Take me out to the ballgame…from the balcony

Source: Gillespie-goup.com

Source: Gillespie-group.com

Greater Lansing can now claim to be a national and global trendsetter in innovative urban design, as construction has begun on The Outfield – a new mixed use development, including 80 residential units, overlooking the outfield of Lugnut’s Stadium (officially Cooley Law School Stadium) in downtown Lansing. If you are a baseball geek, or just love the urban experience, this place is for you, as views of the stadium and downtown should be outstanding. Add in the proximity to the City Market, the Michigan Avenue Entertainment District, and the Lansing River Trail, you’ve got a bases-loaded, grand-slam, home run, game-winning combination.

Kudos to the Gillespie Group and the City of Lansing on an exciting, visionary, and extraordinary project. My only question is, “will the windows be shatterproof? :)

Source: Gillespie-group.com

Source: Gillespie-group.com

 

 

Posted in adaptive reuse, Advocacy, architecture, business, cities, culture, density, downtown, economic development, entertainment, fun, Housing, infrastructure, land use, new urbanism, placemaking, planning, product design, skylines, spatial design, sports, third places, tourism, trails, Travel, urban planning, walking, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why we ride…in silence

Originally posted on Bicycle Trax:

Source: northwestcrossing.com Source: northwestcrossing.com

On this particular race day, ten kids ranging in age from eight to 15 were lined up waiting for the start of our neighborhood bike race. Some were perched upon slick ten speeds, others like me, astride our three-speed, banana seat, Sting-ray, raring to go. When you grow up in Indianapolis, racing must be in your blood, because every May we would hold a bike race around our loop of a subdivision. Five laps to determine the supreme bicycling champion of Delaware Trails.

What we had not counted on was everyone’s desire to make that first turn within the same narrow space. Who cared if the pavement was nearly 30 feet wide, only about five feet of it was “the groove,” the place where you get the best position going into a ¼ mile long straight-away. Needless to say, if any of the ten of us had considered…

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A cultural atlas of the Beat Generation

Source: amazon.com

Source: amazon.com

One of the most fascinating aspects of 20th Century United States cultural history was the development of the Beat Generation shortly after World War II.  While prominent for less than 20 years, the literary, musical, poetic, cultural, and philosophical icons of this generation had a profound influence on their immediate successors, ranging from The Beatles, to folk musicians like Bob Dylan, to the hippies, to the counterculture movement in general, as well as to subsequent generations.

Many societal norms, thought of as fairly commonplace today, can be traced back to gaining their first foothold in the American psyche through the Beats. Examples include environmentalism; economic, and social justice; marijuana usage; exploring aspects of human sexuality; and delving into East-Asian religions, particularly Buddhism.

So, when I stumbled across a book entitled, Beat Atlas: A State by State Guide to the Beat Generation in America, by author and archivist Bill Morgan, I was delighted and enthralled at the prospect of reading the book and learning more about how place may have played apart in the creation, growth, and influence of the Beat Generation. Upon receiving the book yesterday in the mail, I nearly read this entire fascinating and informative book in a single sitting.

The Beat Atlas is a top-notch guide to many of the personalities (both the famous and the lesser known), the places they grew up and lived, their influences, and even the libraries where one can locate more detailed archival materials on this trendsetting and influential era.  If you are even the least bit interested in American cultural history and geography, particularly from the 20th Century, I highly  recommend this book. It is also a perfect resource for those interested in cultural tourism, as the locations and addresses of iconic Beat Generation sites are provided. Well done, Mr. Morgan!

Posted in art, Asia, book reviews, books, cities, civics, Communications, culture, diversity, entertainment, environment, geography, historic preservation, history, humanity, literature, Maps, social equity, tourism, Travel, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“On The Road” observations from the King of the Beats

Source: behance.net

Source: behance.net

While reading the classic Jack Kerouac autobiographical novel, On The Road, I was struck by his interesting reflections about the various urban and natural landscapes he observed.  These were made while he was zooming back and forth across the nation’s mostly two-lane byways in the later 1940s, often with his friend Neal Cassady.

Source: vanityfair.com

Source: vanityfair.com

As the de-facto King of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac packs a lot of raw power and emotion into his writing, which sometimes is classified as spontaneous prose. His writing, much like his frenetic lifestyle, often took place in the fast lane, with no (or little) hesitation. Here are some examples of his observations gleaned from the book. By the way, anyone like me, who has ever daydreamed about places unvisited will immediately relate to the second quote below. Enjoy!

