Green Design: Form Meets Function

So here’s a (neat) thing:

19115_490925924282870_688554894_nVia the Sustainable Cities Collective, here’s a pic of the new bike racks around Columbus, Ohio. It’s a big aesthetic step up on the standard, bland bike rack. And that’s a green roof on top, using plants to absorb rainwater. Innovative and pretty.

This interests me in large part because of some initiatives at McMaster around bikes and my courses working in a similar vein. McMaster is being overrun with bike racks and we still need to increase the number by 30% in order to meet the demand. This is a nice problem to have, but bike racks are typically a dull affair (so long as you aren’t talking about these stunning creations from David Byrne outside the Brooklyn Academy of Music:

IMG_0035IMG_0038People who are not me might have better insight into the significance of “Pink cRown” and “MicRo liP,” but they definitely qualify as interesting. And useful. So here’s my thought or challenge to my students in the bike courses: how might McMaster marry the functionality of more bike racks on campus with a more creative or aesthetic approach to design? Suggestions?

 

Riding Gooder

A lot of my job as an historian and instructor consists of helping my students to write with more clarity, with greater effectiveness, and to better construct essay and arguments. Over the years, I’ve toyed with the idea of developing a manual to help with this. I will call it Egan’s Guide to Good Writing.

But that can wait. As the bicycle project develops in front of me and in front of a couple of different classes, I have found myself thinking more and more about why I ride and also—since I enjoy riding for exercise—how to be faster, stronger, fitter on the bike. For me, this is strictly a personal endeavour, but I wanted to share Jason Zhu’s new project, which looks fascinating.

HTWPA – Teaser from HTWPA on Vimeo.

This is a neat serial documentary on preparing for Paris-Ancaster, the Canadian Spring Cycling Classic that takes on a host of roads, trails, and mud between Paris and Ancaster. It’s a great race, but even if you have only the mildest interest in amateur bike racing (viewing or participating), you might be interested in the series, which will be screened in Toronto and in Dundas on February 8 & 9. Details at the following link. I believe I will be MC’ing the Dundas event at Café Domestique (which means I already know how to win Paris-Ancaster…).

How To Win Paris-Ancaster