Sunday, April 6, 2014

Normal Retirement Communities

Being able to retire and live in a college town has its advantages, as this article describes. The fees for the retirement communities discussed in the article are rather jaw-dropping, though. Hopefully, the costs for living in retirement complexes in and around Normal aren't quite so high. Everyone should be encouraged to develop and take advantage of the many opportunities for retirees at the local universities and colleges, keeping in mind that retirees can contribute to these opportunities as well as enjoy them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Normal: Small town urban planning at its best!

This article nicely describes how much of an impact people can have on small towns. Even if you're not an urban planner (and how many of us are?), you can make a big difference in a small town.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Normal Community Engagement Ideas

These are some great ideas for getting citizens more involved in local issues and events. The "walkshop" where people walk (or bike!) around town and have conversations about what's right in front of them would be better than having discussions in a conference room. Opportunities for citizens to be creative, such as competitions to develop new ways to address issues, are also ways to involve people who would otherwise not take an interest.
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Normal: Senior Villages a Possiblity?

Senior villages are offering a new alternative way of life for "older" people who want to age in place. Participants pay a yearly fee and receive fix-it services when they need them, for example, or any services the village decides on. What a great idea! I could see pockets of residential areas in Normal developing these villages.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Normal Plowing

It seems there are many cul-de-sacs in Normal, although I don't know that exact total. These are probably a hassle to plow and I've heard complaints about how poorly they are plowed. Perhaps a how-to-plow-a-cul-de-sac video would help. Or, residents might benefit by being able to consult a FAQ list about town plowing, such as the one Iowa City, Iowa, provides.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Normal: Mowing is Baaaad

Think of all the pollution (air and noise) caused by lawn mowers in Normal. Individuals mowing their yards and town employees mowing the grassy areas -- all in an effort to make green spaces look nice and tidy. Even electric mowers make some noise, so they aren't the perfect solution. Enter the humble sheep. Yes, people in France have started renting out sheep for lawn care. This would work for Normal: there are farms just outside of town where sheep could be kept, and it's a great new business opportunity! Sheep: keeping grass looking nice the normal way. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Normal: Light Up the Trail!

This is a video about an application for pathways that absorbs sunlight and then glows in the dark. That would be fantastic for the Constitution Trail!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Normal: 9/11

Twelve years have passed since the events of 9/11/01. New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania all seem very far away from Normal, Illinois, but on that day, it felt like we were all neighbors. Normal may not have the physical scars or memorials from 9/11, but the people here were also changed that day and share the memories of it.

Peace.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Normal: Making Subdivisions More Aging-Friendly

This is an interesting article about making suburbs better for aging Baby Boomers. It discusses not only improving transit options for the agers to get to where they want to go, but also how to bring those places to the suburbs.

Normal doesn't have suburbs (maybe bedroom communities) but does have many subdivisions that are kind of spread out away from businesses. Even with the increasing number of residential developments for retirees in the area, it would be great to meet aging residents where they live. We have a good bus system and a wonderful walking/biking trail, but what about bringing goods and services to the subdivisions?

In order to build businesses in subdivisions (or really close by), zoning codes would need to be revised. I think a more flexible way to provide what the subdivisioners (of all ages) need and want is to have mobile versions of businesses. There have long been book mobiles and ice cream trucks. How about convenience store mobiles? Pharmacy mobiles? Home improvement mobiles? Electronic gadgets mobiles?

Great for residents and businesses, too!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Normal NIMBY: Normal Is My Back Yard!

There is a new show on BBC (not yet on BBC America, but I'll watch for it) called "The Planners" which enters the exciting world of urban planning!  I could see a similar show based on our local Planning Commission, so full of drama and intrigue. Will the developer's request for fewer trees on a proposed apartment building site be approved? Is there an underlying plot to increase the number and size of digital signs in Normal? How do urban chickens fit into all of this? Stay tuned!