Thursday, October 14, 2010


Last week was an inspired week for me. It was long and well enjoyed on many levels. On Thursday I attended the first day of the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association's annual conference. The conference rotates between the three member states (Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont). This year the conference was in Portsmouth, NH and the main theme was sustainability.

Not only did I attend the conference, but I presented a session of Dover's Form Based Code. Just prior to the session, the City was awarded the NNECAPA's Planning Project for 2010 award. This award was very much appreciated, and I am proud of the work that the volunteers and staff did to formulate and evolve our form based code for downtown Dover, along with the emmense assistance from our consultant, Jeffrey Taylor and Associates.

As I said, the overall theme of the conference was sustainability. There were interesting speakers from across the state, region and country in attendance. My session was collected with another on the Form Based Code, and how reuse of older structures is a method of being sustainable. The session was a good primer on the code, as well as a review of the path Dover took from a zoning district created over 25 years before and modernized through public participation.

Friday was also a sustainable day for me. No, I missed day two of the conference. Instead I took my recently turned 12 year old to New York City for the day. He wanted to attend the New York Comic Book Convention, and I volunteered to take him. To make this trip, we decided to be sustainable. We took the bus to and from Dover to Boston, and then the Amtrak from Boston to New York.

What an experience. I am not talking about the comic book convention, that is a whole blog post unto itself. No, the transit for the day was both long and rewarding we left our beds at 3 am to be in NYC at 10:15 (slight delay on the train ended up getting us there at 10:45). We left NYC at 7:30 pm and arrived at the Dover bus stop at 2:45 am.

In between we saw the sights and sounds of NYC and didn't enjoy the air (very still and stale). It was my first time in the CITY in 20 years, and my sons first as well. It was a great experience and the best part was we never missed our car. Now, I am not going to move there, but it really was interesting to see what you can do on foot and with mass transit.

It is inspiring especially coupled with the conference where I learned about the many green initiatives that NYC has undertaken. You would be amazed to think about how little things we do and little actions we take can amount to very big and powerful changes.

I am looking forward to bringing these thoughts to my work and home life combined. I think there is a lot to learn out there about being more sustainable and how we can do it without the drastic consequences we all assume happen (plus you know what happens when you assume...).`

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