Couchsurfing in the American Southeast

I moved to Georgia a little more than a year ago–for the second time. Well, kind of. I lived in Atlanta during the summer of 2012 while working at my first engineering internship. I always knew I was returning to Ann Arbor, yet despite this, I always felt I didn’t take advantage of the nearby gorges, mountains, or countryside. So for a second time, I … Continue reading Couchsurfing in the American Southeast

Tracing My Family Genealogy

A couple of months ago, I discussed 23andMe with a friend. His sister participated in the service to learn more about her genetic make-up, specifically a breakdown of her common DNA traits with ethnicities around the world. For a modest cost (given the the advancement of genetic sequencing), she confirmed rumors and beliefs surrounding her ancestral origins. While I didn’t care much for receiving a pie chart … Continue reading Tracing My Family Genealogy

Simplifying the Urban Code

My previous post The Seaside Experiment discussed simple, but revolutionary design features in which Duany and the Seaside team demonstrated to the world. Seaside has no shortage of controversy, to be sure. That includes the creative and unique urban code developed on this privately-held piece of land. In most cities, the urban code typically details the style, use, and form of buildings–whether or not it’s retail, residential, a vacation … Continue reading Simplifying the Urban Code

The Seaside Experiment

J. S. Smolian purchased an 80 acre tract of land near Seagrove Beach in south Walton County back in 1946. Located in the Florida panhandle–west enough to operate in the central time zone–Walton County stretches from the Alabama border to the white-sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s here that the new urbanist town of Seaside, Florida was created. Something From Nothing Seaside, Florida … Continue reading The Seaside Experiment

Resilient Communities

This past Monday evening, I attended an Emergent Savannah event titled Connect, Reflect: A World Cafe Conversation About Building Resilience. I noticed the flyer at my local coffee shop over a week ago and thought it sounded up my alley. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I knew they modeled the event off the World Cafe, which is a (commonly discovered) conversation methodology … Continue reading Resilient Communities

The Double-Edged Sword of Tourism

A few weeks ago, I returned from an incredible journey around Iceland’s Ring Road, an 800+ mile circumnavigation of one of the world’s smallest countries by population. And because of that, much of my trip consisted of driving through towns so small–if you blink, you’d miss ’em. On the order of hundreds of inhabitants, these sleepy seaside fishing villages have been exactly that for centuries. … Continue reading The Double-Edged Sword of Tourism

Eclipse 2017: A Quest for Totality

Much like a watershed map describes how runoff flows from mountain to ocean, a drivershed can be used to detail a vehicle’s travel path between two points. I recently saw an analysis computing driver travel times from every US county to the Great American Eclipse’s path of totality. It concluded the largest “driveshed” in the US was Interstate 95, which intersected the path of totality in … Continue reading Eclipse 2017: A Quest for Totality

The Challenging Questions of Public Transit

I love when small events create profound change–or the potential for it. In a short instance, previous notions are erased and rewritten with a whole new narrative. I recently experienced one of these moments while reading Jarrett Walker‘s book Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives. For the first time in my professional life, I sensed a great amount of compatibility with an occupation. My engineering background, design skills, and profound passion for developing community overlap so beautifully with transit planning that I couldn’t help but gobble up each page with fervor and inspiration. Backed by decades of transportation consulting, Walker gives life to the basic principles of designing and evaluating public transportation systems. Written for the layman, Human Transit provides the reader with four fundamental considerations in which every transportation agency should ask themselves. For my own learning and with the hope of spreading his teachings, I detail Walker’s conclusions in my own words. Furthermore, I relate these four major concepts to events you may experience while using public transit. Continue reading “The Challenging Questions of Public Transit”

Discover Your Local Public Library

I define frugality as achieving similar results, for less. Less money, less time, and less energy. In turn, more of these resources are made available for the important things in life. Driven not by laziness, but optimization. This process of thinking is critical for designing an essential life. For example: how can I maintain my current social life, for less? How can I eat delicious foods, for less? How can I get direct access to the incredible minds of authors from around the world, for less? The last of these can be answered with a wonderful resource known to many, but used by few: the local public library. Continue reading “Discover Your Local Public Library”