Work picked up this week, which is nice. I’m not banking on an immediate economic recovery, but at least there’s some signs of improvement in the development world, which usually precedes a general economic improvement. Right now all the work I’m doing is non-residential with a lot of adaptive re-use projects, which will hopefully mean that developers are thinking in terms of making the existing developed land work more efficiently rather than continuing with the unsustainable sprawl that has dominated recent development trends. I hope that will mean improvements to our existing suburban communities that will make them more compact, walkable, and pleasant to live in.

But enough planning mumbo-jumbo. On to this week’s links:

  • Free parking isn’t free. As an urban planner, I have seen first hand how even a small building quickly becomes a sea of asphalt due to the parking required by most ordinances. This contributes to sprawl by forcing things to be more spread out, global warming by creating urban heat islands, wastes resources on unnecessary pavement, increases automobile dependency, and is just plain ugly. And most of the time, a site needs to install far less parking then they will really use. It’s crazy.
  • Habit is the main obstacle to a greener life. The American Psychological Association blames mental inertia (a.k.a. habit) for America’s slow transformation into the lean, green living machines I know we can be.
  • Plant now for vegetables in the fall. My own fall seedlings are sprouting, and will hopefully avoid consumption by the razzenfrazzen deer. Is anyone else preparing now for a bounty of fall veggies?
  • How to green your grocery bill on a tight budget. Who doesn’t have a tight budget these days?
  • Cake wrecks. It’s been a tough week for me, and so I’ve been checking out my favorite pick-me-up blog. Cake Wrecks almost always makes me laugh out loud, no matter how down I’ve been feeling. Culinary schadenfreude.