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B5. Resilience, Third Nature, and Transition

Agriculture productivity – Food and agriculture number crunching, part 4

Resilience - Thu, 02/02/2023 - 04:54

In total some 850 million people are working in agriculture globally of which more than half in lower-middle income countries (e.g. India, Indonesia, Kenya) and just 16 million in high income countries.

Sisyphus, Science & Carbon Removal

Resilience - Thu, 02/02/2023 - 04:13

The choice to back CDR is conditioned by a desire in society at large to meet net-zero whilst maintaining an economic paradigm and way of life.

Thursday’s Headlines Are Ridin’ With Biden

Streetsblog USA - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 21:24

  • President Biden is touting infrastructure funding for Baltimore and Hudson River train tunnels in the runup to his state of the union address next week. (CNN)
  • The U.S. DOT is awarding $800 million in grants to 500 communities with the highest rates of traffic deaths, and launching new tools to help those communities pinpoint where to spend it. (Washington Post)
  • Electric vehicles are too big and too expensive, and they ought to be taxed by weight. (Slate)
  • A recent study found that charging a mid-priced EV is more expensive than filling up the tank of an equivalent internal combustion car. (Jalopnik)
  • Working from home has reduced commute times by an average of two hours a week. (World Economic Forum)
  • Protected bike infrastructure is especially important for women, who are actually more likely to be hit by cars because they’re more likely than men to follow traffic laws. (Harvard Gazette)
  • Driverless cars are causing chaos in San Francisco, but the city is powerless to stop them because they’re regulated by the state. (Standard)
  • The new police chief at Denver’s transit agency is cracking down on violence and harassment, and will no longer let people ride trains indefinitely. (CBS News)
  • I-277 tore apart Black neighborhoods in Charlotte and should be removed or turned into a surface road. (UNC Charlotte Urban Institute)
  • Charlotte is considering building roads first and pushing back transit projects to win approval from Republican state lawmakers for a $13.5 billion transportation tax. (WFAE)
  • The Oregon DOT is finally recognizing e-bikes in planning for charging infrastructure. (Bike Portland)
  • Columbus, Ohio is considering lowering downtown speed limits to 25 miles per hour. (ABC 6)
  • Entitled drivers have been whining about parking for 100 years. (Streetsblog NYC)

Request for Proposals from Architects

DOWNLOAD A PDF VERSION HERE

Project Description 

In July, Mountain Association acquired the former First Federal Savings & Loan building at the intersection of Main and Lovern streets in downtown Hazard, KY. The building is approximately 11,800 square feet over three floors and is masonry construction. The building was originally three structures developed into one over time, stretching from the 1960’s to the mid 1980’s. It is located in the flood plain. Mountain Association has completed an Environmental Phase 1 and Phase 2 process, and environmental abatement has been completed. 

Mountain Association proposes to redevelop the property to mixed-use, utilizing the bottom level as multi-tenant commercial, with a preference for food & beverage service and office space for our local operations. The upper floors are envisioned as commercial meeting and office space and multiple residential units.   

While we do not anticipate seeking LEED certification, Mountain Association is very interested in clean, green materials and responsible and resilient design. Noting this building’s location, flood resilience is of interest. 

Mountain Association sees this project as a natural continuation of our commitment to revitalizing local communities and local economies.  We opened our Hazard office in 2011 and have been engaged with the local community on downtown revitalization efforts for many years.  We believe this project is an opportunity to demonstrate our values and also that the social return on investment can be as important as the financial return.   

About Mountain Association 

The Mountain Association invests in people and places in Eastern Kentucky to advance a just transition to a new economy that is more diverse, sustainable, equitable and resilient. 

We serve this mission in a number of ways. Our Lending team offers loans to existing and startup businesses and organizations. We are a Community Development Financial Institution certified by the US Treasury and we maintain a $20 million portfolio of loans to small businesses and nonprofits in Eastern Kentucky.  As a non-profit, we can offer greater flexibility and can lend to those who may not otherwise qualify.  Unlike most traditional lenders, we offer flexible payment schedules and a variety of other services. 

Our Business Support program connects business owners and nonprofit leaders to consultants who can help them succeed – from website development to professional photography, and more. 

