Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A green opportunity for Trenton

...but act now before it becomes another missed opportunity!

I stumbled across details of a green-style urban competition that would work so well for Trenton: a group called Urban Re:Vision is encouraging people to reimagine the way urban spaces are designed, in an attempt to find real-world solutions that make city life healthier — one block at a time.

The goal is to effectively transform one city block in a way that's better for the environment, and brings communities together, by saving energy, overhauling transportation systems, and reusing existing structures. Some ideas put out so far include: public transportation that works on demand, via cell phones, rather than using established routes; walls and fences are replaced by shared gardens or community child care centers; abandoned warehouses would become local food stands; playgrounds would be modified so that when kids play on the equipment, that energy is stored to turn on lights at night.

Most of the entrants so far are students. Re:Vision hopes to continue to attract entries from students, that is, people who do not have design, environmental, or urban planning experience — they just want great ideas. What a great opportunity for our local students and regular citizens, as well as the future of our city. The September 15th deadline, though, is fast-approaching, but it's not too late. Winners will be announced on October 1.

I spent the last few days trying to turn this into a tirade about Doug Palmer, because of all of the missed opportunities happening here; and because of all the hot air that flies out of his mouth about how green Trenton is because of his efforts. But I'll leave it at that, because I just want to get the word out about this contest. I'm really hoping someone will pick up the ball on this one. I'd love to get involved, but with a two-week-old baby, I know I might not be the best person for this job.

Here are some basic details:
Deadline is September 15th (might make a great first project for the local school kids)
Entries must be submitted in pdf, jpg, tif, or gif format and no larger than 5mb per file. Each entry must include an approx. 100-200 word essay (in English) describing your entry, including the following: general ideas and concepts of the design; sustainable and energy efficient aspects of the design; design intentions, and strategies for involving the community; and reasons that the design can be used in various cities. More information is available here.
Awards include three $2,000 cash prizes for the top finalists.

Trenton is in rough shape: our administration is self-serving, and we may have slightly more criminals than the average municipality, and many other folks are just scraping by, that this contest may seem pointless. But we have so many great people here, and we have a long, rich history of innovation, and we have the raw potential, and we don't need Mayor Palmer's blessing to enter this contest. Timing is tight, but doable. It's a great opportunity for Trenton.

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