Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Very Good News

We've been talking about Pluto in Capricorn and the upcoming developments in city planning. I also have hopes that this society will start to deal with it's obesity, a serious problem that leads to many complications.
This appeared in today's paper:

Kendra Johnson is moving her family to Stapleton's Urban Estates Development by Thanksgiving, a move that scientists say may be good for her family's health. On Monday, she and her husband were the first to sign up for a 10-month, five-city pilot study on walkable communities. Researchers think neighborhoods that offer trails and paths connecting homes, schools, and businesses may be a partial solution to the obesity epidemic. Positive results are hoped for that will create consumer demand for walkable neighborhoods.
The Study of Health in Families in Transition (SHIFT)[:-] will follow families as they move from less walkable communities to more walkable ones, measuring how their activity levels and health behaviors are affected. The participants will spend five days wearing accelerometers, pedometer-like devices that measure the amount and intensity of physical activity, six weeks before their move-in date. They will also keep travel diaries and fill out a survey about their diet, weight, and quality of life. Six weeks after the move, they will repeat the procedure. It is believed that the study results will show that neighborhoods hold the key to fighting obesity.
Adult obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years, and prevalence of overweight children has nearly tripled. Decreasing calorie intake by 100 calories a day could be all it takes to turn the problem around for many Americans. "Small changes are critical", says James O. Hill, professor and director of the Center of Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado. "Simply living in that neighborhood could make the difference."
I agree. Small changes are critical. I also think the increased sense of community and intimacy will help the fat problem since fat is related to vulnerability and insecurity. It will cut down on fuel consumption due to less usage and decreased family poundage in the cars when they are on the roads. Just wait until the Taurus-Capricorn years. Then maybe we can relate to the earth outside of the scientific laboratory. J

18 Comments:

Blogger NEOBuckeye said...

Taurus-Capricorn years! Sounds pretty comfortable to me. ;-)

I totally agree, jm. I think getting back to more walkable neighborhoods and communities will actually help to reduce obesity. It will likely foster more casual interaction between people as well, a very good thing which we once had a lot more of. I could see the shift away from this even while I was growing up, the social interaction and just walking, period. I see it in my own childhood neighborhood, and feel like we've really lost something good.

I don't think we collectively realize yet just how isolating cars are. They don't do much to flatten our stomachs either.

Another funny thing, we actually already have many communities that were designed to be social and walkable. Most of our central cities, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast were designed and constructed to be this way, even after the automobile became mainstream. But we've been abandoning those old communities since the 1950s and 1960s for farther flung, spread out suburbs.

And it has reached a real cresendo in the past decade with Pluto in Sag. It seems today that the bigger and/or more decentralized it is, the better. (That's the Pluto-driven Sagittarian wildfire buring.) You can't even traverse most of the new suburbs today without a car... or more likely an SUV.

However, an interesting side-trend has popped up in recent years -- the faux downtown shopping center. Modeled after the shopping experiences in the old central city downtowns, you actually have to park your car at the edge of the development and walk to wherever it is that you want to go. Imagine that? Maybe it's a manifestation of what we are collectively realizing on a subconscious level that we are missing?

31/7/07 5:48 PM  
Blogger NEOBuckeye said...

At any rate, I think Pluto in Cap is going to inspire us to take a good look at our whole structural setup. A lot of the old ways of city and community planning are about to be dusted off. A lot of old ways in general. Not all of them are really so bad.

The "nudge" in that direction seems most certain to come from increasing gas prices and the decline in cheap availability of fossil fuels in general. But efficiency, or lack thereof in our use of them has played a major role in us arriving at this point. Capricorn demands efficiency, and with Pluto's backing, we're about to see it break out into the open in a big way.

So many of our energy problems could be solved just by going about things differently, by building structures that take advantage of environmental features that, for instance, would help keep things more cool in the summer and warmer during the winter months. Also, by returning to higher-density developments and communities that don't require cars to get to the grocery store and back. And where cars are still needed, perhaps they can be largely supplemented by intra-city and inter-city railways.

