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From The New Yorker: In France, Elder Care Comes with the Mail – Carriers for La Poste have a new job: checking in on the aged.

A mail carrier in Lomita, CA will knock on the door of my 95 year old grandmother every day there is a mail delivery, just out of the kindness of his heart. With this new service in France, postal carriers will also notify the elders’ families of any updates. It is so good to see this natural kind of fit become more structured and organized, and doing more to keep elders connected to their community and family members.

For less than 40 euros a month Monique Jaspart receives weekly home visit from her mail carrier Aurore Raquet through a program called Veiller Sur Mes Parents - Watch over my parents
From the New Yorker: For less than forty euros a month, Monique Jaspart receives weekly home visits from her mail carrier, Aurore Raguet, through a program called Veiller Sur Mes Parents (“Watch Over My Parents”).

From The New Yorker:

In a sense, Watch Over My Parents was created by accident. The service began in 2013, after a heat wave, when a number of overburdened city halls asked their local post offices to check on vulnerable and elderly residents. Éric Baudrillard, the director of V.S.M.P., told me that there has always been a “natural link between the French and their postal workers.” At first, La Poste was happy to do the check-ins for free. Soon afterward, though, it proposed a paid version of the program, called Cohésio, for insurance companies and municipal governments. The service was extended to the general public in 2017, under the name V.S.M.P.

In France, as in many developed countries, people are living longer than ever before. By 2035, a third of the population will be over sixty. Millions of people over the age of seventy-five already live alone. As the population ages and disperses, with more young people moving away from their birthplaces, traditional safety nets—family, community, the government—may not be enough to support the elderly. V.S.M.P. is a response to this grim prognosis; La Poste sees opportunity in “la silver économie.”

Read the entire article Here .

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Still kicking!

Hello old friends!
It has been awhile since I’ve written. I’ve missed you all.

I’ve taken on some new projects in my life the last few months that are truly all-consuming. Fun (mostly) but also requiring a lot of time, and frankly the same brain power I normally use for this blog.
I also am considering tweaking the blog a bit – not a lot, just making it more focused. But I’d love to hear your thoughts, what do YOU want to learn more about? What is exciting for you to read and ponder?

I’ve also gone on so many fun, enriching experiences that I want to share here (so much for focusing. 😉 )

For now, I just wanted to share a few photos of my adventures, both big and small.

I suppose I could just check in with more short notes like this – I always strive to create something great, but sometimes just showing up is great enough.
I’ll keep checking in.

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Break the system – with flowers (Guerilla Gardening)

Because nature is chaotic! Gardening is cathartic and also great at just forcing us into being playful and seeing what happens.

I’ve been having a hard time getting out and playing in my garden this summer – and everything has turned to weeds!
I’ve been looking for some inspiration, or some way to make things more "fun".

Whenever I need a little playful inspiration, I just look up "Guerilla Gardening" and am never disappointed.

Check out one of the original Guerilla Gardening sources: http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggtroopdigs2.html

Curious? Want to start? Yes please! Fight the power, with flowers! Here are some tips to get started:

https://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggtips.html

https://www.seattleweekly.com/arts/a-beginners-guide-to-guerrilla-gardening/

disease · environment · health · mental health · psychology · Social

Living in the Age of Stress

The Hartman Group, a market research firm which over the past 30 years has focused on food culture, made a pretty startling discovery in their latest study on health and wellness. For the first time ever, anxiety and stress were the biggest concerns of people, versus obesity or other more traditional “wellness” issues.

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Check out the original

It is more important than ever that we start working on reducing stress, anxiety, and build up social support and physical practices.

I feel almost hypocritical writing this as I’m currently suffering from a stiff neck due to a combination of a bad pillow and stress (mostly stress). However, I think it’s important to share this data and point out the fact that this is a wide-spread issue, because we often feel so ALONE in our stress and anxiety; we have this sense that because we brought it on ourselves we need to suffer by ourselves. Stress, anxiety, and depression also make us want to turn inward and feel more lonely.