Our Energy experts help businesses, nonprofits, public agencies and homeowners find much-needed energy savings. We do this through utility bill analysis, on-site energy efficiency and solar assessments, financing, and grant application support. 

We also engage in research, communications and advocacy for policy and narrative change, and work with partners on a variety of projects to demonstrate what’s possible in Eastern Kentucky

Budget & Timeline 

Mountain Association has approved a tentative budget of $2,750,000 for the overall project, including design and construction. 

Mountain Association recognizes the possibility of a multi-year / multi-phase process but would prefer to occupy the first floor as early as is reasonably possible.  

Request 

Mountain Association seeks qualified individual or firm to provide architectural services for the project under a scope of work to be negotiated and agreed upon between the parties, but should include: 

  1. Feasibility & Analysis
  • Document Existing Building  
  • Review proposed programmatic uses and assumptions 
  • Engage staff in a collaborative design process. 
  • Work with client and trades to determine final uses. 
  1. Project Design & Development 
  • Develop all design documents for project, by phase (as appropriate). 
  • Deliver construction budget estimates and update as needed. 
  • Coordinate with trades throughout all stages of demolition and construction for needed information. 
  • Coordinate with MA staff to ensure design meets energy efficiency requirements and appropriate specifications for renewable energy systems, primarily solar.   

Selection Process 

Mountain Association will review submitted proposals on a rolling basis and evaluate them based on criteria outlined further below beginning February 24th, 2023.   Mountain Association may select the highest qualified proposal or interview a selection of firms based on proposals. Respondents seeking additional information or to schedule a site visit may contact Special Projects Manager Les Roll by email at les@mtassocation.org

Requirements for Proposals 

1. Information about the Individual / Firm 

  • Name of Firm or Company 
  • Address 
  • Location of any Branch Offices 
  • Telephone 
  • Name, Email, and Telephone Number of Primary Contact 
  • Name of Principal Architect and Architect Registration Number 
  • Evidence of Liability Insurance and License to do business in Hazard and Perry County. 

2. Overview & Experience 

  • Provide a brief history of your firm / practice and information about completed projects of a similar nature over the past 5 years.  
  • Provide information about experience with projects located in the flood plain. 
  • Provide information about projects completed in Eastern Kentucky in the past 5 years, if any. 

3. Summary Statement 

  • Provide a summary statement of not more than one page which summarizes the reasons you feel your firm is best qualified for this project. 

4. Project Organization 

  • Provide an organization chart which outlines key staff members and the roles you anticipate they will perform in the project.  

5. Ability to Complete Projects within Budget and On Time 

Choose three projects listed above that are most similar to this project and provide the following additional information: 

  • Owner’s Construction Budget 
  • Architect’s Construction Estimate 
  • Total Cost of Project 
  • Scheduled timeline for design activities 
  • Actual timeline for design activities 

6. References 

  • List not more than 5 client references of similar projects, providing a contact name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number.  If the reference project is not included in the information above, also provide a brief synopsis of the project. 

Submission Instructions 

Submissions should be received by February 24, 2023 by EOB, and are requested in the following format: 

1. PDF Copy emailed to 479main@mtassociation.org, addressed to Les Roll  

2. One physical copy, mailed to the following address:  

Mountain Association 

Attn: Les Roll 

420 Main Street 

Hazard, KY 41701 

Binna Choi of the Casco Art Institute: Curating Art through Commoning

Resilience - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 07:03

Choi has brought the ethic and practices of commoning to the creation of art and its exhibition. She and her colleagues have embraced commoning as an organizing principle for how a diverse team of artists can make art and work together.

David Sloan Wilson: “Chickens, Cooperation and a Pro-social World”

Resilience - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 07:02

On this episode, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson joins Nate to unpack how evolution can be used to explain and understand modern human behavior, particularly with respect to cooperation and pro-social behavior.

Food and agriculture number crunching, part 3

Resilience - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 07:01

Almost 3,000 kcal per person per day is made available for consumers, who “need” in the range of 2,100 kcal per person per day.

Fusion Energy: A Different Take

Resilience - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 04:28

Indeed, one thing seems indisputable: Unleashing fusion in an unbounded, growth-driven economy would be a wholesale disaster.

Sustainability can (and must) be beautiful

Resilience - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 03:23

To fulfill the vision that sets the practice of sustainability in motion—the vision of life coordinating with life in ways that ensure the flourishing of life—ethics and aesthetics must be reintegrated.