Personally, I'd love to see trains come back in a big way in this country. Instead of worring about my rapidly moving surroundings on the road while sitting behind the weel of a car, I'd much rather sit back and watch the countryside go by, and take in all the scenery.

Oh, and that's another thing we need more of... Scenery! More parks! More trees! Like in jm's picture headlining her post. High density communities should be more than jungles of just glass and concrete. There are plenty of ways to fill them out with trees, grass and environmental beauty to make them more comfortable for everyone.

31/7/07 6:07 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Neo, I was quite pleased when I read this. The forces of positive change are just as strong as the reactionary ones, as always. The clue here is that these things are being funded.

I don't think we collectively realize yet just how isolating cars are.

This is a big one. I've given it a lot of thought. I attibute it to our USA Moon in Aquarius that wants to be isolated and a lot of chowing down goes on in there due to our 4 Cancer planets. This Moon is soon to be heavily transited along with the Cancer.

Yes. There are a lot of those faux shopping centers being built here. The big change came 25 years ago when they transformed our inner city with a huge pedestrian mall. It's been successful and has spawned further like developments.

You are so right about the expansion, and you mentioned earlier the difference between Jupiter and Saturn. The contraction of Saturn coming up. No doubt about it. Consolidation on all levels, some bad, and some good.

Maybe it's a manifestation of what we are collectively realizing on a subconscious level that we are missing?

This will always be a driving force. We have to have the worst to desire the best. Like you said just recently about knowing who you "aren't".

We will have to come to terms with our intimacy needs vs our detachment. People from other countries get lonely here, finding it hard to believe how far apart we are. Maybe these forums are part of the coming together as they feed both sides of the coin.

31/7/07 6:10 PM  
Blogger jm said...

The "nudge" in that direction seems most certain to come from increasing gas prices and the decline in cheap availability of fossil fuels in general. But efficiency, or lack thereof in our use of them has played a major role in us arriving at this point. Capricorn demands efficiency, and with Pluto's backing, we're about to see it break out into the open in a big way.

No doubt. We will be finding more and more feul free activities as it progresses.

by returning to higher-density developments and communities that don't require cars to get to the grocery store and back. And where cars are still needed, perhaps they can be largely supplemented by intra-city and inter-city railways.

This just happened here with light rail. A big resurgence of inner city living is in progress, all car free. All kinds of small businesses required. No major corps are down there yet.

It appears as though trains are in fact headed back. Some new developments here and a major redoing of the RR station is just ahead.

The cooling effect of greenery alone is an added factor. And our Mayor announced that we're going to heat the city jail with solar panels!

31/7/07 6:18 PM  
Blogger jm said...

I'd like to know where the money behind this study is coming from.

31/7/07 6:19 PM  
Blogger NEOBuckeye said...

jm, I think a lot of businesspeople are honestly waking up to see now that they are better off "going green" and that their ongoing profitability may even depend upon it. So there does seem to be growing interest and investment into studying alternative energy.

I read an article the other day about how Sillicon Valley is really looking now into development now of "plug-in" rechargeable vehicles. The Google founders are among the investors. It looks to me like another technological revolution is in the making. Maybe in part a product of Pluto at the Galactic Center?

31/7/07 6:27 PM  
Blogger NEOBuckeye said...

In my travels I have noted that there is an emerging interest in intra-city light rail. Phoenix and Charlotte, two of the big boomtowns of the past decade are both actively developing it. It's still on the drawing board, however, in Raleigh and Durham. Cleveland has had it along the lakefront for years. My hometown, Akron, says it's on the drawing board for 2025. I'm a little disappointed that my destination, Columbus, just scrapped plans for it, but I'm thinking they'll be going back to those soon enough. Cincinnati is also talking something similar. I think a lot of cities will be getting into the act soon.

