Monday, October 27, 2014

Normal: EV Competition

It sounds like electric cars are catching on! This article says that there will be 3.3 million electric cars "on the road" by 2050.  Oregon even has a "chief electric vehicle officer" (CEVO?) and has a "West Coast Electric Highway."  Maybe Veterans Parkway could become the BloNo Electric Parkway and the Governor can appoint someone as IL-CEVO.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Normal: Let's Play!

This is a nice idea: making a city playable by having fun events and creative ways for residents to interact with their environment and each other. We need to get the many creative people in Normal to come up with playful ideas!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Normal: Up for a Quick Dip, Anyone?

This article describes how a university and a town collaborated to provide improved resources and attractions for students and community members. Some of their efforts are similar to what ISU and Normal have done: apartments for students, multi-use buildings, to name just two examples. But there is one development they have that we don't have: a rooftop pool on one of the new buildings.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Normal: Parking Garage Living

Normal has apartments built up against a parking garage, but I think we should take it one step further and have living spaces within the parking garage, as in this example. (It's surprising they actually have a parking garage that is underused. Has anyone ever heard of a college with too much parking available?) Locally, if there are any unused spaces in an Uptown Normal parking garage, we should have one or two custom-designed pods in place temporarily, just to show Normal can be hip.

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.