Is “Polycrisis” the Right Word for Our Times?

Resilience - Wed, 02/01/2023 - 02:56

But as the American anthropologist and historian Joseph Tainter documents in his seminal book, The Collapse of Complex Societies, this is what “advanced,” hierarchical human societies do—they respond to challenges created by their complexity with ever more complexity. This may work in the short-term but usually leads to the underlying crises worsening in the long term.

Kids’ Psychology Affects How They Behave Around Cars — And Regulators Should Take Note

Streetsblog USA - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 21:43

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken steps to understand how a wider range of bodies are likely to fare when they’re involved in a car crash. But as regulators finally begin to look outside the car, some researchers think it’s time they start thinking about our brains, too — particularly when it comes to kids.

Jodie Plumert. Photo: University of Iowa

Those questions have long been a fascination for Jodie Plumert, a University of Iowa professor who’s made a career out of studying the psychology of how pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users behave on the road, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable ones of all: children with still-developing brains.

“What is it about being an immature organism that puts you at risk for injury?” Plumert said in an interview with Streetsblog. “[Is it] perceptual motor skills, cognitive skills, decision-making skills, even social skills? [What are] the factors, and how do they contribute to why people get killed and injured [in car crashes]?”

In recent years, that interest has taken her into the world of virtual reality. Along with her colleague, computer science professor Joe Kearney, she has asked kids and teenagers to cross countless simulated roads, and found that children consistently struggle not just to decide when it’s safe to enter the street, but to actually get their little bodies moving.

“If you watch adults cross the road, they’ll often cross very closely behind the forward vehicle — but kids don’t,” Plumert adds.”It just takes them longer. The younger the child is, the more they tend delay the initiation of that crossing, and they end up with more close calls, and even getting hit more by virtual cars.”

A simulator from one of Plumert’s studies. Photo: Research Gate

Those findings may seem intuitive to anyone who’s ever struggled to get a toddler to stop looking at a cloud and hustle already, but they’re largely under-discussed among the people who design the U.S. transportation system. While the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices acknowledges that some people take longer than the industry-recommended 3.5 seconds to cross a 10-foot travel lane in a crosswalk, it doesn’t explicitly acknowledge that many kids take longer than that, or that they deserve a big buffer even outside of school zones where they’re most regularly walking.

Needless to say, speed-focused design standards also aren’t very forgiving of children who might attempt to cross outside of a crosswalk and might struggle to negotiate an even more complex roadway environment — or a kid who might go chasing after a ball and not pause to look both ways before they attempt to retrieve it.

When it comes to vehicle safety, Plumert wonders whether regulators should be doing more to acknowledge the unique psychology of children, too — especially as automated driving technology becomes more and more prevalent. Robocars, after all, might not be able to recognize the sometimes erratic ways that kids sometimes move through the world, unless we take the time to teach them.

“AVs, essentially, use deep learning algorithms to detect what’s an obstacle and what’s not, and to do that, we feed [the system] all these examples into it so it can learn,” Plumert adds. “And one thing we definitely need to feed into it is lots of images of short individuals running out behind or in front of a car quickly.”

In America’s driveways, though, children are often endangered even when they’re sitting still — because their parents’ and caregivers’ cars are so big that they can’t see a small body in their path. That problem has become even more pronounced since SUVs began dominating U.S. roads in the 2010’s, many of which have such massive blind spots both behind and in front of the car that TV journalists have taken to lining up classrooms full of preschoolers in front of them to demonstrate their safety hazards. Plumert says, though, that the problem isn’t just that kids aren’t visible from the driver’s seat of a Hummer, but that kids might not always move as quickly as an adult when they see a car coming at them — and if that vehicle isn’t equipped with an effective automatic emergency braking system, that could spell tragedy.

“Should these warning systems account for the size of the person behind the car?” she wonders. “Should they, perhaps, give an extra warning if that person is small?”

Graphic: Kids and Cars

Plumert acknowledges that education can fill some of the gaps in children’s struggles to stays safe on the road, and she’s done some promising research that demonstrates that parents can have a big impact on crossing behaviors in particular. At the end of the day, though, it’s up to the adults in the room to design streets and vehicles that won’t kill a child if they make a mistake, whether because they’re being egged on by peers, because they struggle with hyperactivity or inattention disorders, or simply because they’re kids who are still learning how to navigate a car-dominated world.

