One Water for America

One Water is a way to manage all water in an integrated, inclusive, and sustainable manner that will allow future generations to prosper. The way we currently manage water is very compartmentalized with stormwater engineers handling the runoff, water utility departments focusing on the supply, and solid waste departments undertaking the waste.

The Orange Energy Bag

When I started working at RDG Planning and Design I was excited to see their commitment to recycling, composting, and an overall conservation mind frame. The kitchen has several bins lined up for compost, recyclable plastics, non-recyclable plastics, and landfill (or trash as most people call it). We try to sort everything into either compost or recycling bins before we resort to the trash bin. It was fascinating and encouraging to hear an update at this months staff meeting of the enormous amount of waste that has been diverted from the landfill by just our one company. Other companies I have been at have had trash or paper recycling, some added plastics and tin, while Minneapolis went a step further with compost. But none of them tracked their waste to see what impact their efforts were making.

I worked in Lubbock, Texas for just over a year when I first started out in planning and recently have been working on a plan for Kermit, Texas, taking me back to the oil fields. Lubbock did not have many operating pump jacks, but nonetheless one of my tasks while there was to map the locations of existing and capped oil wells. Kermit on the other hand is surrounded by oil fields that have a major impact on their community.

The Cost of Driving to Work

This past week we saw temperatures hitting 50 degrees, an incredible gift for January in Nebraska. This also meant the snow was completely melted, making biking an option I would consider. I did take advantage last Saturday with a bike ride up to Benson for some lunch at 1912 and a visit to Infusion Brewing Co. When the weather is nice and I can get to places via biking or walking I tend to get out and explore more.

Google's Teaching Sustainability

While reading the latest issue of Planning Magazine I came across an etcetera piece on Google’s new sustainability resources. I find it refreshing that major corporations are taking an interest in issues that have global affects, especially in a time when our national leaders are attempting to discount scientific research and roll back regulations that aim to prevent further decline. I do wish that they would spend their resources to promote this information half as much as they do on their other products. I would never have stumbled upon the website without hearing about it through my professional organization and this is one that the average citizen should know about.

As is the theme with anything related to reading or writing lately, I’m a little behind on my Planning Magazine subscriptions. Its the beginning of December and I’m just getting to the heart of the October issue. Nonetheless, when I came to the article titled “After the Dust Settles: Revisiting the Buffalo Commons 30 Year Later” it brought back memories of practice exams to prepare me for the AICP exam. I recalled reading a question asking what the Buffalo Commons was with a multiple choice response. With hundreds of other facts and theories to learn, I quickly moved on to memorizing the next statistic.

Rocky Mountain Adventure

Its been almost three months since I camped in Rocky Mountain National Park, but I’m finally getting around to writing about the trip. I’ve been camping before, but never in a national forest like Rocky Mountain. It was amazing to see a moose, elk, deer, and other animals going about their business unaffected set against a backdrop of massive mountains and dense forest. I was really glad not to have come across any bears, given our tent situation, but that didn’t stop me from being nervous the entire time hiking.

What I Learned From Minneapolis

I have lived in several cities in the past five years including Lubbock, Texas, Rochester and Columbia Heights, Minnesota, and most recently Minneapolis. Each city has imparted some lasting impressions and I taught me invaluable lessons about how cities function. But of all the cities, Minneapolis has taught me the most. Before I moved to the Twin Cities metro, I had never taken public transit as a commuter, biked to work regardless of the weather, composted, or installed a rain barrel.

The Bird Is The Word

Everybody’s heard the Bird if you live in one of the major metro areas that are fortunate, or unfortunate depending on who you ask, to have these electric scooters. The Bird company started in California in 2017, but since its March test run in San Francisco has grown exponentially to include several dozen cities throughout the U.S. But the Bird is just one of several scooter companies capitalizing on the new trend. There are scooter companies operating in 65 cities throughout the country not to mention dozens of scooters that can be purchased for us directly by the consumer.

Carry On Homes in the Commons

It was almost a year ago that I wrote about an interesting piece of artwork installed at the Commons Park in downtown Minneapolis. This year I watched during my lunches as a new educational piece of art was assembled in the same location. The winner of the 2018 Creative City Challenge was Carry On Homes, a way to tell the stories of immigrants to Minnesota. The five artists responsible for the display are Peng Wu, Shunjie Yong, Aki Shibata, Preston Drum, and Zoe Cinel. The idea for the project came from the Carry On Homes documentary photography project.

Plazas for Safe Protest

Since the 2016 elections, I have followed the news chronicling the latest demonstrations and protests on a wide range of issues — including immigration, inequality, and women's rights — and felt inspired by the people who are no longer content with waiting for someone else to make change happen.

An Exposition for the Ages

In today's world we race to build enough structures to accommodate the Olympic Games every four years, but back in the 1800's, cities raced to build buildings for the World's Fair. The first World's Fair on record took place in 1851 at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London. Subsequent cities to host the fair included Paris, Vienna, Melbourne, and Barcelona prior to one of the most renowned fairs which took place in Chicago. These fairs were and still are designed to showcase the greatest achievements of society and push the limits of construction and design. Each fair influenced some aspect of society, leaving their mark for generations to come.

Greening Our Cities

There were numerous ways to learn about how planners can have a positive effect on water at NPC18. One session in particular highlighted how Prince George County used a public private partnership to retrofit their community with green infrastructure. Presenters covered the history of the program from inception through completion of Phase I and adjustments made prior to launching Phase II.

100 Years of History

I have always wanted to live in a house that was over 100 years old. In many cities, that’s hard to come by because they have either demolished all the old homes, lost them to natural disasters, or the cities themselves are just not that old. When I bought my first home it was a bungalow built in 1930, but now, about 10 years later, there are a plethora of homes over 100 years old available. All the bungalows that were built during the 1920's and 1930's are now coming of age and about to celebrate their 100th birthday.

300 Years of NOLA

I do not travel nearly as much as I would like, so when the opportunity arose to visit New Orleans for the National Planning Conference I jumped on it. I was only in the city for about four days, but I covered quite a bit of ground, while still attending sessions during the day. The two things that helped me accomplish both was waking up at 6 am every day and running through the neighborhoods.