Archive for September, 2008

Is Cincinnati Ready for Walkability?

As our country progresses into the greenscape with dragging feet, the majority of our population thrust into the environmentally conscious era not so much by conscience as by the economic squeeze on our bottom line, we find in our midst grass-roots, “micro-movements” aimed at slowing down “progress,” simplifying life, focusing on health and generally refuting the ugliest features of our national identity. After all, we are the nation of the SUV, the “hypermarket,” mega box stores, urban sprawl and obesity. We love large homes, big cars, green lawns, convenience food, sound bites and passive entertainment. We like things easy, and we like them big. Super-sized, even.

In the shadow of this most unattractive portrait of Americana, how can a grass-roots movement to bring humanity, humility and nature back to our urban spaces take hold? One walkable neighborhood at a time.

Look at the simple, ugly facts. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cincinnati ranks 25th in the nation for urban sprawl measured by square mileage. Government, planning and zoning entities in cities rife with sprawl typically exhibit the same characteristics we have here, catering to large-scale development by easing the way for such anti-walkable practices as single-use zoning that separates residential, commercial and industrial areas, combined with low density land use promoting the most obvious signs of sprawl: large single-family home subdivisions, strip malls and roadway patterns to meet the growing needs of high traffic volume.

Enter the concept of “Walkability.” Dan Burden, Executive Director of Walkable Communitites, Inc., with over 25 years of promoting sustainable community design, is making “walkable” a popular buzzword in the eco-friendly movement. The walkability of a community, according to Dan, can be assessed by the following features:

  • Intact town center, with a variety of healthy businesses, civic centers, a library and easy access to schools;
  • Residential density with mixed-income housing and mixed use zoning;
  • Public spaces where people can gather safely, promoting a sense of community;
  • Universal design that enables and encourages everyone to access and spend time in public spaces with accessible ramps and driveway crossings, benches and shade for comfort;
  • Streets are well-linked, providing easy access in and out of residential and business areas with traffic speed controlled for pedestrian and bicycle safety;
  • Thinking small – restrictions are placed on maximum parking allowed and building size. Small, independent businesses are encouraged and supported;
  • People are walking… and biking. Ease of use, interest and safety features bring a diverse group of people to the neighborhood to participate in the community.

For kicks, apply this formula to your neighborhood – in fact, hop over to www.walkscore.com and let their website do the work to see how your area measures up. By calculating the distance to services and amenities such as restaurants, book stores, fitness centers, libraries, schools and grocery stores, walkscore.com gives your address a score on a scale of 1-100. As a residential realtor specializing in green real estate practices, I can see high walkability scores being featured as a great marketing tool. As a parent of three young boys, I “walk the walk” and teach my children that we walk to do our basic errands – which, coincidentally, has made basic tasks into a social event as well, lingering at the library, running into friends on the sidewalk and making time to simply talk as we slowly pass through the neighborhood. As a concerned citizen of this city, I feel it’s my obligation to spread the word.

Let’s take Cincinnati’s great urban revitalization success stories and apply them to our blighted areas – communities such as Northside, Over-the-Rhine and Norwood are making huge strides to end urban blight, reinvigorate their business districts and are racing forward into the green movement with LEED certified properties, enhanced greenspace, community gardens and a tangible priority among inhabitants to support all things local and WALK (… or bike)! Evanston has a tremendously active community council and efforts are well underway to promote homeownership and healthy business. I encourage all who have the experience and the commitment to these neighborhood movements to help bring your talents to other areas still in need of energy, insight and education. I encourage everyone who has not yet jumped in to get involved in the rebirth of their communities. Knowing what walkability does not only for the environment and reduced energy use but also its potential to rekindle a social, communal spirit to our neighborhoods, let’s put this noble feature high on the list of priorities for our newly emerging green residential identity – for the health of our city, our families and our environment. As our urban centers become more and more desirable to middle America, perhaps then we will be comfortably positioned to take on the monumental issue of urban sprawl.

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September 12, 2008 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

2008 Cincinnati Compost Bin Sale!

I’ve been visiting the website for weeks waiting for them to announce the locations!  Finally my persistence has paid off:

Lets start COMPOSTING CINCINNATI!!

2008 Backyard Compost Bin Sale

HAMILTON & CLERMONT COUNTY RESIDENTS ONLY!

Saturday, September 27, 2008
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Two Sale Locations:
 
Anderson Township
Farmers Market

7832 Five Mile Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45230

 
Colerain Township
Community Center

4300 Springdale Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45251

 

For more information visit: http://hamiltoncountyrecycles.org/sw/residential_compostbin.htm

September 3, 2008 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment


Who Are We?

Libby Hunter and Jami Stutzman are local Cincinnati Realtors and members of the U.S. Green Building Council who have a passion for sustainable living. Environmental responsibility lies at the core of our business practice - let us show you how we can help with ecologically-minded real estate needs. Please browse our blog, visit our local green vendors' websites and if you are in the market to buy or sell a home, let us show you how green features can make all the difference in your experience!

Contact Us

Jami Stutzman: 513-515-0689
jstutzman@comey.com
Libby Hunter: 513-260-9632
lhunter@comey.com

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