But it’s NOT our fault, and NOT something we should bear alone. First, anxiety or depression comes from two places – 1) our serotonin receptors are misfiring (not our fault), and/or 2) isolation and feeling overwhelmed, which is the PERFECT time to ask for social support!

Let’s break the cycle! How? As the Hartman article points out, exercise is a great option! Exposure to nature and natural serotonin regulation, not to mention building muscles and clearing your brain both figuratively and literally, as exercise as been shown to reduce the senile plaque that builds up in our brains as we age and is connected to dementia. Also creative endeavors and sleep are hugely helpful.

What things inspire you? Tell me in the comments below.

architecture · community · play

Seattle may get a new neighborhood. How will they incorporate green and playful space?

The National Guard is moving out of its long-time location in Interbay, a historically industrial part of North Seattle. It is near two very posh neighborhoods, close to the tech and business center of Seattle, and right next to the new light rail being developed and built over the next decade.

Seattle wants to be proactive about how they design this new space. There is a sense of inevitability hanging over this project that it will be dominated by high-density condos and be catered to the young urban techies working at Amazon, Google, and Facebook all just two miles down the road.

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But it doesn’t have to be. Or rather, that high-density urban development doesn’t HAVE to preclude itself from ALSO including green spaces and playful design incorporated into the end product.

The location itself is also a serendipitous mix amazing natural features like water and parks in a central location to many in Seattle, at least those north of downtown.

Lots of different consultants and teams are already weighing in on what this area could look like.

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Plan above from of the KUOW article that cued me into this. Notice there isn’t a lot of incorporation of play structures or green space, other than the trees lining the light rail path and a couple of smaller parks.

Interested to learn more? The city is having an open house Wednesday May 15, 2019, to discuss options. It would be GREAT to have voices go and support the need for open play spaces in the new development, whatever it may look like. Bring your ideas and let your voice be heard:

Interbay Public Development Open House

architecture · design · environment · happiness · health · Nature

Singapore Opens New Garden Airport

Singapore is famous for its greenery, dedication to parks and green spaces, and impressive architecture. They have combined all of that into their new international airport.

REPOST from ASLA blog The Dirt:

The new Jewel Changi airport features a 6-acre indoor forest, walking trails, and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. This restorative mecca filled with 2,500 trees and 100,000 shrubs not only revitalizes weary international travelers but is also open to the public.

This includes an inside bamboo forest, canopy-level train system, and an incredible water feature that also recycles rain water.

Jewel Changi provides that nearby natural respite with a 5-story-tall forest encased in a 144,000-square-foot steel and glass donut structure. During rain storms, water pours through an oculus in the roof — creating the 130-foot-tall Rain Vortex, a mesmerizing waterfall sculpture that can accommodate up to 10,000 gallons per minute at peak flow. Stormwater is then recycled throughout the building.

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As anyone who experienced the stress of air travel can attest, the onslaught of digital signs, loud speakers announcing departures, shops blaring music, and carts flying by quickly leads to draining sensory overload. Now imagine if there was a natural place to take a break amid the cacophony. As many studies have shown, just 10 minutes of immersion in nature can reduce stress, restore cognitive ability, and improve mood.

With Jewel Changi, Singapore has reinvented what an airport can be, just as they re-imagined what a hospital can be with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, which is not only a medical facility but also a green hub open to the community. Now let’s hope Singapore’s biophilic design culture spreads around the world. International airports are in fierce competition for passengers and regularly one-up each other with new wow-factor amenities, shops, and restaurants.

I realize that Singapore has a lot more support, both culturally and financially, than other places in the world to implement this kind of space. However, hopefully the value from a cultural, health, and tourism dollar standpoint will make it worth it for other countries to invest in adding even small elements of this to their public spaces like hospitals, airports, and other spaces.

See original post.

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In Copenhagen, You Can Ski Down This Power Plant

Why not invite the public to use space that would otherwise appear unwelcoming? It also encourages physical activity and fitness, and brings attention to the facilities in a positive way.

