Monday, October 27, 2008

A Parking Basement

This is an amazing project: Downtown Houston Rediscovers Green with New Eco-Centric Park
What was a large downtown parking lot in Houston just a year ago, is now Discovery Green, downtown Houston’s new urban park. Underneath the park, an underground parking garage now accommodates the same number of cars as before…no more, no less. An above ground portal, designed by Austin artist, Margo Sawyer, takes drivers from their cars below the Earth up to almost a dozen acres of new centrally located parkspace.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Cherry Marketing Institute Gets Good News

Research identifies new link between tart cherries and risk factors for heart disease
New research continues to link tart cherries, one of today's hottest "Super Fruits," to lowering risk factors for heart disease. In addition to lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation, the study being presented by University of Michigan researchers at next week's American Dietetic Association annual meeting, found that a cherry-enriched diet lowered body weight and fat – major risk factors for heart disease.

And most of the United States' tart cherries come from Traverse City, MI. Hopefully more research will make cherries more valuable and farmers better able to stay viable.

See: Cherry Marketing Institute

Boardman River Dams Get Media Attention

Via The Environment Report: To Dam Or Not To Dam

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bill Clous, Mission Accomplished

A story of stumps, crops and zoning
Bill Clous says he's a farmer who wants to raise crops on 360 acres of damp, rolling fields in East Bay Township.

But Clous also is one of the region's biggest residential developers, and a recent township zoning overhaul could allow him to build 2,000 homes and an industrial park on land where authorities allege he willfully damaged wetlands and violated numerous environmental laws.

The collection of family farms Clous assembled over the past 20 years north of Hammond Road and between Townline and Three Mile roads will stay in farming, he said.
"My honest intention is to farm it for at least 10 years," Clous recently told the Record-Eagle. "(But) nothing's etched in stone."

Clous to build on land he pledged to farm
Clous plans to build hundreds of subsidized senior citizen apartments, as well as a commercial development, on property he cleared and scoured and pledged to farm for a decade.

The project on a 54-acre parcel will include 360 apartments in three, three-story buildings and 120 rooms in an assisted-living facility bordered by about 10 acres of commercial development off Three Mile Road.

In 2004, Clous agreed to a consent judgment with Grand Traverse County and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to settle a lawsuit over allegations he illegally bulldozed wetlands on 360 acres there. Clous said the land was being prepared for farming.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Understanding Traffic With Braess' Paradox And The Nash Equilibrium

Science proves more roads lead to more traffic.

See Wired: Study Says Closing Roads Might Cut Congestion. Huh?
In a counterintuitive study released last month, three scientists have discovered that drivers choosing between multiple routes to reach their destination the fastest can actually end up slowing everyone down. Limiting their options by closing off certain streets could actually reduce congestion.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

America's Best Farmer's Markets

The top five according to Good Magazine: Farmers in the City

Closest one to Traverse City is Madison, WI.

But I bet one day the Traverse City Farmer's Market will be recognized nationally. It seems that one thing these five have in common is an abundance of local meat.

Trail Contributes More Than $8 million To Local Virginia Economy

The Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail is much larger than Traverse City's TART system, but the lesson I see is that by encouraging more trails we can have a tremendous economic impact.

See: Assessment of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail