Archive for July, 2009

Liquid Assets

July 27th, 2009 No comments

via [ ] 

This evening I happened to click on the East Chicago Public Government Channel which for all purposes has been the Mayor’s personal campaign channel. But to my enormous surprise this evening they were running this wonderful documentary “Liquid Assets.” I don’t know who coordinated the broadcast, but I was thrilled to see something of real substance and value to the community on the channel. Very Good.  

Liquid Assets is a public media and outreach initiative that seeks to inform the nation about the critical role that our water infrastructure plays in protecting public health and promoting economic prosperity.

Combining a ninety-minute documentary with a community toolkit for facilitating local involvement, Liquid Assets explores the history, engineering, and political and economic challenges of our water infrastructure, and engages communities in local discussion about public water and wastewater issues.

UK Greenlights First Eco Towns

July 20th, 2009 2 comments

The government gave the green light Thursday to four so-called “eco towns,” claiming it is playing a leading role globally in promoting carbon neutral communities.

The green towns are designed as the first of 10 such projects Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government wants to set up by 2020, despite criticism and local opposition in some cases.

“The revolutionary concept of eco towns is a unique opportunity for us to confront two of the most urgent priorities” facing Britain, namely providing more cheaper housing and fighting climate change.

Housing Minister John Healey added: “We are leading the way on the world stage with these developments by radically rethinking how we design, plan and build our homes.”

The towns chosen are in Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire; Rackheath in Norfolk; Bicester in Oxfordshire, and a development near St. Austell in Cornwall.

Greenlight given for first eco towns – Yahoo News.

Categories: Case Studies, Urbanism

What I am Looking at: Joyce Owens

July 14th, 2009 1 comment

[ Website: ]  [ Blog: Artist on Art ]

I first came to know Joyce’s work about a decade ago and then again recently when she sat on a panel discussion about southside artists – [ The Invisible Artist – Creators from Chicago’s Southside

For me these paintings make plain the strength of the Human Spirit – in there ambition and worry. I have always loved the portrait. 

Out of the Box Series

(Click images to enlarge)





“These paintings are dramatic renditions of the black middle class men and women shown in photographs during the Paris Exposition in 1900… There is a depth to our African American ancestry that we need to be able to build on; the wooden box is a symbol that can both hold the truth and tell the truth.”

 – Joyce Owens

Categories: What I am Looking at

What I am Looking At: Our Garden

July 5th, 2009 No comments

Every summer my wife and I migrate out to the backyard. During the warm season the backyard becomes the most used room in the house. On our city lot we’ve learned about the bio-diversity of this highly industrialized community. This region is extraordinarily rich in biodiversity and rare ecosystems, fragmented between mostly industrial areas. 80% of East Chicago is zoned heavy industrial, with less than 14% for residential, and 6% for light industrial and commercial. 

No region in the Midwest has been as greatly impacted by human activity as Northwest Indiana. Pre-European settlement, a series of white pine and jack pine-covered dunes, and swales rich in wetland species, paralleled Lake Michigan. Inland, the dune and swale topography met the Calumet marshes. 

Although it is undoubtedly still the richest region in Indiana and in the Great Lakes basin in terms of biodiversity, Northwest Indiana ecosystems are fragmented and under constant, diverse stress from multiple sources. Without restoration of ecosystem functions and structures, their long term viability is severely threatened

[ EPA ]

But what amazes most is how quickly life takes hold and grows here. By having our own little paradise in such an environment that is hostile toward nature we attract all sorts of creatures. However, we are discovering that we are not the only ones. As we get out in the community we are seeing many residents creating their own special spaces in their backyards. I hope someday to document some of these spaces.

This year Kristin has begun taking these incredible close-ups of the garden.



Back from Kansas

July 1st, 2009 No comments

On the lighter side of the Nisly farm.

Categories: Misc