THE DIRT

Copenhill / Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

Eight years ago Danish architect Bjarke Ingels came up with a fantastical idea — build a ski slope on top of a power plant. Well, now, it has actually happened — the $660 million Amager Bakke is preparing to welcome adventurous ski bunnies in Copenhagen. Known to locals as Copenhill, this cutting-edge renewable energy system converts waste into energy while giving sports lovers access to a 2,000-feet-long ski slope, a 295-feet-high climbing wall, and hiking and running paths. The project is the most visible demonstration yet of Copenhagen’s determination to become the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025.

According to Babcock & Wilcox Vølund, the engineers of the power plant, Copenhill will convert 400,000 tons of waste each year into heat for 250,000 homes and energy for another 62,500 while producing zero toxic air pollution. Some 100,000 pounds of ash collected…

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Shadow-Casted Artwork Tells the Story of Time on an Indian Street

Art is an important part of a community’s landscape. It stops and makes us reconsider the environment and structures around us.

THE DIRT

We can feel the passage of time as we watch the sun chart its course across the sky. But we have also become accustomed to the daily arc of our closest star. To bring the movement of the sun — and the progression of time — into the foreground, Indian street artist Daku leveraged the sun’s shadow-casting power to create a temporary installation — Theories of Time — for the St+art India art festival along a commercial street in Panjim, Goa.

Theories of Time / Daku

A street-long awning holds up stenciled adages that project shadows forming a tapestry of words on the ground: “Things take time; time is a great teacher; time heals all wounds; lost time is…

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community · creativity · culture · play · Social

For Lunar New Year, MonkeyShine Artists Create Art Treasure Hunt in Tacoma, WA

Looking for a way to get outside on a cold, gray day in the Pacific Northwest? And find fun art pieces? AND celebrate Lunar New Year?

How about treasure hunting for #monkeyshines! Volunteer glass artists create small glass tokens or pendants and then hide them all over Tacoma for people to find, just around the Lunar New Year.

Read more happening in Tacoma, WA:

We are local artists and lovers of all things Tacoma. Our identities are secret-that is part of the magic of Monkeyshines.

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Rogue monkeys have been busy and there are more wonderful gifts to be found this year than ever. I will be featuring monkeys in another blog post tonight or tomorrow.

And don’t forget all of the amazing things that our monkey friends and rogue monkeys are creating.  It gets better and better every year.  The best part of this Tacoma tradition is how everyone is out exploring our city,  making new friends, picking up trash and thinking about what they can create and share with others. How will you give back?

Check out the #monkeyshines2019 hashtag on Twitter for real time updates on what monkeys, monkey friends and rogue monkeys are creating and hiding; You can also find that hashtag in use on Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow a certain Naughty Monkey @ANaughtyMonkey on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/ANaughtyMonkey

Share your finds on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MonkeyShines2019

Be Safe, Have fun, and remember…. “TAKE ONLY ONE”

The artists have chosen to remain anonymous, but the collective of artists have agreed to continue doing this for another 12-year cycle!

You can listen to a podcast with two of the monkey artists (their voices were even anonymized to keep them a secret!).

Also check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MonkeyshinesTacoma/

 

 

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Forest Bathing Goes Global

There are numerous studies that find going for a walk or sitting outside in nature, or just being able to see nature from your window, has measurable immediate health benefits.

THE DIRT

Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing / Timber Press

One can argue that humans have purposefully immersed themselves in forests in order to revitalize their spiritual, mental, and physical health for thousands of years. But in 1982, Tomohide Akiyama, director of Japan’s forestry agency, put a name to this, coining the term shinrin yoku, which can be translated as forest bathing. Since then, interest in the practice has skyrocketed among both the public and scientific researchers. And last year, forest bathing may have hit a tipping point, with four books published on this natural therapeutic approach. Forest bathing seems poised to go global, as interest expands beyond Japan into the rest of Asia and throughout the West.

In Shinrin Yoku, The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing, Yoshifumi Miyazaki — who is a professor at the Chiba University center for environment, health, and field sciences; coiner of the…

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