3/50 Project: I Love Bricks

Posted: April 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

I first learned about the 3/50 Project by reading fellow ##30DayBC-participant and Scrabble Grand-Champion Taylor’s blog, TotallyTay.

(Yes, I actually click on those links people put on the sidebars, especially if it looks like a well-designed link.)

The point of the 3/50 Project is to support “the brick & mortars our nation is built on”; meaning using our dollars to support local businesses we love RIGHT NOW, instead of lamenting their disappearance later on.

I love this concept for two reasons:
1.)  I love brick buildings anyways.
2.)  Local/Indie businesses may cost a little more, but the service you get is 100x better than at a chain, and the money stays here.

So I don’t mind paying a little extra (if that’s even needed) to support a local business because it means that the workers there, who receive my dollars as their wages, will in turn spend the same dollars nearby.  In the end my same dollar bounces around and support dozens of buisnesses.  Now THAT is “stimulating the local economy”.  Plus, local businesses = less empty buildings = less blight = less crime = better neighborhoods.

Consider THAT next time you make a run to Wal-Mart.

So the concept is pretty simple.  Pick out 3 business you would hate to see go under, and spend $50/month at those spots.  Sure, this sounds like a financial commitment that can have an impact on people trying to make ends meet, but the idea is not to spend more, it’s to spend there instead.

So here’s the three I’ve picked for April:

Royal Coffee / Urban Grocery (because of their symbiotic relationship, I’m counting them as one)

Postino’s Central

Lola Coffee

This week I’ve gone to Urban Grocery for lunch twice and Royal Coffee three times.  I went to Lola this morning. I went to Postino’s last Sunday and will be returning on Monday night.

I’m pretty sure that next month I’ll include places like All About Books & Comics, Cheese-n-Stuff, and hopefully I’ll find a good, local bookstore, so I don’t have to always go to Borders/B&N.

Think about the three places you’d hate to see go.  Show them some appreciation today.

(This is Day 18 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, be sure to check out the other participants at #30DayBC)


I love cities

Posted: March 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I do.  I love living in the city.  Not only because it fits my lifestyle, but because I love the promise of it.

Urban areas are traditionally the cradles of great ideas.  Think of Socrates, Cyrus, Solomon, Alexander, Magellan, Edison; democracy, art, opera, literature; all ideas born in cities, because cities allow us to know our fellow man in ways that yards & freeways & Cost Co’s don’t.

This got me thinking if there was an easier way to express my love of city life.

I hear people use the word “Urbanist” more and more lately, (or perhaps I’m just tuned into those types of channels more and more…) and I wondered if it’s a term that would apply to me.

So I Googled it.  But I had difficulty finding a clear definition.  I also learned that apparently there is some disagreement between “urbanism” and “new urbanism”.  Hmmm, well here’s the most well-written thing I could find. Wikipedia (pfft, great source, right?) defines New Urbanism as;

“an urban design movement, which promotes walkable neighborhoods that contain a range of housing and job types.”

Well that seems easy enough.  I love walkable neighborhoods, though my idea of walkable is probably a little more aggressive than most peoples.  Walkable for me just means “has flat-ish areas” and “hopefully few hobos and/or feral animals”.

Then I read a quote from the Congress for the New Urbanism:

We advocate the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the following principles: neighborhoods should be diverse in use and population; communities should be designed for the pedestrian and transit as well as the car; cities and towns should be shaped by physically defined and universally accessible public spaces and community institutions; urban places should be framed by architecture and landscape design that celebrate local history, climate, ecology, and building practice.

So what do we have here?

  • Neighorhoods?  Great
  • Accessibility?  Indeed!
  • Diversity?  Always good.
  • Public Policy?  Can always use help.
  • Pedestrian and Transit?  I’ve BEEN on-board with that for decades.

Alright, so this sounds like an agenda to get with.

As you know from my previous post about freeways, urban sprawl is something I definitely cannot get with.  In truth, even when I lived miles away from my job and school, I still took public transit, and as opportunity presented itself, I moved closer and closer to the core.  Now I live 1.5 miles from my office, right next to a light rail stop, and withing walking distance of parks, museums, great restaurants, pubs, a farmer’s market, the full gamut of culture in Phoenix, AND my favorite coffee shop.  I don’t see how a car would improve my life.

We really COULD improve my life, and the lives of thousands of people around me, is a good healthy dose of Urban ReUse.

I don’t say Urban Renewal, because Roosevelt Row and many parts of Downtown Phoenix are already vibrant and thriving in their own way, so I don’t want to solicit the type of “renewal” typically thought of.

No, what I would like to see is more redesign and reuse of existing structures, filling in the empty store fronts and repopulating the vacant lots that leave gaps in our neighborhood picture.  Just like an MRI, you can have 90% healthy areas, but if you have 10% missing, then you’ve got a problem.

So I was decently intrigued to see this post by fellow #30DayBC participant (and RDJ doppleganger) Tony A.  I’m interested to see how his series turns out, and perhaps add a few spots to the list.

(Ironically, for 5-years I used to live next-door to the first place he mentioned, and didn’t know that it had since turned into a vacant shell.)

So, in closing, give cities a boost, for all they’ve done for you.

…and be kind to the planet while you do it….

(This is Day 5 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge)


Positive Street Art

Posted: March 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Though I haven’t featured it in a while, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time (yes, I’m talking to both of you readers out there), you know that I love Street Art.

Many people may view this as a crime, but it’s one that’s been happening since art was invented, and, frankly, many of our modern buildings so ugly it’s criminal.  A recent acquaintance wrote about local Street Art at his blog here, and today I came across this great piece courtesy of Wooster Collective:

(side note: I just noticed that Wooster Collective decided to feature the piece that’s right down my block on their site.  Check it out here)

Darban, South Africa - Reverse Graffiti

The image below is a pictorial history of the architecture of Darban, scrubbed into the retaining wall along a highway.  Yes, this “graffiti” is actually just the voluntary removal of the grime that settles into our modern urban landscapes.

Pretty awesome in my book.