Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
This is, as you can imagine, a huge topic, so you can expect me to post on it again in the future. A quick summary: Malden center used to be pretty hopping, but with urban flight in the 70s and the fact that most people don't want to leave their cars, the pedestrian shopping center model just isn't working anymore. They're having the same problem all over the place, including Downtown Crossing in Boston (don't believe the hype). So the problems, as I see them, are
- aging infrastructure
- unattractive streetscaping
- not parking-friendly
- not particularly pedestrian-friendly either
- no "anchor" stores that will bring in shoppers
- such as a Gap or Kohls to bring people into the area, with the idea that they'd then shop around in the other stores
- not enough mixed-use spaces
- stores and shops on the first floor, living spaces on the floor(s) above
- this increases population density in the downtown area.
- helps create nightlife as well
- too many public service offices
- need greater variety in the types of restaurants and stores
- the location of City Hall is problematic
- it cuts off Malden Center from the T stop and doesn't allow for thru-traffic
- foster the arts
- build new residential spaces in the downtown area
- recruit new businesses
- streetscaping and urban planning
Of course, the common term for this is gentrification (a word I didn't hear anyone use tonight). Do those of us who live in Malden think of ourselves as the kind of city that has a women's clothing boutique? Are we perfectly happy not to have one? If having a women's clothing boutique goes hand-in-hand with/causes/is the result of an "upscaling" of the city, where does Joe Smith, resident of Malden for the past 25 years, fit into the "new" city? Will his property taxes go up, and will he have to move because of that? Does the needs of the economically viable city outweigh the needs and desires of its residents?
The public meetings and visioning workshops that Malden is holding are an attempt to build concensus, which is great. I'm just worried that we haven't been drawing a true representation of Malden's population. Let's just say that the folks at these meetings don't look like the people in my neighborhood. My neighbors are Hatian, Chinese and Latino. Many don't speak or understand enough English to go to one of these meetings. What about their input? Are these people envisioned in Malden's future?
Friday, February 22, 2008
What's my six-word story? Patrick suggests "Looked at furniture. Have no money."
As true as that is, I don't think it sums up my life experience. Hmmm. I'll have to think on this.
What about you? Can you come up with one? Not a motto or a wry observation, but a story. Six words that send the reader off to filling in the backstory and the spaces between the words.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Patrick spent the good part of an evening trying to figure out what part of Malden this card depicts. If you look at the lower-right corner of the picture, it looks like a sliver of rock, so the vantage point seems to be on top of a hill. Of course, it is a drawing/painting, so it could be a real mish-mash of views.
The message is from someone's mother, who is visiting a really annoying kid here in Malden. "I nipped the tip of Bimp' ear as you requested," she writes. "He is very bad." Ha!
Thanks Aunt and Uncle! Please send more if you find them :-)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I've starting doing a bit of knitting. Just one or two rows at a time, once or twice a week. I'm trying to knit differently--at a recent Stitch-n-Bitch, Owl suggested that I move more at the elbows and shoulders, instead of doing it all with my wrists. This has helped a lot, but now the results are different. I think I'm knitting looser, so I might have to go down a needle size on all of my WIPs when I take them back up. For now I'm working on The Baby Blanket, which has been an off-again-on-again project for over a year (hence the all-caps). The gauge on this is so wonky already it won't matter anyway.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
But on a serious note, I can't tell you how much I admire my students. All five of the women are housecleaners (this seems to be the trend for Brazilian women), and four of them have their own cleaning company, three with employees. How cool is that? These women are their own bosses--isn't that the American dream? Maybe they don't want to clean houses their whole lives, but if you're going to do it, do it on your own terms, you know?
I do have one man in my class. He's a carpenter. So my six students work all day, some take care of children, all take care of their own homes, and then they come to my class 5 nights a week, and do a page of homework every night. Amazing.
By the way, did you vote yesterday? I almost forgot, but had time to run to the poll after getting out of the office. How about those results? I'm a Democrat, and honestly would be happy with either Clinton or Obama.
Monday, February 04, 2008
I think the biggest challenge will be the students' schedules. Almost all of them work, and are taking these classes at night. Understandably, they don't have much time for homework or studying. The only way I know how to do well in school is studying and flashcards--but those are pretty time-consuming.
Any suggestions for time-efficient ways to learn a new language?