Majora Carter. An urban visionary.

“Shifting charity into enterprise”

It’s amazing how quickly her voice, excitement and perseverance can change everything that you were thinking at one precise moment.   I like to watch her talks on Ted.com every couple of months, to remind myself WHY I am doing what I am doing.  If you haven’t seen her Ted Talks, shame on you. Watch them, again and again.

She was the executive director of Sustainable South Bronx, a non-profit focused on public advocacy and environmental solutions.  They create green jobs, train individuals for these jobs and push for improvements on air quality in urban communities.  She now has a staff and consulting firm, Majora Carter Group, that help visions become a reality.  This is just one of the amazing human beings in this world really making a difference.

Collaboration with Wooden Sheep

Here’s a the first built project with Savannah High and Wooden sheep in a little more detail.  I posted a couple of more pictures on Southern Pine’s blog

Or click here too!

Design for social awareness with Russian prison jargon

Yep, I said it.

Russian Prison Jargon.

I firmly believe that to design is to constantly educate.  Education should come full circle through beginning draft stages, ideation, implementation and end of life.  Every hand or mind it touches along the way should learn something.  That is good design.

And apparently so are i-pad bags constructed by Russian prisoners.  And also controversial. Is a program like this giving criminals too many options?  Are they aware of their guilt with every seam they sew on the messenger bags?

Silly questions really, but it’s also silly that a positive program that reinstates labor skill and sense of well being took so long to be implemented?

Organic cotton, recycled PVC billboards, water based inks….okay I’ll stop rambling because I need to go look at the bags that are almost as tough & hard as people who make them”.

New Urbanism…on the Old Star Laundry Site

Empty, overgrown urban lots have quite the story.  They have been homes to native plant life, animals, humans, food, etc.  Overtime, human occupancy has created what’s called an urban area.

Backyard green space located on 34th and Reynolds Streets

Our Savannah urban area has seen many phases, face lifts and dormant stages over the years.  Most recently the stage of urban decay has taken over.  My focus: curing the blighted area in our own backyard at Southern Pine Company of Georgia.

It all started with a need for a greenhouse and now, well NOW we have Savannah High school special education students on our site kicking us into high gear.  We have been cleaning, recycling and planting to the plot of land in the back of Southern Pine’s building, and for those of you that were unable to take a peek at the new garden while at RE:fest, well I have included some progress photos!

And this is just the beginning phase of a wonderful apprenticeship!!

Savannah High students helping clear the garden space

STAY TUNED for updates on the program!!!

Connecting Youth with Apprenticeships

Some countries recognize a “leap year” for highschoolers.  This is when newly highschool graduates take off one year in between highschool and college.  Some youth might clear their heads by picking up a back pack and traveling, or working a full time job or sitting on their bum eating fish and chips.  However, this “leap year” is suppose to help guide a person towards their ultimate career and life choice.

Here in America we don’t enable that type of behavior.  We have you on a career track by age 13, writing college prep papers at 15 and applying for over-priced schools at 17 and starting a lifetime of debt at 18.  Is this the best solution for all?

Disabled youth get lost in the sea of statistics of the unemployed, drop out youth and have become stereotyped as “unable because disabled”.  However, an apprenticeship is something that could change statistics, help youth gain hands on job experience, and maybe even clear a child’s head and point him/her in the direction they do or don’t want to go down.  Now this sounds like a plan for all: the disabled, unable and fully able.

With over 1,000 recognizable apprentice-able occupations, why not explore additional options for the new youth of America?

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth explores in the ins and outs of completing a successful apprenticeship.

Read it and soak it up!

A Mobile Greenhouse Project: Compass Green

So it all started with a thought, then a truck, then a kickstarter.  Now Compass Green is on the road to spread the word of sustainable garden techniques to children, schools and the community, literally they are a greenhouse on the road.   So SCAD…wanna bring Compass Green to our campus??

Compass Green is a fully functional greenhouse built in the back of a box truck that grows vegetables and herbs and is powered by waste vegetable oil. We teach practical farming tools and raise awareness on sustainability through presentations, workshops, and greenhouse tours at schools, camps, organizations and communities. Our curriculum is focused on Bio-intensive methods of sustainable farming—producing the maximum yields with the minimum amount of resources.

With an ever-increasing population and an alarming decrease in farmable soil, we feel it is important to share practical solutions to turn our situation of agricultural scarcity into one of abundance. Compass Green will inspire people across the country to be creative and utilize any and all space they can to grow food.

Compass Green Website

Retro-fitting Suburbia

This is a really great article discussing our post-war suburbia with white picket fences and garages that all seem to be going into foreclosure heaven.

How did we get to this?  And how do we get out of this?

You don’t have to pick up 4 books on urban design, watch 2 documentaries or take a college level course.  Aron Chang writes a great summation of why designers (me) are so important.

Click for article!

Gallery

Let’s get to posting

So in the world of internet land, I am now one of the million bloggers.  Just one more thing to wrap my head around and shout sustainability through the rooftops too. well, here we go. New Urbanism. Once I became … Continue reading