April 30th, 2009 in Locations
One of the pitfalls of relocating to an unfamiliar area is not really knowing what it’s like there. Will your new neighbors be the type of people you get along well with? Will the new community offer the type of atmosphere you are comfortable in? Along with seeking common threads to tie you to your new surroundings, you may also be wondering if the area you are moving to is green - both literally and figuratively.
Photo Credit: Randy Son Of Robert
The More the Green, the Lower the Crime Rate
Doctors, politicians, and civil servants are all starting to find correlations between green and health and safety. In their scenarios, though, they are talking lush vegetation and actual verdant appearance on the landscape. A study conducted by Texas A&M University discovered that the more greenness found in an area, the lower the crime rate in that area. Researchers took color-infrared aerial photographs around Austin, Texas and overlapped their geographic findings atop a map of crime areas for the city and found that “83 percent of all crimes occurred in areas with greenness values below 34 percent.”
Higher Health Rate Linked to Greener Spaces
On the health front, living in a heavily vegetated area is also related to lower stress levels and lower child obesity rates. Medical studies have found that children living in greener spaces had a slower rate of increase in body mass than children living in inner cities.
Newer studies are using satellites to look at geographic areas to determine the greenness of an area, not just how much vegetation is present in a location, but also how healthy it is. Plant life has so many benefits to humans when it’s healthy, including reducing pollution, keeping things cooler and more attractive, as well as providing great areas for exercise and outdoor activity. All of these things contribute to a healthier life. ...read full post →
April 28th, 2009 in Locations
Tampa may well be on its way to taking over the moniker Green Bay. A blog called Creative Loafing has been listing the 100 greenest people and organizations in the Tampa Bay area and some of the list-makers are quite intriguing.
Project 3.0/The Roosevelt made it on the list because Rudy Arnauts, Steve Francois, Joe Redner, and Bryan Roberts came up with the bright idea to turn one of the area’s old buildings into something new. The 100+ year old brewing company structure was remodeled using different, sustainable, modern architecture and construction styles. The building also features A/C that runs off of well water circulating through a concrete slab, which doubles as a canvas for artwork. The building itself is a showcase of green talent, but will also be used as an event hall and artist think tank.
Photo Credit: Creative Loafing
Eckerd College also made the list as the greenest campus in town - and we’re not talking about the lawn on the quad. The school has implemented several campus-wide initiatives to get students thinking not only of their future but the future of the world upon which they are about to embark. Eckerd has a student-wide bike share program, a student-run recycling program, and environmental film festival and a partnership program whereby the students donate used items at the end of each year that they might otherwise throw away to local charitable organizations who recycle the items to new users. ...read full post →
April 27th, 2009 in Locations
Photo credit: Barbara L. Slavin
New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment: Home to arid deserts, Rocky Mountain peaks, and all the majesty that lies in between. Many outsiders think of New Mexico as arid desert, sort of a continuation of dryness that begins in California and ends in Texas, but New Mexico (which was once part of old Mexico) is as diverse geologically as it is culturally.
The first homeowners (to meet Europeans) in New Mexico were Pueblo Indians. Their oldest surviving village, the Taos Pueblo, still rests -- and is inhabited -- at the foot of New Mexico's most majestic mountain peaks. Those peaks are just the top of New Mexico's geology. The state shares a good portion of the high Colorado plateau, averaging 1.3 miles above sea level and home to the Four Corners Monument.
From these elevated forests you can also travel to the Rio Grande and the colorful deserts and mountains that in fact do connect eastern California to Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas. Now take all this geology and add to it a culture rich in Pueblo, Navajo, Ute, Hispanic, and European culture, including a thriving art community. Artists and writers such as Georgia O'Keefe and D.H. Lawrence have called New Mexico home. This Land of Enchantment is even home to its own Spanish language dialect. ...read full post →
April 8th, 2009 in Locations
Photo credit: Boston.com
Residents of Minnesota, North Dakota, and parts of Canada have been scrambling over the last few weeks to stem the tide of the icy and unforgiving Red River. Ice jams have been backing up the river, compounding already rising water levels. In truly amazing acts of teamwork and organization, area communities have become sandbag factories in an attempt to save their homes, businesses, and livelihood. As the region braces for yet another Red River crest this week, the future of residents' homes is already in question.
While many homes have been saved, no community can completely avoid damages when flooding and an icy northern winter join forces. Still, even those homes successfully saved by sandbagging will face significant cleanup challenges due to layers of dust formed in the process. Even as a second crest approaches in the coming weeks, city and state leaders are scrambling to find answers to housing issues in the impending aftermath.
The first line of financial defense for flood-affected communities will be the federal government, and more specifically, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and the President himself. The possibility of aid to individual homeowners for home repair is very real, but it requires a declaration of disaster from President Obama, a prospect that has brought FEMA investigators into the area currently to assess the damages. ...read full post →
April 7th, 2009 in Locations
Many cities all over the U.S. encourage community participation in beautifying their environments with special awards programs.
San Francisco Beautiful’s awards program is a great example. Since the early 1970s, the Beautification Awards have recognized individuals, organizations, community groups, and businesses that improve the quality of life in San Francisco. Nominated projects have improved the City’s physical environment and have enriched the life of the community. To be eligible for the award, projects must be located in San Francisco and be visually or physically accessible to the general public.
The Alvord Lake Gardening Work Party is a prime example. Alvord Lake, located at one of the entrances to Golden Gate Park, was created in 1801 but fell into disrepair. “It has been lovingly taken under the wing of the Alvord Lake Gardening Party, which meets every fourth Saturday to plant, weed, trim, pick up litter, and sweep.”
The New Hampshire Arborists Association gives awards that include tree planting. This project shows Gov. John Lynch celebrating Earth Day with Association members and children from the Boys & Girls Club, planting a native tree, a red maple, at the Governor’s official residence. The tree was a gift to the State of New Hampshire donated by the New Hampshire Arborists Association.
An award winner in Bend, OR includes a 95-year-old train depot station that was meticulously restored into a popular restaurant. This photo shows the “before” of this 2007 winner. The awards program is managed by Bend’s Arts, Beautification, and Culture Commission. ...read full post →