, but it definitely feels like Spring, and not just because there is already enough pollen out there to make breathing more than a little difficult.  Hopefully, wherever you are you are seeing signs of Spring, and even more importantly, signs of some light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.  I know more and more people who have started to get vaccinated as I await my turn, and I am feeling really good that we will begin to travel and start living more normally as we get into the later part of the summer.  The three things I’m most looking forward to are: going to one of our favorite restaurants for a great in-person meal, watching a new movie on the big screen with a big tub of popcorn, and taking in a ball game.  It just can’t come soon enough.

Over the past couple of weeks I have come across some interesting articles that I wanted to share with you as well.

Bike Parking Pods

The company Oonee has developed pods (basically secure boxes) that will allow urban dwellers to keep their bikes safely locked up and which have been designed to fit perfectly into an existing car parking space.  You can read the full article here.  Having lived in a big city, I know all about how often bikes are stolen and the hassle of having to carry them up into a house or apartment to keep them safe.  These pods make it super easy to access your bike, and by using existing infrastructure (car parking spaces) they can be rolled out fairly quickly and hopefully encourage more bike use in cities.  They are an interesting company with a grassroots approach to communities that could really help re-shape a small part of our cities moving forward.

Combining Vertical Farms & Affordable Housing

Imagine if you could create a building that not only produced a million pounds of produce each year for local consumption, but also created the opportunity for both housing and jobs.  That’s the idea being put forward by Vertical Harvest who will soon begin building a development in Westbrook, Maine that combines a vertical farm with affordable housing.  They are poised to follow that up with similar developments in Chicago and Philadelphia.  With a focus on bringing food and jobs to underserved populations, their goal is to create jobs paying livable wages that have a path towards career development, while also delivering healthy food to key stakeholders.  Imagine being able to create a large scale farm in the middle of a food desert while also improving other key aspects of lives in the community.  You can read the full article here.

Miami Builds a Park Under Train Tracks

For the longest time, the land under an elevated Metro line in Miami was a wasted urban space that allowed for little usage.  Now, however, it’s being reimagined as a park, with the first stage opening in a ten mile long space for bikes and pedestrians.  Given that this area is dominated by cars, this marks a true change for the area.  Inspired by the High Line in NYC, the project has been championed by the non-profit Friends of the Underline and their hard work is beginning to pay off.  You can read the full article on the park here, and this group has tied itself in with the Highline Network, which is a national coalition of planners and advocates who compare notes on industrial reuse projects.  We have a unique opportunity in these times to reimagine what our cities can be, and make them more livable for all.

The Free Range Viking

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