In a deviation from the biweekly rant and rave on one thing in the world of planning, TheGoodPlan is pleased to present a current rundown of … well, several things in the world of planning:
Yes, dear Baltimoreans, our godforsaken winter isn’t over yet. And while I’m keeping sane with salt sprays and irresponsible trips to the Caribbean, I cannot escape the cold or the snow forever. This past week, winter storm Pax blanketed us with more of the cold wet white grit, causing us to hunker down, bundle up, and express our displeasure through wails of desperation or clenched teeth of remorse. In the planning world though, the snow created a visual map, indicating places we didn’t need to tread. Coined “sneckdown,” snow has added a new lens – and abbreviation – to the transportation term “neckdown,” used to refer to the sidewalk extension occurring at a crosswalk. Bear with me. When we shovel snow or remove it from our path of travel, we’re leaving a physical indicator that the space is used and desired. Piles of untouched snow, however, indicate the realm of public space that isn’t desirable, isn’t traveled upon, and isn’t used. This essentially means that our still snow-covered roadways are showing the planners and the engineers that there are spaces in the street which nobody uses. Due to the seasonality of park benches and plazas, the sneckdown is most effective with traffic and on roadways, but the concept of how much extra space we have is pretty cool to think about.
It continues to rain in the United Kingdom. Reportedly the worst rainfall in 250 years, winds over 100 miles per hour are pummeling homes and forcing the Prime Minister to scrounge up money for emergency management and relief services. While a plethora of organizations plan preemptively to protect against forces of nature like earthquakes and hurricanes, it may be time for planners to take a more realistic approach to combat increased rainfall and extreme heat. While floating schools and Waterworld-style planning is hypothesized and entertained, the reality of extreme weather is here and now. It’s time for planners to focus not just on disaster relief due to an unprecedented force of nature, but relief from climate change induced storms.
Sochi Isn’t Perfect.
THE OLYMPICS AREN’T PERFECT (did you read my last blogpost?). The Twitter account @sochiproblems blew up in popularity, gaining over 110,000 follower in two days. Through snark and wit, @sochiproblems documented the yellowed water, bashed through bathroom doors, and fallen athletes (no, truly, athletes who have fallen over). Despite criticism for posting photos without context or timeliness and for portraying an ethnocentric level of entitlement, the account brings Olympic problems to the human level.
Southeast Baltimore Activates.
With crime rising in the southeast district, two floors of standing-room only residents and tenants packed house this past week to discuss city actions. With Mayor SRB present, word on the street was that Commissioner Batts was the true star of the evening, providing direct answers to tough questions. As a resident of the neighborhood in question, this past week has featured an increased police presence on the roads and a rise in awareness when walking from place to place. The hope and approach to crime prevention is to stop crime before it starts. And kudos to all the residents who attended the meeting. Apathy is not alive here in the district.