  • “I’ve been pouring over maps of the United States in Paterson for months, even reading books about the pioneers and savoring names like Platte and Cimarron and so on…”
  • “Now I could see Denver looming ahead of me like the Promised Land, way out there beneath the stars, across the prairie of Iowa and the plains of Nebraska, and I could see the greater vision of San Francisco beyond, like the jewels in the night.”
  • “I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future…”
  • “The floors of bus stations are the same all over the country, always covered with butts and spit and they give a feeling of sadness that only bus stations have. For a moment it was no different from being in Newark, except for the great hugeness outside that I loved so much.”
  • “The mountains, the magnificent Rockies that you can see to the west from any part of town [Denver], were papier-mache.”
  • “The bus trip from Denver to Frisco was uneventful, except that my whole soul leaped to it the nearer we got to Frisco.”
  • “Tracy [California] is a railroad town, brakemen eat surly meals in diners by the tracks. Trains howl away across the valley. The sun goes down long and red.”
  • “I loved the way she said L.A. I love the way everybody says L.A. on the Coast.; it’s their one and only golden town when all is said and done.”
  • “L.A. is the loneliest and most brutal of all American cities; New York gets god-awful cold in the winter, but there’s a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. L.A. is a jungle.”
  • “We arrived in St. Louis at noon. I took a walk down by the Mississippi River and watched the logs that came down from Montana in the north – grand Odyssean logs of our continental dream. Old steamboats with their scrollwork more scrolled and withered by weathers sat in the mud inhabited by rats. Great clouds of afternoon overtopped the Mississippi Valley. The bus roared through Indiana cornfields that night; the moon illuminated the ghostly gathered husks; it was almost Halloween. I made the acquaintance of a girl and we necked all the way to Indianapolis.”
  • “I had traveled eight thousand miles around the American continent and I was back on Times Square; and right in the middle of rush hour, too, seeing with my innocent road-eyes the absolute madness and fantastic hoorair [sic] of New York with its millions and millions hustling forever for a buck among themselves, the mad dream-grabbing, taking, giving, sighing, dying, just so they could be buried in those awful cemetery cities beyond Long Island City.”
  • “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

Source: On The Road

Posted in art, book reviews, books, Bus transportation, Cars, cities, Communications, culture, geography, historic preservation, history, humanity, land use, literature, Maps, North America, placemaking, States, traffic, transportation, Travel, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Equity is an economic growth engine!

Findings from the National Equity Atlas for ten (10) geographically dispersed mid-sized metropolitan regions are provided below. Check out the last column as it depicts how much more robust each of these regions would have been if there had been wage equity amongst all races. Don’t you think the business community would love to have billions of more dollars driving the local economy and that municipal governments would love to have the added tax revenue?   Sounds like a win-win-win situation.

The numbers are quite staggering, but particularly for Corpus Christi and Salinas. Hopefully, data such as this will help drive discussion on improving social and wage equity across the nation, not only for persons of color, but also for women.

equity2

Posted in Advocacy, ageism, business, cities, diversity, economic development, economic gardening, economics, Economy, fair trade, feminism, geography, government, history, humanity, inclusiveness, Labor, planning, poverty, social equity, Statistics, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Poem – “At a crossroads”

At a crossroads

This way, or that

That way, or this

Forward or back

Which way to go

North or south

East or west

Everything in between

On the compass

 

Turn left or right

Answer yes or no

Decisions, decisions

Which way to go

This was s’posed to get easier

As we aged

Some things

Must never change.

 

Copyright 2015

 

Posted in art, geography, humanity, literature, Poem, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dim the lights and celebrate International Dark Sky Week!

Source: Jacob W. Franks via darksky.org

Source: Jacob W. Franks via darksky.org

Begun in 2003, International Dark Sky Week celebrates the awesome glory of the night sky while also informing the public of threats from sky glow, glare, and other forms of light pollution. In 2015, International Dark Sky Week takes place from April 13-April 19.

Goals of the week include the following:

Dark Sky Week Goals

  • Inspire people to celebrate the beauty of the night sky
  • Raise awareness about the negative effects of light pollution
  • Embolden folks to Take Action!

Source: darksky.org

With lovely spring weather across much of the nation, it should be a great time to spend an evening or two admiring and enjoying the heavens above, while also remembering the need to limit light pollution. Otherwise, the amazing image at the beginning of this post, which was taken at Arches National Park in Utah, will become more and more difficult to replicate in the future. Salud!

Source: pollutionissues.com

Source: pollutionissues.com

 

 

Posted in Advocacy, Astronomy, cities, climate change, education, environment, fun, geography, health, history, land use, light pollution, nature, pictures, planning, pollution, seasons, spatial design, sprawl, sustainability, tourism, Travel, urban planning, visual pollution, weather, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment