Thursday, October 31, 2013

Normal: Mowing is Baaaad

Think of all the pollution (air and noise) caused by lawn mowers in Normal. Individuals mowing their yards and town employees mowing the grassy areas -- all in an effort to make green spaces look nice and tidy. Even electric mowers make some noise, so they aren't the perfect solution. Enter the humble sheep. Yes, people in France have started renting out sheep for lawn care. This would work for Normal: there are farms just outside of town where sheep could be kept, and it's a great new business opportunity! Sheep: keeping grass looking nice the normal way. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Normal: Light Up the Trail!

This is a video about an application for pathways that absorbs sunlight and then glows in the dark. That would be fantastic for the Constitution Trail!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Normal: 9/11

Twelve years have passed since the events of 9/11/01. New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania all seem very far away from Normal, Illinois, but on that day, it felt like we were all neighbors. Normal may not have the physical scars or memorials from 9/11, but the people here were also changed that day and share the memories of it.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Normal: Making Subdivisions More Aging-Friendly

This is an interesting article about making suburbs better for aging Baby Boomers. It discusses not only improving transit options for the agers to get to where they want to go, but also how to bring those places to the suburbs.

Normal doesn't have suburbs (maybe bedroom communities) but does have many subdivisions that are kind of spread out away from businesses. Even with the increasing number of residential developments for retirees in the area, it would be great to meet aging residents where they live. We have a good bus system and a wonderful walking/biking trail, but what about bringing goods and services to the subdivisions?

In order to build businesses in subdivisions (or really close by), zoning codes would need to be revised. I think a more flexible way to provide what the subdivisioners (of all ages) need and want is to have mobile versions of businesses. There have long been book mobiles and ice cream trucks. How about convenience store mobiles? Pharmacy mobiles? Home improvement mobiles? Electronic gadgets mobiles?

Great for residents and businesses, too!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Normal NIMBY: Normal Is My Back Yard!

There is a new show on BBC (not yet on BBC America, but I'll watch for it) called "The Planners" which enters the exciting world of urban planning!  I could see a similar show based on our local Planning Commission, so full of drama and intrigue. Will the developer's request for fewer trees on a proposed apartment building site be approved? Is there an underlying plot to increase the number and size of digital signs in Normal? How do urban chickens fit into all of this? Stay tuned!