I’m a city person. I’ve lived mostly in urban areas for the past 25 years. Chicago’s combination of quality of life and cost of living has made it an appealing home base. The recent development patterns, however, have reached a tipping point. Population density is increasing out of sync with the implementation of new public amenities like open space, public transportation, and a sense of neighborhood identity. Chicago is peaking, with its benefits being threatened by the drive to increase the tax base without investing in the infrastructure that will sustain and amplify its appeal.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Following this week’s primary elections across the US, a record 185 women have been nominated for seats in the House of Representatives. This is the latest milestone in a year that has seen a surge in women running for office, a welcome development in light of the huge gender disparity in congressional representation.
The City of Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, a grant program for South and West Side small businesses, recently announced its latest group of grantees. Since its launch in 2017, the initiative has distributed over $10 million generated from downtown development, a model that is meant to foster equitable economic growth across the city.
Body in Flight III: The Impossible Project
My mother set the example. “Guess what I did today?” she asked during an unexpected phone call one evening a few years ago, before announcing her impromptu skydiving feat. Whether scuba diving, downhill skiing, travel to remote locations, or falling from an airplane, my fearless mother has been the family’s chief adventure officer. I probably wouldn’t have jumped myself without her example.
Researchers have found evidence of a subglacial lake on Mars, the first indication that the planet currently has a persistent body of water. While it is far from certain whether lifeforms exist, or have existed, in these lakes, future missions now have clearer signposts for further investigation.
Body in Flight II: The Psychological
All the possible metaphors. Wanting to do something memorable, I went skydiving on my birthday. It took several hours of circling the idea before committing. My internal resistance sometimes doesn’t evaporate immediately, but requires time to subside. With age comes perspective and, rather than open you up to new experiences, it can motivate just the opposite. Despite renting the car, driving the 70 miles, watching the training video, seeing lots of other experienced jumpers prepare, stepping on the plane, tucking myself snugly in front of the instructor, and even watching others disappear out the door before me, I was in denial.
On July 18, Marriott announced it would stop using plastic straws across its properties over the next year, becoming the latest company to do so in recent weeks. While these types of policies can have unintended negative consequences, as Chicago learned from a past attempt to ban plastic bags, they also serve to surface deeper issues that can lead to more effective future interventions.
Body in Flight I: The Physical
The acceleration jarred me. Sitting at the back of the plane, my feet dangling outside the door 13,500 feet above the ground, the burly instructor secured to my back, my mind went full and blank simultaneously. Courage, fear, determination converged at light speed as we lurched forward, leaving the safe, solid and secure for the unfettered mystery of free fall. Some kind of profound barrier of disbelief shattered as my butt lifted off the airplane floor and out into empty space.
Sustainable Me III
My birthday catches me off guard. I always feel that I should have been anticipating it more, making plans. Instead, I usually end up working, deferring the observation for a later date that sometimes doesn’t come. I’ve been flummoxed about what to do this year. Navigating Foresight’s projects, currently focused on food, agriculture, water, and community development, while simultaneously growing the enterprise, is the primary focus of my life.
An international team of scientists released the first-ever photograph of a planet forming around a star, taken with the Very Large Telescope array. While the birth of a celestial body may seem removed from the day-to-day issues happening here on Earth, it is a reminder of the vast complexity of our universe, which may be beyond full human understanding but is still worth exploring.
Sustainable Me II
Today, 50. In lieu of gifts, please consider a spending time with a friend, we cant do it enough. In lieu of gifts, take a few minutes to deepen your knowledge about a meaningful subject, the world will benefit from greater understanding. In lieu of gifts, ride the bus or train to its terminus, exploring an area that you might not have otherwise encountered. In lieu of gifts, post a compelling poem to social media so that those channels might be more edifying. In lieu of gifts, send a postcard to a friend or family member to invoke the pleasure of conveying and receiving tangible media. In lieu of gifts, take a young person to lunch or coffee and really listen and understand their perspective and concerns, however, haphazard, serious, or inconsequential they may seem; too often we only see the world through an adult’s limited perspective. In lieu of gifts, see a play instead of a movie next weekend, live theater can possess a purpose and visceral immediacy that transcends film. In lieu of gifts, research in what type of companies your retirement funds are invested and see if they align with your values and view of where the future lays. In lieu of gifts, strive to more deeply understand the impact of your actions on the lives of your grandchildren. In lieu of gifts, cultivate generosity, compassion, connection, perspective and love, and share and teach it with to others with the same dedication and vigor to which it was taught to me by my parents, family, friends and, on occasion, random enlightened strangers.
Divvy, Chicago’s bikesharing program, celebrates its fifth anniversary on June 28, and I’ve been grateful for the way it has helped me get around. Efforts to ensure equitable access to bikes, including expansive station geography and the Divvy for Everyone program, have the potential to expand mobility on a truly citywide scale.