behavior · community · creativity · culture · design · happiness · health · Nature · Social

AARP awards annual grants to build communities

Know a spot in your community that could use a little love?

The application period for the 2020 AARP Community Challenge is open!

The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund “quick-action” projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are being accepted for projects to improve housing, transportation, public space, technology (“smart cities”), civic engagement and more.

In an era when Americans, especially older Americans, are lonelier than ever in history, it’s great to see the AARP creating funding opportunities for organizations to create third spaces of all kinds.

wood bench park autumn
Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

AARP will prioritize projects that aim to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Increasing civic engagement with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of community inclusion and diversity. (Although this category is targeted to local governments, nonprofit organizations can apply for and receive a grant in this category provided they demonstrate that they are working with local governments to solicit and include residents’ insights about the project or to help solve a pressing challenge.)
  • Create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
  • Support the availability of a range of housing that increases accessible and affordable housing options.
  • Demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” with programs that engage residents in accessing, understanding and using data, and participating in decision-making to increase the quality of life for all.
  • Other community improvements: In addition to the five areas of focus, AARP wants to hear about local needs and new, innovative ideas for addressing them.

Read all about it at the AARP site.

 

Hat tip to The Dirt for sharing this out, including a feature about last year’s winner:

In Los Angeles’ Westlake/MacArthur Park neighborhood, Golden Age Park shows the power of placemaking. With support from AARP, a property that was vacant for 30 years was transformed by landscape architect Daví de la Cruz into a community garden with a children’s play area and outdoor fitness space for adults.

behavior · community · culture · environment · happiness · health · mental health · Nature

Scientists have discovered that living near trees is good for your health – The Washington Post

While it may be better for you to take a walk in the woods than on an urban block, living near trees, even in an urban environment, has been found repeatedly to improve people’s health, even making them feel younger.

In a new paper published Thursday, a team of researchers present a compelling case for why urban neighborhoods filled with trees are better for your physical health. The research appeared in the open access journal Scientific Reports.

The large study builds on a body of prior research showing the cognitive and psychological benefits of nature scenery — but also goes farther in actually beginning to quantify just how much an addition of trees in a neighborhood enhances health outcomes. The researchers, led by psychologist Omid Kardan of the University of Chicago, were able to do so because they were working with a vast dataset of public, urban trees kept by the city of Toronto — some 530,000 of them, categorized by species, location, and tree diameter — supplemented by satellite measurements of non-public green space (for instance, trees in a person’s back yard).

They also had the health records for over 30,000 Toronto residents, reporting not only individual self-perceptions of health but also heart conditions, prevalence of cancer, diabetes, mental health problems and much more.

more via Scientists have discovered that living near trees is good for your health – The Washington Post.

I live in a fairly verdant neighborhood in a very green city, and this report still makes me want to go out and plant some more trees!

community · design · environment · happiness · Nature

In Philadelphia, More Green Innovations

A great example of re-energizing public space and making it more green and friendly.

THE DIRT

wall3
Last year in Philadelphia, Amtrak started tearing things up as part of new work on the west plaza of their 30th street station, replacing the underground parking garage roof. The only problem was it was right next to a new public space called the Porch, which had been created by the University City District, a non-profit in Philadelphia. So the team with the district decided to create an innovative green wall to block the views of the construction, providing a new model for how to camouflage the unsightly. According to Nate Hommel, ASLA, capital projects manager with the district, an average of 1,000 people walk past the popular Porch each hour. See a brief video about it below:

Hommel tells us that his team worked with local industrial designer Mario Gentile, Shift_Design, to create a “modular system” that can be used by the Porch and other public spaces once…

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architecture · behavior · creativity · design · environment

Soundscraper Transforms Vibrations from City Noise Pollution into Green Energy Soundscraper Generates Energy From Noise Pollution – Inhabitat

Cool idea, if perhaps a little, um, well, er, too organic?

Soundscraper Transforms Vibrations from City Noise Pollution into Green Energy Soundscraper Generates Energy From Noise Pollution – Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
The concept for the Soundscraper is that it would generate energy from noise pollution.

The Soundscraper is a futuristic structure designed to transform auditory vibrations from bustling cities into a source of clean energy. Designed by Julien Bourgeois, Olivier Colliez, Savinien de Pizzol, Cedric Dounval and Romain Grouselle, the Soundscraper is covered with noise-sensitive cilia that harvest kinetic energy while soaking up urban noise pollution.

more via Soundscraper Transforms Vibrations from City Noise Pollution into Green Energy Soundscraper Generates Energy From Noise Pollution – Inhabitat.

anthropology · architecture

The Rise of the Endless City

As humans go more urban, what that means for how we live together…

THE DIRT

sprawl
Showing an image of sprawled-out Mexico City, Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies, London School of Economics, told the crowd at the Innovative Metropolis conference hosted by the Brookings Institution and Washington University in St. Louis that we are now living in the era of the “endless city.” These cities are endless because they are humungous and also joining up together into megapolises, region-cities. But within the endless city, there are differences. As an example, Burdett said the average commute in Mexico City is 4 hours each way, while it’s just 11 minutes in Hong Kong. In other words, some are strained to the max and not very efficient while others work pretty well.

Cities now consume 70-75 percent of the world’s energy and account for 75 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Beyond the environmental implications of rapid urbanization, there are also social impacts. One-third of all…

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