Namaste by the runway – Airport yoga is taking off!


San Francisco (SFO) – Source:

The list at the end of the post identifies those 12 airports found thus far that have dedicated yoga rooms available for passengers and employees to practice their poses during travel and/or work.

MDW - Source:

Midway (MDW) – Source:

Several other airports (Albuquerque, Raleigh-Durham, and San Diego) have specified meditation rooms and many airports have dedicated spaces for prayer and reflection, but these 12 airports below have a room, the space, the equipment, and/or the facilities specifically set aside that allow one to practice yoga without disturbing others.

As a devotee of yoga for the past two years, this trend is very exciting and I hope many more airports (old and new) decide to add such an amenity so passengers and employees alike can maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. It is also a great marketing tool for the airport!

It is also interesting to see that two smaller airports in the United States have joined this trend. Kudos to both Burlington, Vermont and Sioux Falls, South Dakota for being leaders.


Sources (other than above): 

Posted in air travel, airport planning, airports, architecture, aviation, business, commerce, fitness, health, infrastructure, land use, marketing, placemaking, planning, product design, spatial design, third places, transportation, Travel, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the glamour of domestic air travel all but lost?



Interesting question in the post title, which for a lot of people is probably true unless the fly on a luxury airline, internationally, or in first class. This is the question posed by author Christopher Schaberg in his new book, entitled The End of Airports

During the golden age of passenger air travel, which I was fortunate enough to experience the tail end (bad pun) of, flying on domestic airlines was indeed glamorous. Instead of being shoe-horned into the aircraft like Tokyo subway train at rush hour, we had healthy legroom. Instead of being subjected to minute-by-minute fare changes by a few airlines, rates were stable and competitive between multiple airlines. Instead of being subjected to potentially lengthy security protocols, you could leisurely arrive at the airport and stroll to your gate. Instead of being shuttled between hubs, you often flew direct. Instead of being served peanuts or pretzels (if you are lucky for free), you actually received a full meal. And instead of having to drive hours to the nearest major airport, you could fly a regional airline into the larger airport.  

Granted, security issues have changed some of these dynamics, but perhaps some of this loss of glamour is also due in part to the novelty of the air travel experience having worn off. Today’s younger generations have grown up with air travel being virtually an everyday occurrence. It wasn’t always that way – it used to be a special and eagerly anticipated event for most of us. It is a sad commentary to note that much of today’s domestic air service is essentially tantamount to intercity bus service. Been there, done that – just get me there. 

However, I think a large part of the issue also comes from air travel being treated as a commodity instead of a service. Once the bean counters took charge, the luster of flying began to wane. 

I still look forward to flying half a dozen or so times a year, but it is not the same as used to be, with the exception of international flights where one can still be treated like royalty (depending on the airline), even in economy.

Mr. Schaberg does a nice job of describing and chronicling these sorts of issues and adds unique tidbits of his personal reflections about airport operations and air travel since he once worked at the Bozeman, Montana airport. His book is an interesting read, though it does sadden me to reflect on all those finer aspects of flying that we have lost in the name(s) of efficiency, security, economy, modernity, and money.  

Posted in aerospace, air travel, airport planning, airports, aviation, book reviews, books, civility, commerce, culture, futurism | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best new planning term in years: “spreadlining”


Friday, @schmangee of and pointed out an  interesting issue on her Twitter feed. It noted:

“We need issue branding as good as the term gentrification for the more common & devastating combination of sprawl, segregation & bad transit.”

A number of us threw out ideas and responses to her request, but the one suggested by @inthewabe exceeded all the others by light years and truly encapsulated the urban planning, land use, and socio-economic issues trying to be conveyed in one word:


This term is perfect for the following reasons:

  • Spread is a basically synonym for “sprawl.”
  • It rhymes with and sounds very similar to “redlining.”
  • It evokes an image of low-density, auto-centric development over a large area which relates to sprawl, segregation, and bad transit.


In short, “spreadling” is the perfect term! Congrats and kudos to @inthewabe for nailing it with this term – I have already used it in some online discussion about growth pressures here on Traverse City area.  Don’t be surprised if you hear and see “spreadlining” being used quite often in the near future. Kind of cool to witness the birth of a new word. Namaste!

