A Place for the Bicycle

imageFor my birthday a few months ago my wife gave me a pannier – a bag that attaches to my bike. It was a simple gift that unexpectedly opened up my world. I had always liked the idea of biking to work but it just wasn’t very enjoyable with a heavy backpack weighing me down in intense Texas heat. Now, I’m riding to the office at least three days a week and looking forward to my commute, what used to be the worst part of my day. I’m using less gas, avoiding the stress of rush hour, and getting in some regular exercise without cutting into the precious hours I have with my son between work and bedtime. It has been a great thing for me and I think in general more bikers and fewer drivers is a great thing for any place. So how do we get more citizens on two wheels instead of four? Well here are a few things I’ve noticed in the past few months that I think greatly improve a place’s bike-ability: Continue reading

A Place for the Child Explorer

Montessori BedThis week my wife and I disassembled our six-month-old’s crib in favor of a Montessori bed, which is basically a mattress on the floor in the corner of the room next to a mirror. The idea seems strange at first, but as our son becomes more mobile he will be able to wake up, explore his room and play with his toys, discovering his own independence as he is able to do all of these things without our help. That’s an independence we want to continue to develop as he gets older. It may be just his room that he is exploring now, but there’s a whole world out there and we want him to discover it for himself. But in a society where you’re more likely to get the cops called on you than win parent of the year by letting your child roam, is this dream of ours possible? Continue reading

LeBron’s Legacy: A Place-Based Perspective

Growing up as a Connecticut native caught in the middle of the Boston-New York rivalry, one has to pick a side. Thanks to my Mom’s Boston roots, I learned early on that rooting for the Red Sox and Celtics is not for the faint of heart. Being ridiculed by championship-winning Yankee fans and watching the deterioration of the Celtics after Larry’s heyday was brutal, yet this dark night of the soul is the way true fans prove their mettle. Continue reading

What Makes a Community?

imageMy most intense experience of community was college dorm life. At the University of Notre Dame, all dorms are single-sex and students have the opportunity to spend their entire undergraduate careers in the same building. Reflecting back on those years, I recognize six elements that I propose are foundational to community: Continue reading