The Question(s) of Locally Grown

photo source It isn't difficult to get behind the local food movement. Who can argue with cutting big agriculture out of the picture, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of transportation, or keeping more money in the local economy? Who doesn't like their food...

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Getting Smart About Water

photo source Along with air, water is the most important resource on planet Earth. You'd think something so important would be treated like gold, but think about how much is lost through running hoses and faucets, leaks, and inefficient washing machines. We can do...

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Slow Sarasota?

Today is Cittaslow Sunday, the First International Day of Good Slow Living. How are you planning to celebrate?

Cittaslow, or Slow City, is an organization that celebrates and promotes a human-speed, human-scale alternative to unchecked speed and limitless growth. A couple decades ago some folks in Italy decided they didn’t want fast food chains in their towns, so they created the Slow Food movement to celebrate the culture, tradition, and joy of growing, harvesting, cooking, and sharing local food. Slow Food spread to Slow City, and Cittaslow International now counts more than 130 towns worldwide as part of its network. Sonoma, California, became the first Slow City in the United States in 2009.

So, what is a Slow City? and why should I care?

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New Police HQ Honors Environment, Local Architecture, and Heroes of 9/11

If you live in Laurel Park, chances are good you’ve seen downtown Sarasota’s new police headquarters being built between Ringling Boulevard and the north end of Payne Park. What could have been another monstrosity inspired by strip malls has fortunately turned into something quite special. The architectural firm in charge of the project incorporated both elements of the celebrated Sarasota School of Architecture and enough green features to seek LEED certification. To top it off, final negotiations are underway to install a 40-foot remnant from floors 90-92 of the World Trade Center—a fitting tribute to and stark reminder of the dangers policemen and women can encounter.

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Is Adaptability More Important Than Art in Architecture?

There are all sorts of debates about architecture. Should houses in a neighborhood all look similar to give the area a sense of cohesion? Is a diversity of styles more desirable? Is the architecture of the past best? Should architecture be more concerned with the future instead? Is architecture about art? Functionality? A building’s relationship to its surrounding environment? Its climate? All of the above?

Sarasota residents love to engage in hearty debates about our fair town/city, and issues surrounding architecture and development are always hot button. Our own neighborhood, Laurel Park, has seen sweeping changes over the past several decades, and is constantly working to find the right balance of development and preservation, of urbanism and village life, of past and future.

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Sarasota’s Roadmap to Sustainability

With words like “green” and “sustainability” being thrown around so much these days, we at Laurel Park Management thought it might be good to take a look at what Sarasota is actually doing to become increasingly “green” and “sustainable.” The following is from the official Sarasota County government website:

Sarasota County acknowledges that sustainability is an interlocking network comprised of everything a community touches. Its Roadmap to Sustainability holistically integrates environmental, societal and economic initiatives, fundamentally shifting the role that governance can play in building a sustainable community and transforming its identity. County Administrator Jim Ley presented his Roadmap to Sustainability to the County Commission on Oct. 22, 2006, as an overview of Sarasota County’s direction.

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Things We Take For Granted and Probably Shouldn’t: Selby Botanical Gardens

Walking through the numerous themed gardens at Selby is like taking a trip through the looking glass into nature’s wonderland. We live in a fertile part of the world…Selby Gardens provides an opportunity to leave our hectic lives behind for an hour or two and let our senses reconnect with thousands of varieties of local flora.

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How to Make Sarasota More Bike-Friendly

It’s flat, the weather is amazing, it has plenty of public bike racks…so why aren’t more Sarasotans riding bikes? Bicycles can play a huge role in the livability of a place. They provide mobility to citizens of all ages and income, keep people fit, promote social connections, and don’t require a drop of gasoline. Cities and towns around the world are realizing that the more their people are on bikes the healthier, happier, and safer they’ll be. Research even confirms that cities that prioritize bikes reap economic benefits.

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Oil Vigil Recap

The oil vigil held in Ken Thompson park earlier this month was a great success, connecting Sarasota with hundreds of other communities around the country in support of clean energy. We here in Laurel Park and the rest of Sarasota are fortunate to have year round access to white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The deepwater horizon tragedy has reminded us all how fragile these gifts really are.

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