Archive for Monday, October 30, 2006

Special team set to study city’s sustainability

Commissioners seek input from residents

October 30, 2006


City commissioners and a group of outside experts want to hear what Lawrence residents hope their community looks like in the coming decades.

Six members of a special team compiled by the American Institute of Architects will be in Lawrence from Wednesday to Friday to study ways to make Lawrence more sustainable.

"I really hope it is the start of our community vision process," said City Commissioner Boog Highberger, who led the efforts to bring the team to Lawrence. "We're wanting to look at how we can do thing in a way that we can keep doing them and not mess up things for our children and grandchildren."

The group will focus on three broad topics: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social sustainability.

Members of the group plan a series of meetings to gather ideas. The largest will be a town hall meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

The group is encouraging people to attend the meeting and share their thoughts on Lawrence's future.

Other meetings include:

¢ 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday at the Eldridge Hotel, 701 Mass. Group members will break into subgroups to discuss issues related to development and housing, government and infrastructure, culture and recreation, and economy and retail.

¢ 8 a.m.-noon Thursday at the Eldridge Hotel. The group will have a second session for people who were unable to attend Wednesday's meeting.

¢ 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. The group will make a public presentation announcing its preliminary findings about the community.

A final report should to be delivered to the City Commission by the end of the year, said Lisa Patterson, communications coordinator for the city.

The group is coming to the city as part of the Sustainable Design Assessment Team project, which selects a handful of cities each year to study. The group is not charging the city for its services, only its basic expenses.


simplifying 11 years, 5 months ago

I attended one of the meetings and I guess I was at the wrong one. I thought sustainability was more environmental. Guess I was mistaken

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

"We tries, we does."

It all becomes clear.

Still looking for the lost ring, Gollum?

janeb 11 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone else notice these leaders study too much. Hel they could read the forum and get a clue.

A_Guy 11 years, 5 months ago

If you are really that upset at the City Commission and things are really that bad, then you should find a way to be there. Take two hours of vacation time if you need to. It's all about priorities. I think most people here complain just to complain.

x96merrill3 11 years, 5 months ago

Rarely do I post, but Marion...THAT WAS FUNNY. I am a big fan of sarcasm and you hit the nail on the head. Well done!!!!

A_Guy 11 years, 5 months ago

It sounds to me like they are holding public meetings and trying to get public input.

Instead of complaining on this board, go and present your thoughts in a public forum to public officials. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who sit and complain about Lawrence on this board. This is your chance to do something. If you don't like the way things are going, but don't make any attempt to change it, then its your fault that things aren't changing and you have no reason to complain.

3e8 11 years, 5 months ago

Comrades, let us gather in small groups and meet with consultants to decide what is sustainable for the good of the bourgeoisie order! Act now to stop the proletariat-mart from eroding our static utopia!

lunacydetector 11 years, 5 months ago

i can see a group of architects gathering around to decide what a building looks like or how the landscaping should look and of course - how much it will cost because architects always get paid a percentage of the respective costs, but what the heck do they know about anything else?

sounds like a great way to spread some of that old 'smart growth = no growth' religion.

when can we see gigantic murals of our fearless progressive leaders adorning select buildings downtown that the weirdos can adore?

...all this planning for the geriatric majority in our future that the minority youngins today can pay for through higher taxes. it's nice that these guys can spend our money on frivolous lawsuits and a roundabout in every driveway, plus they can plan how to spend our children's children's money. i see their goal now.

break out the giant murals. it's time.

KsTwister 11 years, 5 months ago

WAIT.....don't do anything until after the next election---it's only fair. "The group will focus on three broad topics: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social sustainability." It depends on ideals, and I think Lawrence is ready for new ones that are done right the first time.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 5 months ago

Why didn't they have this on a weekend or at night?

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

A_Guy, good for you. What advice do you have for people who wish the government would get out of the business of making things happen, and start taking care of the basics, instead?

lunacydetector 11 years, 5 months ago

why must the city always have their meetings at downtown venues? why not out west? nope, they always have to be downtown. i guess the homeless need something to do.

of course they make the meetings as inconvenient as possible for the regular folk, and on short notice. it's the progressive way of weeding out their critics, or identifying their critics - if the critics still come regardless of how inconvenient the city wants the meetings to be, then they must be serious.

nope, i'll pass, on these meetings - i'll just wait for the next election.

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

"Why didn't they have this on a weekend or at night?:

Because then us ordinary, non-government working folk, or, worse yet, those blankety-blank commuters, might show upand voice a contrary opinion.

I wonder if my boss will let me have Wednesday afternoon off just so I can take part in a visioning?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

"I wonder if my boss will let me have Wednesday afternoon off just so I can take part in a visioning?"

I doubt it-- your posting on this website is just too critical to the operation of the business.

A_Guy 11 years, 5 months ago

A person can make excuses, or they can find a way to make things happen. I find I'm far more successful when I make things happen......and I ALWAYS find a way to make things happen when something is important to me.

