Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a full day in Cleveland, Ohio. And I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. As it turns out, Cleveland is a pretty nice place.
I’d only ever passed through Cleveland on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited in the middle of the night. So I was unsure of what to expect, but my perceptions certainly focused on Cleveland as a rust belt city with some pretty serious environmental problems.
What I found was a city (and a region) facing a severe economic crisis, but one whose downtown and core neighborhoods cling to vibrancy. I was impressed with the urban form of Downtown, a district which has seen better days, but whose architecture … Continue reading
guest post by Kristin O’Connor
Now If We Can Get the Brook Back in Twinbrook
Ah, the environmental benefits of reusing a building—a very large building with tons of existing steel and concrete. Built in the early 1970s, the 18-story Parklawn building is the tallest, most prominent in Twinbrook. Formerly, it housed the Food and Drug Administration before it consolidated employees in White Oak. Since then, much of the building has been vacant.
The cost savings of building materials and energy make this a good sustainable decision. Additionally, the building’s proximity to the Red Line Metro station and the WMATA/JBG’s Twinbrook Station development, makes re-using the 1.3 million square foot building a good financial and sustainable option for any … Continue reading
The recent U.S. Census shows that the average age of farmers is rising across the country as well as in Montgomery County. The EPA notes, “As the U.S. farm population has dwindled, the average age of farmers continues to rise. In fact, about forty percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The graying of the farm population has led to concerns about the long-term health of family farms as an American institution.”
But as other groups and media have observed, change may be afoot. The New York Times has tagged the increase in young hipster farmers in Oregon as a trend. And they find that young farmers across the … Continue reading
This year’s film festival takes a broad view of the enivronment, covering not only the natural environment, but the built environment as well.
Films on Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio, the green contextual architecture of Rick Joy and Kieran Timberlake, and the impact of car-based development on the city of Istanbul explore individual and collective design decisions–some more considered than others.
Also, someone has finally made a film about my favorite historian of all time–Vincent Scully. He is certainly a great lecturer whose words, images, and ideas create an inspiring flow in his audience. His sense of humor is charming; he apologized to an audience of architects for showing a picture in which his wife had marched into the frame and posed–this kind … Continue reading
Bethesda Green’s TEDx meet-up on Changing the Way We Eat drew local farmers and food innovators. You can read Bethesda Green’s report here and watch the speakers as well.
Bethesda Green sponsored a TEDx meet up this past Saturday on “Changing the Way We Eat,” and although the speakers were based in New York, the local viewers took time to introduce themselves and their efforts in local food and to discuss the potential for local food in Montgomery County.
So after Laurie David talked about the importance of family dinner and Carolyn Steele’s TED talk about How Food Shapes our Cities, we heard from Mike Kennedy, a board member of the innovative model Fox Haven Farm, from Kristina Bostick who works with Montgomery Countryside Alliance to make the County’s Agricultural Reserve into a food porducing resource, and Greg Glenn of Rocklands Farm, which is starting out with … Continue reading
Nordin Grabsi, who has been trying to run the Ali Baba Felafel truck at the Bethesda Farm Women’s Market, may finally have to shut down his popular stand. He is unable to meet County standards for a mobile food truck, but it also seems the County standards don’t recognize the growing and changing food truck business.
As one of the commenters on the Bethesda Patch site wrote, “I hate to see this happen, particularly since food carts are becoming more popular and interesting…”.
And this is not just a problem for Ali Baba, other food carts have also moved or shut down, just when things are getting interesting. And as well as possibly outdated regulations, there also seem to … Continue reading
Rockville’s King Farm was designed as a transit friendly community, with a gridded street pattern lined by street fronting homes on small lots. So that’s the community part. Now that the transit part is coming along, the pull of suburban standards is proving strong.
In this article, A Community Planned for Transit Now Resists It, residents are quoted as saying the transit line will create a wall within the community. But this is not the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and King Farm is not Union station.
Why do people never point out that waiting with your neighbor at a station in the morning is a great time to chat and get to know each other–much better than driving home in … Continue reading
According to articles in the Washington Post and the City Paper, the District’s Department of Transportation has taken big steps in making the city more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.
Barne’s dance crossings and hawk signals give pedestrians priority over cars at intersections, and out of a goal of 80 miles of bike lanes, 49 have been completed. The city’s bike-share program is an early success with residents and visitors. Residents find it easier and cheaper to pick up a bike at a corner station than owning their own and schleping it into their homes.
In fact, according to the City Paper, one of the biggest problems seems to be developing enough places to bike to. As they quoted Gabe Klein, Director of … Continue reading
Guest Post by Alex Hutchinson
Whether it’s the Boundary Bridge that straddles Rock Creek right outside Silver Spring or the Cabin John Bridge nestled into Glen Echo, I love the bridges our region boasts. I’m no gephyrophobiac, bridges don’t scare me one bit. But there is one bridge that makes me uneasy–and no, it’s not the Tacoma Narrows— it’s the Downtown Silver Spring Library bridge. Despite the fact the Planning Board voted 8-1 against the bridge, it has once again become part of our local discourse. Here’s why I hope this bridge wobbles into oblivion.
It’s been argued that the proposed bridge is the best and most economic way of achieving accessibility for all. Silver Spring already has a skywalk: the bridge that … Continue reading