“We design buildings so that they’re ADA compliant and accessible, and we know that when you do that, it makes buildings safer for everyone,” Plumert adds. “If we can figure out more ways to make road crossing safer for kids, we can make it safer for everyone, too — including people who are really good at interacting with traffic.”

Ain’t No Wednesday’s Headlines Wide Enough

Streetsblog USA - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 21:00

  • The best new bike lanes are in New Jersey, Providence, Portland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, suburban D.C. and even South Carolina and Indiana. (People for Bikes)
  • Micromobility vehicles like scooters and e-bikes deserve more attention in conversations around climate change. (Smart Cities Dive)
  • This Associated Press story frames the Biden administration’s fix-it-first policy as a blow to put-upon “advocates for road construction” like suburban mayors, even when that “road construction” comes at the expense of transit projects.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to fast-track 20 road-widening projects at a cost of $7 billion. (WPTV)
  • In addition to gas tax revenue and federal infrastructure funds, Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons is proposing $859 million for highway widening. (Next STL)
  • Washington, D.C. is now the largest U.S. city with fare-free buses after the city council approved a zero-fare policy without Mayor Muriel Bowser’s approval. (CNBC)
  • San Francisco’s bike plan will focus on neighborhoods that historically feel left out of transportation decisions. (The Frisc)
  • The Boston Chamber of Commerce is backing a Massachusetts bill to study congestion pricing. (Herald)
  • Salt Lake City has plans to replace a mountain highway with gondolas to cut down on crashes and emissions. (Electrek)
  • Now that Portland has taken over 82nd Avenue from the state, planning starts in earnest to provide better bus service. (Bike Portland)
  • Charlotte will soon decide on a route for the Silver Line. (Axios)
  • The Denver city council voted to decriminalize jaywalking. (Denverite)
  • People all over the world are starting “bike buses” so their kids can all ride to school together. Here’s how to start yours. (Wired)

“Entitled” Bike Lane Lady Speaks Out

Streetsblog USA - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 16:32

On a rainy December 29, advocate Stacey Randecker was out riding on 7th Street just north of Townsend when she came across the fifth motorist parked in the bike lane during her half-mile ride. It was an ambulance–which was not responding to an obvious emergency–blocking a protected bike lane.

The bike lane’s plastic “protection” failed to keep this motorist out, but, when the lane is blocked, it does force cyclists to either dismount and walk around the lane-markers or risk a crash trying to ride over them. Randecker was at the end of her proverbial rope after encountering so many drivers in the bike lane, and really let the driver know it. The driver did move the ambulance, and Randecker posted video about the incident, which got picked up by right-wing media outlets.

They dubbed her an ‘entitled cyclist of San Francisco’ (for the record, a cyclist actually is entitled to use bike lanes. A motorist is not).

Randecker decided to bring the matter to the fire commission, the board that’s supposed to oversee the fire department, during public comment at its January 11 regular meeting.

Streetsblog watched the meeting. Randecker was the only person to address the commission during public comment. And she brought a perfectly legitimate complaint about 1) a city employee who put the public at risk and 2) a fire department public information officer who lied, claiming that the EMTs in question were dealing with an emergency when they were not.

In Streetsblog’s experience, to the extent that it’s possible, most city councils, county supervisors, and local commissions try to address public complaints and comments during these oversight meetings, even if it’s sometimes perfunctory. But the fire commission ignored Randecker’s testimony.

The fire commission is kind of an obscure board that doesn’t get as much attention as other governmental bodies such as the SFMTA board. That’s why Streetsblog thought it in the interest of readers–especially lawmakers–to hear about this incident, because it’s illustrative of a city department that seems to have decided that the law doesn’t apply to them.

Here is a trimmed version of Randecker’s comments to the commissioners about the incident:

I was biking to a meeting (~11:30am) when I came across SFFD ambulance 50 parked in the bike lane on 7th Street. This was the FIFTH vehicle blocking the bike lane in just FIVE minutes of riding. I was incensed at the constant obstructions and their obvious lack of concern.