A_Guy 11 years, 5 months ago

As a business owner in the City of Lawrence, I'm very happy with the current direction the City is moving. I don't see a need for a change in the local government.

If you do want change, then I would find a way to make it to the late Wednesday meeting. Get your friends together, and go speak out.

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

Yep, I can see that us whiners would get a really warm welcome at those meetings.

Looks like these are not intended to be "visioning" meetings, they are really "re-education" meetings. Those who attend will learn what has already been decided.

KsTwister 11 years, 5 months ago

This city had studies on Tanger,it flopped and studies on Riverside Paza,it flopped, Louisiana Purchase sits partially empty as well as the one on 6th street. Studies just mean our dollars are spent on failures over and over again. Businesses (in addition to retail) need to come to Lawrence, do a study on why they do not.

A_Guy 11 years, 5 months ago

That sounds like an excuse to me. You are part of the solution, or you are part of the problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

"Yep, I can see that us whiners would get a really warm welcome at those meetings."

Really? Does it say that in the article?

Or do expect that if you go in with the same sneering attitude you exhibit here that it will be met with a less than warm reception?

A_Guy 11 years, 5 months ago

I don't see the upcoming elections changing anything. Based on what I see on a daily basis, most people are very happy with Lawrence, and the few people I see complaining on this board don't seem motiviated to go out and do anything. They'll probably find an excuse as to why they aren't able to vote.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

Yea, those silly city leaders. They should have been more considerate of the residents of Houston before scheduling the meetings.

A_Guy 11 years, 5 months ago

If the issues are important to you, and you can't make this series of meetings, then I'm sure you can find other ways to make your voice heard. Just keep in mind that most City officials aren't going to pay any attention to an online board where all of the users are anonymous.

Sigmund 11 years, 5 months ago

A whole bunch of bearded man experts, this time from out of town, brought here to tell us how to live our lives. You see Lawrence, your not not nearly smart enough to make your own decisions and choose for yourselves. And they may be right, after all you were stupid enough to put the PLC in control of the City Kommission, how bright can you be?

They will be long gone after the taxpayers have footed the bill not just for the travel, but for the impact of their recommendations. Maybe we can bring them back every year so they can tell us how well we are doing?

Sigmund 11 years, 5 months ago

I don't know about the rest of this board, but personally I cannot take seriously anyone who uses the word 'developturd' once, let alone multiple times in a thread. For some reason it reminds me of an angry 15 year old, dressed in black, and resenting that he is living in mommies basement, with nothing intelligent to say about anything.

I just can't shake that image and I just can't take it seriously.

conservative 11 years, 5 months ago

I think I finally figured out the disconnect with the city commission. They keep hearing everyone saying that we need to bring more high paying jobs to Lawrence. Therefore they keep bringing in high paid consultants for every little thing. We never specified to them that the high paying jobs should be permanent and being paid to people who live and pay taxes in Lawrence.

Sigmund 11 years, 5 months ago

With all due respect Sven, I doubt my concerns and the concerns of many people in Lawrence will not be addressed. Specifically, this is a waste of money and government controls too much of our lives and our property rights. It is insulting that either this Kommission thinks that Lawrencian's are too stupid to deal with these issues locally or, more likely, it is little more than political cover to control virtually EVERY aspect of our lives.

The scope is astounding. From environmental (block the SLT), economic (who can open a business, what kind of business), and social (smoking bans and decriminalization of pot use), the PLC wishes to impose its "vision" on every single person and every single aspect of our lives.

So with all due respect Sven, please convey my concerns to the Kommission; the bearded-man-out-of-town experts are unneeded and unwanted. You'll do that won't you?

But perhaps a recent CNN article put it more clearly; "Majority believes government doing too much" and might I add, stampeding on our rights and our property rights in the process.

SpeedRacer 11 years, 5 months ago

"We're wanting to look at how we can do thing in a way that we can keep doing them and not mess up things for our children and grandchildren."

Too late.

Sigmund 11 years, 5 months ago

As I have little respect for the PLC Kommissioners and their policies and as they are PUBLIC officials I feel free to express my disrespect in any legal manner and in any way that I feel makes my point.

On the other hand and as far as I know, cool "Sven Alstrom", is a PRIVATE citizen and apparently associated with this study. I do respect him for publishing his real name along with his opinion. When I said "with all due respect", I meant it, even though I strongly disagree with him on the value of this study.

I just tired of this Kommission paying outside "experts" who have no tie to this community, don't pay taxes here, get their expenses paid by Lawrence tax dollars telling us all how we should live our lives. Especially when the Kommission could hand pick those people who agree with their positions and exclude those who disagree. Give me those dollars, let me pick my experts and you'll get a completely different conclusions.

And you HAVE been impacted by the PLC Kommission policies. Our budget deficits, lack of good roads, higher costs of living does impact you, with all due respect.

