Sprawl and the Decline of Social Capital – and Health

Hardly a surprise that commuting leads to a decline in physical and social health, but the important point is that commutes are the result of how we design cities, site industry, and create new housing. Major political will is needed to make changes, and that requires a better understanding of community on the part of policy makers and citizens, too. The Gallup polling organization reports that the "well being" of metropolitan Americans is apparently "lower among workers with long commutes." The study, released this month, finds that "lengthy commuters are [...]

August 25th, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , |

SE5 Forum for Camberwell

I'm finding terrific websites for my old, and former, neighborhood, including SE5 Forum for Camberwell. Odd, isn't it that Great Barrington has nothing like this? Maybe not: Great Barrington has a year-round population of only 7,700, where Camberwell has 37,000. Demographics matter. Density creates new possibilities and provides what we used to talk about a lot, in the days when I was part of the leadership team of a Berkshire technology business network--critical mass. A rural area like this hasn't got the critical mass, the human or intellectual capital, of [...]

August 19th, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , |

Constant Gardens for New York

I belonged to a community garden as a teenager in Palo Alto and had an allotment in London, so it's easy for me to see the story behind this story in the New York Times. Things don't always work perfectly between people, even in the garden. (Remember that the Biblical creation story is set in a garden?) While we start with good intentions and visions of melons and mesclun, other things can interfere--not only weather and weeds but work and domestic pressures. I remember, guiltily, the inconsistent attention I gave [...]

August 19th, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: , , |

“Feel at home abroad” – Telegraph

Isn't this just an upmarket variation on the package holiday, rather than anything one can really call community? . . . they have a ready-made social life waiting for them. There is dinner in the local osteria with 15 families they have got to know well, or wine tastings and music festivals, to the entire village celebrating the annual olive harvest every November. via Feel at home abroad - Telegraph. I live in a tourist and second-home area, the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. No language barriers, but the divisions [...]

August 18th, 2010|Categories: Oddments|Tags: |