Posted in Advocacy, branding, Cities, Communications, demographics, density, diversity, environment, geography, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aviation purgatory – airplane boneyards



Probably one of the strangest and saddest land uses you will ever encounter are aircraft boneyards – essentially, these are airport junkyards for discarded airplanes. Some sites specialize in commercial aircraft, while others in military hardware. In either case, used airplanes are parked, stored, cannibalized, recycled, and/or sold for reuse or parts from these facilities. These sites are also sometimes used for filming movies and television shows due to the availability of a variety of aircraft.

Aircraft at Kingman Airport - Source:

A beautiful and surreal photo of abandoned aircraft at Kingman Airport – Source:

As you will notice from the list below, most, but not all are located in the Southwestern United States. Why? Because the arid desert climate helps preserve the equipment (merchandise) for a longer period of time.

Flying into or visiting one of these facilities must be a surreal experience as zombie aircraft essential lie in wait in the equivalent of aviation purgatory for some possible future use or reuse. Here is a weblink to a fascinating article about a visit to Pinal Air Park, where bot the aircraft and the airport appear to be in varying states of decay.

Pinal Air Park - Source:

Pinal Air Park from above – Source:

Here is a list of those airplane boneyards in the United States that store/hold “commercial aviation aircraft” in a sort of semi-permanent stasis.

* Doubt the pun was intended, but calling such a facility an “Air Park” sure seems like one.




“But I can’t help but contemplate how first the 737’s, and then the Dreamliners, too, will end up in airplane boneyards — if not very soon, then some twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years from now, when their systems and designs are exhausted, when we need new dreams.”

Christopher Schaberg — The End of Airports

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Cities with a Homeless Bill of Rights



On November 2, 2015 the City Commission of Traverse City adopted a Bill of Rights for homeless residents of the city. I am so very proud of my new home town for having taken this important and compassionate step.

In an era where some cities have passed laws criminalizing the giving of care and comfort to the homeless, Traverse City has boldly and clearly articulated that homeless residents have basic rights that must be adhered to – one of only three cities in the United States to have done so along with Madison, Wisconsin and Baltimore, Maryland.

The low number of cities which have adopted a Homeless Bill of Rights to date was quite a surprise to me. I would have guessed that many more cities across the nation would have done so by now. Hopefully, many more cities across the nation will begin to adopt and codify similar measures.

Below are the nine rights spelled out in Traverse City’s resolution.

  1. Access basic requirement necessary for sustaining life, including shelter, sanitation, medical care, clothing, and food;

  2. Move freely in public places in the same manner as other persons without harassment or intimidation;

  3. Have equal opportunities for employment;

  4. Receive emergency medical care;

  5. Exercise equal civic privileges, including the right to register to vote and the right to vote;

  6. Have personal information protected;

  7. Have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her personal property;

  8. Receive equal treatment by state, county, and municipal agencies; and

  9. Allow for access to resources for housing and supportive housing.

Congratulations to Traverse City for demonstrating the importance of empathy and compassion for the less fortunate in our community. It is an  unfortunate statement about the current state of our society’s principles that a homeless bill of rights should even need to be spelled out in the first place, as these should be the standard rule for how we treat all our fellow human brings. Would we desire anything less ourselves , if we were in their place? Remember – therefore, but with grace go I.

Posted in Advocacy, cities, civics, civility, culture, health, homelessness, Housing, human rights, humanity, inclusiveness, infrastructure, land use, Love, planning, politics, social equity, urban planning | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Homelessness in paradise

 Since moving to Traverse City approximately six months ago we have observed a number of political and planning issues that are fairly common in larger cities, but which have percolated to the surface here more recently as the region has grown in population and importance. Last night, it was a topic that some seem to want to avoid discussing altogether, homelessness.

Many of us would probably like to think that resort communities are somehow supposed to be immune to negative socio-economic planning topics as everything is always sunny and pleasant. Unfortunately, even in paradise, there are those who are less fortunate. How a community, resort or otherwise, deals with such problems goes a long way toward shining a light on the collective humanity of its citizenry.

