Archeworks is an alternative design school where students work in multidisciplinary . . . . and so on and so forth. Anyway, I see it as a really cool program open to anyone, any age that wants to help communities. The students are presented with challenges so they work with locals to implement solutions. For instance, this year one group was involved in working with Little Village residents in Chicago (a lower income neighborhood) to design and build parks in some of the vacant lots (pocket parks) – they planted vegetables and flowers and developed spaces for people to socialize and to deter gangs. Another group worked on creating new ideas on how to link communities (lower income) that don’t have access to the train. Can you imagine being trapped in a small radius around your house because crime could be lurking around the corner? This group not only included adding bike lanes and electric trams but suggested closing streets on certain days so children could ride bikes and play in the street. Both of those bind communities – people work together to create safe neighborhoods. Stacy’s group worked on water shortage – they came up with a plan for a comprehensive website – www.waterpressures.org that will inform people about this issue and how to reduce usage. Did you know that eating meat contributes to one of the greatest uses of water? How about the water used to flush toilets? As I heard quoted from a speaker at a home show last year, “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” . . . He added another piece of advice – stick a brick in the water tank of your toilet and you’ll use less water.
Stacy graduated from the year-long Archeworks program last Saturday. The speaker was Scott Bernstein who spoke about creating sustainable communities. He said that it’s more sustainable to live in cities because people in the suburbs have two or three cars and double the square footage house. There are some green buildings way out that really aren’t eco because people have to drive far to get to them. He mentioned that the average size of a family is shrinking but the houses are getting bigger. What are the using the extra space for? Maybe to set up rooms that look like they were plucked from a catalog photo.
I can honestly say that I’m happy that we’re in an economic crisis . . . I have a feeling that people will start to focus on what’s really important instead of working their asses of to buy the next great gadget.