Sigmund 11 years, 5 months ago

More potty humor from the angst filled teenager. The archetypal PLC supporter has graced us with another personal attack.

overthemoon 11 years, 5 months ago

This is not the last you will be hearing about 'sustainability'. It would be of great benefit if all those who assume it means a smart/no-growth, old hippie, politically motivated passing fad to become acquainted with the basic concepts.

Most importantly, the vision for sustainable design, economics and communities is grounded in an integrity of purpose that transcends partisan politics. All that's required to understand and participate in is an open and thoughtful mind....particiapation is the key. If you're afraid of the outcome, get involved.

Perhaps some facts on the Sustainable Design Assessment would be of value to understand the purpose, process and costs of this visionary program.

If you don't care to read the whole thing, a brief summary:

"The SDAT process will: ¢ inform the community of opportunities and encourage them to take action to protect local and regional resources ¢ help the community understand the structure of the place at various scales and contexts-from regional resources to the neighborhood scale ¢ explore and articulate the larger contexts and interactions of ecological, sociological, economic, and physical systems ¢ visualize potential futures ¢ recognize and describe the qualities of a place by preserving the best elements of the past, addressing the needs of the present, and planning for the needs of future generations; ¢ identify and describe choices and consequences ¢ connect plans and actions ¢ advance the principles of quality sustainable communities ¢ help the community define the roles of various stakeholders ¢ develop a road map for the implementation of more sustainable policies and practices."

And for the overpriced consultant-weary, communities apply for the assessment, which is actually something of a grant program. The costs assosiated with the study are $30,000. $25,000 of that is provided by the AIA, the remaining $5000 to be paid by the community.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

Great post, overthemoon.

Unfortunately, mindless sprawl, by definition, requires mindlessness. That's why sprawl-based industries fear involving actual planning and thinking in "growth" related issues.

Kim Gouge 11 years, 5 months ago

Informed. Three. Boog, Schauner and Rundle.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 5 months ago

do a study now for what you want then makes no sense.

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

How generous of these professionals to donate their week to Lawrence, the poor, underprivileged community that we are.

Where does the American Institute of Architects get its funding?

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

a guy wrote: "That sounds like an excuse to me. You are part of the solution, or you are part of the problem."

Right. If I do nothing to stop the PLC, that really is a problem.

Problem is, they have a majority, they have made up their minds, and there is not one thing any of the rest of can do to stop them. Until April 2007.

I am glad you are seeing success under the reign of the Three Amigos. There are not many others who are in your circle.

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

To submit to taking part in these "visioning" sessions is giving credibility to the concept that a city government should ever bring in a group of volunteers who represent an organization that adopts as its mission statement the liberal political movement called "smart-growth," and that these volunteers are so expert in shaping societies that they can discern the wishes of a city in four public meetings held over the course of 2 days, and can present us with a preview of the roadmap of the future of our city "as WE vision it" on the 3rd day.

This is absurd. The city government is not charged with this responsibility, and these "volunteer/aka political operatives" are not endowed with the power to mold the future of Lawrence simply because they (sigh, applause, and tears) volunteered their time (plus expenses, of course).

The conclusion is foregone. This entire convocation is just another exercise in Dadaism.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 5 months ago

Will they record these meetings and televise them on channel six that evening for those who have jobs? Probably not.....once again this is simply another stroke job....Sure , it makes you feel good, but in the end you feel let down and sticky.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 5 months ago

Why don't you take that up with Sunflower, who controls the content on their cable system, rednek?

Godot 11 years, 5 months ago

A good salesman understands that is not easy to make a sale. Resistance to buying the product can have many underlying reasons. These are called "objections." A good salesman will uncover the objections, through friendly conversation, questioning and manipulation. Once the ojections are uncovered, they can easily be dismissed with flawed logic and personal pressure so as to elicit an emotional response that cinches the sale.

That is the purpose of the meetings being held this week by the AIA and the PLC faction fo the City Kommission. The AIA (government planning experts, all) proudly announce that, after only a few hours of discussion with a few hand-picked people (and, of course, the obligatory two hour meeting where the community at large is allowed to make their views knows) they will pronounce to Lawrence, via a power- point presentation, the CORRECT future direction for Lawrence. They even announce that they will return in one year to make sure we are on the right path.

These meetings are actually part of the Smart Growth sales pitch. Think of it as an Amway meeting. You are invited to learn about some new opportunity, and, after hearing only part of the story, you are drawn out, and asked to share your feelings about the nature of the scheme, only to find that your statements are later used to point out how foolish you are not to realize what a golden opportunity you have been presented.

This week, Lawrence citizens have been subjected to the Amway of Smart Growth, aka American Institue of Architecture. Come Friday, the citizens who convene at the Lawrence Arts Center will be subjected to a vision that portrays the wants and needs of most of Lawrence as obstacles to the desired outcomes of Smart Growth, obstacles that can, and must, be overcome with proper education, and direction, from the AIA.

The outcome was decided before the meetings were held.

overthemoon 11 years, 5 months ago

The American Institute of Architects is not a government organization and its members represented on the SDAC are not government planners.

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