Friday, February 15, 2008

What am I doing here?

The lead-up to the website launch on Wednesday has got me asking myself; what is my contribution to I really believe in what we are trying to do here, but sometimes I worry that the task is so big and I worry that I’m not the right person to be out writing about how we should live our lives.

I’m not going to get all philosophical like Chris did the other day but, I just want to take a little bit today to let you know where my part in is heading.

I’ve been researching stories for future posts. My background is in civil engineering and I have knowledge of and access to information on structures and civil-works. So I’m putting stuff together for posts about infrastructure and what needs to be fixed and what the costs might be. Personally, I am very interested in peak oil and its ramifications, I think understanding this issue will be important to how we move forward. Therefore, a couple of posts will talk about Transition Towns and initiatives like the Portland Peak Oil Advisory Group. Then there’s my love of bicycles. There will be posts from me about my bikes and commuting and maybe even a little “bike porn”. “Bike porn” is what my wife calls any website that features pictures of bicycles that I tend to spend long periods of time just staring at, usually followed by longing glances at my bank account. LOL.

Besides my posts I have been working on a public event to help us all learn more about Urban Planning and what is involved in the planning process. This event will feature professional planners and educators with a panel discussion and a question and answer session. Keep Saturday, March 22 open on your calendars.

My hope is for to be a source of ideas and solutions for our community. What I really want is to bring the message that there are better ways to live than sprawl/consumerism. I want to help our community prepare and make changes for a future that could be very rewarding for the people of Windsor/Essex.


Mark Boscariol said...

I think when taking on such an ambitious and daunting task as we aspire to, you have to keep things in perspective.

Sometimes its not about the task, its about our individual character. Its about what type of people we are as much as its about what we're trying to accomplish

Perspective also helps when it comes to some of the differences of opinion regarding timing and specific effects of peak oil.

Regardless of whether people or even amongst ourselves we agree on some of the issues, the point is that regardless of these beliefs, the path we're taking still leads to an improved quality of life.

Urbanrat said...

Your contribution was starting this blog, driven by what you see and experience everyday in this city and most cities on this continent and what can be a better place to live. Thank you for stepping forward with your idea(s) and giving us in this city a forum to express our views, concerns and ideas.

Me, I'm interested in a walkable city, mixed neighborhoods, intensification and public transportation, green roofs, grey water use and water harvesting, green architecture and street friendly buildings.

I have lived most of my life in the core of cities and wouldn't live anywhere else. The only time that I felt totally isolated and not owning a car was several years that I lived in a town in this county before the internet. Talk about isolation!

In all I have been an amateur urban planner for almost 40 years, and at one time was looking into taking a degree in Windsor, until the Geography department at the university closed the program.

So if you or others need assistance in research on any topic, I am very good at doing that.

Peak oil is the one thing that will force cities to change, constant smog alerts from living and generating a consistent soup of bad air, the coming water wars and access to fresh water is another one and the rising cost of it.

Many things, some very big and some relatively small and individualistic will eventually force everyone to question where they live and how they live. Then the change will start.

So you have done the right thing and started something that can only contribute to making this city a better place to live.

Doubts plaque us all, your doubts here, what I've learned in my life time is that to do nothing is worst than doing something, great or small can lead to change.

This city needs this forum as it needs the other bloggers more than ever in its history. What we were is not what we will be!

Urbanrat said...

This will make you feel better about your "bike porn."

Why Canadians cycle more than Americans: A comparative
analysis of bicycling trends and policies

I was looking for something else and on the 20th page of Google I found above.

In spite of their colder climate, Canadians cycle about three times more than Americans. The main reasons for this difference are Canada’s
higher urban densities and mixed-use development, shorter trip distances, lower incomes, higher costs of owning, driving and parking a car, safer cycling conditions, and more extensive cycling infrastructure and training programs...."

But I don't think that part of abstract above is talking about Windsor.

John said...

Windsor is improving though. I've noticed in recent years more cyclists on the road. And not just more cyclists but more of what I call responsible cyclists (practising safe cycling, using lights after dark, observing rules of the road, etc). Even in these winter months I'm seeing more cyclists than before. Not to say we don't have a long way to go still of course. ;)