Randecker gave the only public comment during the commission’s regular meeting on Jan. 11. Image from GovTV

I could not “just bike around them,” as I had the previous offenders, due to the delineators SFMTA used. Those delineators have sent people to the hospital riding over them in dry weather. No sane San Francisco bike rider would tackle them in rain, which means you must get off your bike–which we all do during an emergency, which this was not.

They could have parked in:

  • the empty motorcycle parking
  • the nearly empty Room & Board parking lot
  • any one of THREE main travel lanes
  • or on the opposite side of the street as they did after I demanded they move.

No. They chose to block the bike lane.

I filmed this encounter because I have had enough of SFFD vetoing all manner of traffic calming measures. It’s been almost nine years since this city committed to Vision Zero. The SFFD begrudgingly signed on, but their veto power shows deaths from traffic violence have RISEN by one-third since 2013. The death count is FOUR times what it should be if we were on track to eliminate traffic deaths.

The fire department uses the bogeyman of “your house burning down” as a reason to block safer streets, but structure fires are down 56 percent over the past twenty years. They used to be nearly 1/5 of emergency calls. Today they represent just six percent of calls. What portion is the response to car crashes? How much could that go down if we had safer streets?

I complain about how unsafe it is to bike our streets often. I had no reason to think this would get any attention. But it did, because @SFFD PIO Jonathan Baxter retweeted my video of the incident with this:

There was no emergency at that location.

Their prior call was 35 minutes earlier to an address a quarter mile away and that person declined medical transport.

Jonathan Baxter could have said nothing. Instead he lied and essentially said, “we can block a bike lane for any reason. Deal with it.” He has since deleted the tweet.

This is systemic. Discredit, deny, dismiss–and we’ll park wherever we damn well please. I am thankful for our first responders. They have difficult jobs. But their job is to help people, not endanger them.

***

For readers unfamiliar with the history of San Francisco’s fire department and its behind-the-scenes fight against Vision Zero, check out this Q&A from 2018.

Strategies Beyond Borders: Tales of Time Banks

Global Tapestry of Alternatives - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 12:03
Strategies Beyond Borders: Tales of Time Banks Come join us for an interactive session on “time banking”- a form of social-economic- political organizing that recognises that everyone has contributions to make and needs to fulfill. University Students and Faculty from New York and India who have already participated in setting up a time bank in their classroom will discuss their experience. The session will include an opportunity for participants to share offers and needs in small groups, using…

Main page

Global Tapestry of Alternatives - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 12:01
Global of Weavers [Weavers] GTA is a “network of networks”. Each of those networks acts in different parts of the planet by identifying and connecting Alternatives. They are the Weavers. [Endorsements] Many progressive, post-developent and anticapitalist organizations around the world endorse this initiative. Also many academics, activists and referents do so.GTAGTAGTAGTAalternatives

Towards a Post-Extractive Culture: a gathering of souls dreaming and building post-extractive cultures - 23, 24, 25 Feb 2023 - created

Global Tapestry of Alternatives - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 11:59
Towards a Post-Extractive Culture: a gathering of souls dreaming and building post-extractive cultures - 23, 24, 25 Feb 2023 More information and registration in this link. About this event Towards a Post-Extractive Culture is an experimental event that explores new approaches and alternatives

Events - [Towards a Post-Extractive Culture: a gathering of souls dreaming and building post-extractive cultures - 23/02/2023 to 25/02/2023]

Global Tapestry of Alternatives - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 11:55
Events Future events Towards a Post-Extractive Culture: a gathering of souls dreaming and building post-extractive cultures - 23/02/2023 to 25/02/2023 Towards a Post-Extractive Culture is an experimental event that explores new approaches and alternatives that will help us to escape the extractivist ‘trap’ of the modern, colonial, heteropatriarchal, capitalist paradigm. A three-day gathering (two days held at the Stedelijk Museum and the third at OT301) featuring workshops, thinking-feeling…

Are we seeing the collapse of the dollar-dominated global economy?

Resilience - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 09:42

The near future is one of grave uncertainty and instability as the new global monetary regime takes shape.

Why gas stoves matter to the climate – and the gas industry: Keeping them means homes will use gas for heating too

Resilience - Tue, 01/31/2023 - 09:40

As I see it, if “cooking with gas” keeps us tethering new homes to natural gas grids for decades to come, our health, climate and wallets will pay the price.

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