Some thoughts came to mind as I heard about Abraxas and her crew coming by the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive. To be fair, I woud love it, and would totally get into the action as much as possible. I'm just a freak like that. However, I don't think it's appropriate in this context for a few reasons.
The next hocoblogs blogtail party is Monday Night at the Movies at the Columbia Lakefront on 8/16. The movie starts about 30 minutes after dark, but we tend get there much earlier than that. Bring a blanket, munchies, your kids, your S.O., or a low-chair if that's your style.
Rain date 8/23.
I've been watching the old archives of the TED Conference, and I noticed how many of them concerned architecture and city development as a whole. Let me start off with one from James Howard Kunstler. While he's certainly an ass, he does give us some insight into how we could look at Columbia Town Center. Let's watch:
It's been an interesting trip since I first posted the original Choose Civility post in 2008. I've been writing a lot more than before, but not as much as I would like to. I've changed jobs and have been having a blast with that. The commute can be a bit of a pain, but it has it's benefits. P. M. Forni has been on Oprah shilling his hissy fit to a national audience, and we've had 2 public displays of incivility on the national stage in the forms of Rep. Joe Wilson and Kanye West. So given all of that, it's time to take a second look at the issue as well about the opportunity to bitch that my magnet was stolen off my car yesterday.
Urgh. Sorry for the lack of updates. As those close to me know, the new job in DC is keeping me fairly busy and I'm adjusting to a more "normal" schedule. However, the change of pace has been fairly stimulating as well as exhausting at times. So it's just about time that I start addressing some more recent developments that have come out since not just my last post, but the brain dump that I had last summer on my personal blog.
This morning I went to a very good beta presentation by Ken Fisher from clickforhelp.com about how Government can make it's way into the social media space. What was going to be a simple run through of his presentation became a quite active discussion concerning not only how he can improve his presentation for Wednesday, but also about government communications in general. This being a local oriented blog (although sparse so far -- sorry guys and gals new job and the need to learn new rules that apply to me and lobbying), the question then becomes how to apply these concepts to the local government.
In my email today, I got a letter from GGP saying that the general outline plan for Town Center is now released. Being that it's my day off, I figured that I would give it a good read and post some initial thoughts. Many of the references that I make to my previous writing can still be found at my personal site where I did a mental dump of some thoughts concerning TC.
I've been giving this a bunch of thought and Columbia 2.0 makes me worry a bit. It the Sun article concerning the group, there was a member of the group that books entertainment acts. I really hope there isn't another venue for crappy cover bands that makes a barely tolerable night out on the town. Nottingham's and Sonoma's covers that market rather well, thank you. Then there's the folk music, which is cool, but that won't drag in the youth market. Then there's the high art events, which many young people would go to, but it's not exactly the sort of thing that people would go to on a consistent basis. As I stated in my first post. There's easily 500+ people who go to either Baltimore of DC to see acts doing original music. That's a demographic work pursuing. And that's just the punk and indy rock scenes. Let's not forget the various jam bands in the area. Put that all together, and you have the economics of a vibrant music scene right here in Columbia.
As Dave Bittner pointed out to me on Twitter, there is/was a rail line going into Columbia East. While some may point to this as a sign that train service to TC would be unfeasible, I would dispute this assertion by looking at the economics of the old rail line and the new rail line. First, the old rail line was designed to be industrial rather than for the transportation of people. It was built during a time when rail was being supplanted by trucks and this line's failure is a symptom of that. With the increase in the cost of gas in addition to people's increasing frustrations with traffic, a train service to TC would make sense. There was also the older argument against trains in that it would increase crime at the mall, particularly theft. Well, let's look at the potential theft v. the economic impact of saving up to an hour a day off of people's commutes. I don't have those numbers since no one has done a study yet, but just pure supposition would probably support my argument.
Note: Thank you all for amusing me in my verbal dump of ideas and thoughts from over the years. It's rather cathartic to get this all out of the way and down somewhere that might spark some further ideas.
In general, the GGP proposal is pretty decent. They've evidently put in a lot of thought into what they're doing, but it really is thinking in the box and neglecting some really significant opportunities for a real transformation and putting money where their mouth is. They talk about green buildings, what's the technology behind it? What do we really do about cars? Do you really think people will be sitting on a bench next to a major road reading a book? What about places that are a genuine substitute for town homes and single family homes? Let's go and explore this together some more. Personally, I'd make cars look and feel like secondary citizens.
As I stated in the last post, Town Center needs to the jewel in the crown of all development. It's what makes a statement of what Columbia is supposed to be. and I'm not talking about it from a design prospect, but from a community standpoint. This brings in the elephant in the room: the mall. The mall takes up so much space and is arranged in such a way that makes all further development difficult if not impossible. In order to get from one side of TC to another, you need to either go around the mall (a long walk no matter what) or go through the mall (and face the ring of moving cars, meander through the parking area, walk a lengthy stretch of the mall to get to a door on the other side, come out then face the parking lot and the ring of moving cars again). With all of that said, it's evident to me that the mall as it stands today needs to go.
It seems that I'm having a difficult time getting away from the topic of Columbia, MD. No matter what, it seems what I most often talk about with others. I grew up here. After living in other places for periods of time, I always seem to make it back. Admittedly a few times was because I couldn't make it out on my own, but there's a weird thing about this town that is somewhat indescribable.
There are times where something comes out that genuinely touches me. Coco Wang came out with 11 comic strips documenting the 5/12/2008 earthquakes in China. Some were heartbraking, some were genuinely funny in a black comedy sense. I highly recommend reading.
There's an interesting article in Nature last week concerning the link between bumper stickers and road rage. The conclusion from the Colorado State University team drew from their study is that there is a correlation between how someone uses their car as an expression outlet and their likelihood for anger behind the wheel. They link bumper stickers with territorial markers. This is my space, not yours
I'm such a procrastinator. I've been meaning to post a review of Zeitgeist for almost a year now and I'm just now getting around to finishing it.
What an interesting world we live in. I remember that when I was in high school, race relations were still tense. Even here in Columbia, MD, there was a tension between the races despite our more open attitudes. I remember when Neo Nazis were running around and being bold about it. I remember the race riots of LA on TV. I remember seeing Do The Right Thing in the movie theaters as well as the conversations that followed. And even within the past several years, I have seen its more subtle forms when people mock gangsta rap and hip-hop culture in general for not conforming to proper society (read: the way white people do things).
Run around Howard County, Md and you'll see these little green bumper stickers that say "Choose Civility in Howard County". I started noticing these a few years ago and I pretty much ignored it until recently. It always stuck me as a bit odd since HoCo is pretty civil to begin with. Then all of the publicity surrounding the campaign started coming out. Okay, so I now know where it's coming from and what the library is trying to push. What do I do about it? I read the book.