Traverse City may be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but it’s weather, particularly in the winter can be and is deadly. I cannot imagine the difficulty in trying to stay warm and nourished out on the streets of our city during these months. Even last night, in early April it was 16 degrees. According to data from Safe Harbor an average of 94 people a night are homeless in Traverse City.

For the past number of years, the community has addressed the challenge of homelessness by providing sleeping and feeding locations at numerous churches throughout the area on a rotating basis. As the homeless population has grown, the need for a single, centralized shelter has become more obvious. Transporting people around to various locations is expensive, time-consuming, and a logistical nightmare, not to mention the homeless themselves trying to keep up with which church is offering them shelter on which night.

Through lengthy efforts a location has been chosen and I am proud to say the City Commissioners voted last night to approve the location (a building currently owned by the city) which will be purchased, renovated, and operated by Safe Harbor. It has not been an easy process though, as opponents were as often as vocal as the proponents.

Despite this victory, I am saddened by some of the callous comments I have heard and read regarding this issue. Comments like:

“These people…” or

“We should give them money and a bus ticket and send them away.” or

“Taxpayers are taking the hit for non-taxpayers.”

What these comments seem  to forget (aside from empathy) is that many in our society are but one medical emergency, one rent increase/building conversion, or one job loss away from a life on the streets. Not everyone has a family or personal safety net to fall back on and it is society’s inherent responsibility to provide one for the common good. People are more than simple accounting equations on a ledger – just ask the people of Flint.

Residents have every right to oppose and express concerns, but I really have a problem when the reasons cited de-humanize or demonize their fellow human beings who are suffering. That’s not opposition, that is meanness.

My hope is that once the dust settles and the shelter is open and operating, the fears expressed about diminished property values, impacts on area businesses, need, cost, and otherwise will be abated. I guess only time will tell. For now, I will celebrate that the city’s decision makers have chosen the right, just, and equitable path towards addressing homelessness in our little slice of paradise and I couldn’t be prouder.

Posted in adaptive reuse, Advocacy, cities, civics, civility, demographics, economics, health, homelessness, Housing, human rights, humanity, infrastructure, land use, Love, planning, politics, poverty, social equity, Statistics, unemployment, urban planning | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

“Hitch” is a Formidable Joyride



Anyone who has read Panethos for an extended period of time probably has figured out that I love rock music, particularly alternative rock and indie rock. Call me a creature of habit, but ever since my first Beatles, Monkees, and Aerosmith albums, I have been a loyal rocker.

Today, being a loyal rocker in the United States is harder work that it used to be, as corporate radio tends to blare soulless pop, semi-fake patriotic country, classic rock, or angry bass-laden rap. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about classic rock other than it is a tacit form of acceptance of being past one’s prime when it comes to age and willingness to endeavor into new music and artists. Well, not for this rocker.

Sometime in 2011 shortly after the release of The Big Roar, I discovered the Welsh band, The Joy Formidable and it was the equivalent of love at first listen – catchy melodies combined with superb guitar riffs and a dazzling lead singer/guitarist in Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan whose voice carried their powering songs with grace and ease. After their second full-length release, Wolf’s Law, I was honored to see them perform a scorching and scintillating set at a small club (The Loft) in Lansing, Michigan.

On March 25th, The Joy Formidable’s third full-length CD was released, entitled Hitch.  It does not disappoint in any way, shape, or form. In fact, it lifts the aura of the band to new heights of excellence. Among the aspects that enthrall me are the lengthier tracks, a la albums as they used to be in the 1970s – personally, I am tired of paying $9.99 or more for barely 40 minutes of music, so an album that extends to over an hour without fluff or filler is quite a nice change of pace.

Secondly, the songs on this album are a wonderful mix of rockin’ guitar lashes, head-banging rich melodies, and powerful ballads. It’s just about perfect as a rock album could be including an inspired cover photograph that shows Ritzy’s sheer joy and zest for life in a single photograph. I do hope the photographer got a raise for that shot. Many kudos to The Joy Formidable on their superb effort with Hitch. I like every song on the album, but my favorites are

  • “Fog (Black Windows)” – perhaps my favorite TJF song of all time.
  • “The Last Thing on My Mind”
  • “Liana”
  • “The Brook”
  • “The Gift”
  • “Underneath the Petal”
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