Friday, October 10, 2014

that subtle something, that quality of air

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

"Summer Solstice" by Amy Giacomelli

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pittsboro Hosts Fall Street Fair - October 25, 2014

The Town of Pittsboro’s annual Fall Street Fair will fill downtown with artisans, crafters, food vendors, live music, non-profit organizations and childrens’ activities Saturday, October 25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

More than 70 artisans from across the Triangle will tempt you with their wares, from hand-crafted knives and upcycled clothing to pottery, metal sculpture and batiks. Stroll the streets of Pittsboro, smell the roasted corn and donuts, try a local beer at our beer garden, dance to the music or check out some of the food trucks attending the fair for the first time.

A stellar local live music line up, curated by Sonic Pie Productions, begins at 10 a.m. with 19- year-old songwriter and guitarist Jason Damico, a 2014 Triangle Blues Society Blues Challenge Winner. Thoroughly multinational but uniquely North Carolinian, Orquesta GarDel thrills audiences at 11:15 a.m. with a high-energy Latin dance music experience. The monstrous thirteen-member lineup replicates the format of a classic Nuyorican salsa dura ensemble – a full deck of horn players, percussionists, and coro singers.  Later in the afternoon, Pittsboro Street Fair favorite, Tommy Edwards Trio serves up some of the best bluegrass in the state. Lockdown Blues Band, featuring vocalist Taneka Clemmons, plays high-energy blues and soul and brother/sister duo The Commanderrs’ soulful folk is recommended for fans of Emmylou Harris and Neko Case.

Pittsboro Parks Director Paul Horne is excited about the upcoming event. “We’re hoping that this year’s fair will be the best one yet. We’ve mixed things up quite a bit while retaining some of the best aspects of prior events.  We’re looking forward to a good crowd.” 

Child Care Networks is also celebrating their 30th anniversary with a big presence. You’ll meet “Elsa” and “Anna” characters from the animated film Frozen, race radio-controlled cars and watch the crowning a youth King and Queen, who will represent Child Care Networks in the Siler City Christmas Parade.

“This year features many familiar vendors, but we’ve received applications from throughout the Piedmont, including new artisans, such as Chatham Country transplant Joshua Martin of Vintage Prints, who will offer a collection of Works Progress Administration reprints of different sizes and price points” says Sonic Pie Productions owner, Tess Mangum Ocaña.

Pets other than service animals are not allowed at the Fair. For more information, visit the Fair’s Facebook Page:

The Bikeways of Bogata

A great video about Bogata's ambitious ~ 350 kilometer bikeway system.

Riding Bogota's Bountiful Protected Bikeways from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Enrique Penalosa, the visionary who implemented this effort in his capacity of former Mayor of Bogata, is no slouch. A long impressive list of highights of his career can be found at this Project for Public Spaces Site.

“The importance of pedestrian public spaces cannot be measured, but most other important things in life cannot be measured either: Friendship, beauty, love and loyalty are examples. Parks and other pedestrian places are essential to a city’s happiness.” 

 – Enrique Peñalosa

Of course, one could argue that the importance of such spaces can be measured and quantifiable economic benefits can be proven ie.

"In Boulder, CO property values were 32% higher in porperties within 3,200 feet of a greenway.  This resulted in an increase of $500,000 per year in additional property taxes, enough to cover the $1.5 million purchase price of the greenbelt in 3 years."

(Mark R. Correll, Jane H. Lillydahl, and Larry D. Dingell, The Effect of Greenbelts on Residential Property Values: Some Findings on the Political Economy of Open Space," Land Economics, May 1978)

But the romantic quote and the hard numbers can coexist without contradiction.

For more in depth exploration, check out this article from the Urban Land Institute on A U.S. Template for a Third Millenium City

Monday, September 29, 2014

Are Parks and Recreation Important to Apple?

Corporations like Apple seek out the best of the best employees in order to retain their competitive edge. Providing innovative parks and recreation areas for their employees plays a huge role in attracting the best employees, serves a retention tool and also boosts both creativity and productivity at the workplace.

Apple is building a new campus which will reflect their corporate philosophy - parks and recreation apparently play an important role in shaping their creative work environment.  The new headquarters will be centered around a park like campus, will contain an employee fitness center, and feature a large park within the confines of the circular building.

More info on Apple's new campus here:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Urban Form Affects Physical Activity Levels

This infographic from Active Living Research demonstrates how profoundly community design impacts how physically active people are. Bike lanes encourage more biking, dense development, sidewalks and greenways encourage more walking, and parks encourage more play. Urban form affects physical activity levels and physical activity levels are linked to specific health outcomes.

Click to Enlarge
If you're interested in scratching the surface below the level of an infographic, this research paper explores the Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity and Morbidity.

A few quick excerpts:

"Despite the health benefits of physical activity, 74% of U.S. adults do not get enough physical activity to meet public health recommendations and about one in four U.S. adults remains completely inactive during their leisure time."  

"Recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHA-NES) found that 64.5% of the U.S. adult population is overweight and almost one in three is obese (30.5%). Excess weight and physical inactivity are reported to account for over 300,000 premature deaths each year, second only to tobacco-related deaths among preventable causes of death."

"This exploratory study seems to indicate that, after controlling for individual differences, those living in sprawling counties are likely to walk less in their leisure time, weigh more, and have greater prevalence of hypertension than those living in more compact places"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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