31/7/07 6:35 PM  
Blogger NEOBuckeye said...

almost forgot from the last thread :-)

I'm still kicking myself for not asking her out.

LOL neo! That ol' SN in Aries! The ideal is to take the boldness of Aries into pursuit of your dream relationship.:-)

Honestly, jm, I'd do it today if not for the fact that she's well married with 4 kids now, last I saw of her. But, considering that I didn't even know what the South Node/North Node deal was way back then, let alone my own natal SN in Aries, I think i've come a long way.

At least I'm not going to be fumbling around in the dark anymore. ;-) And Juno does make another pass on my Vertex later this year. No holding back this time!

31/7/07 6:37 PM  
Blogger meristem said...

Hey, I just had to jump in with the mention of Durham and Columbus, Neo....
I lived in Durham the last 12 years and am originally from Cols!
I thought I remembered you saying you were in Cols. (I knew you'd said OH), or maybe I just assumed, but when you threw down the double-whammy, I had to connect with it :)

We were all very excited here in the Triangle about the rail project; I-40 is a nightmare and frankly I'd travel to Raleigh a lot more if I didn't have to drive!
Who knows how long it will be now. It's been in the works for several years now and no doubt the hold up has lots to do with money and good ol' red tape.....
It makes so much sense though, so i keep my fingers crossed.
I prefer to look out the window too.....

31/7/07 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Ditto with the light rail here in the Twin Cities. :o) We've got one that is immensely popular despite its limited run and despite the cries of doom from the negative nabobs. More rails are planned, and about damn time. My friends from Dallas, San Francisco, NYC and elsewhere smile condescendingly when natives talk up our light rail system. We're way behind times.

Myself, I hate driving and hate the huge amount of runoff from pavements during a rainfall that carries pollution and garbage into the streams and rivers. It gets so hot with so few trees, and on and on. We got to this point because politicians and people in general passed the buck on mass transit, and now it's going to cost millions more than it would have 10-15 years ago.

31/7/07 7:27 PM  
Blogger NEOBuckeye said...

(just had to add spaces...)

Interesting, meristem! I think I recall you mentioning that you are originally from Columbus. Have you been back there at all since you left?

Yeah, I should have said Columbus, Ohio. I often forget that there are so many other Columbuses around. Particularly the one in Georgia, which is growing steadily, but nowhere near as much the one in Ohio.

I read about the Triangle mass transit project a few years ago. I was kinda excited about it because I thought then that I might be moving down that way eventually, and because I thought it might be an early sign of things to come everywhere when Pluto moves into Capricorn. I'm very surprised that Raleigh and Durham shelved it, but that Charlotte has moved forward on theirs. Somehow, it just seemed like it would be the other way around.

And you're right. I-40 is a nightmare! I drove on it during my last visit to the RTP area earlier this year, and probably had to sit in traffic for about 45 minutes. It wasn't even rush hour. I don't even want to think about that! It's a shame they couldn't get the railway project situated and set up before starting the work on the Interstate. That would have been a wonderful incentive for people in the RTP area to park their cars and catch the railway into and around town instead.

I think leadership will see the wisdom in moving forward on it eventually, probably much sooner than later. They'll wish they had done so earlier, but they will get it done.

Joe, I didn't know about the Twin Cities project. It sounds like they are also moving on it, albeit slowly. I'm sure as with Raleigh-Durham and everywhere else that the resistance to it on the part of leadership is going to break down as gas prices continue to rise. It's a necessary transition, and not a bad one at all.

We're really approaching a crossroads where we need to consider where we live and work, and how we get to and from those places on a very practical level, but also as it pertains to the environment as you mentioned.

I say we make mass-transit free, and regularly available around the clock in all of our cities, and regular routes between major metropolitan areas. I'd gladly give up my car for it! I think many other people would too.

31/7/07 8:15 PM  
Blogger jm said...

In my travels I have noted that there is an emerging interest in intra-city light rail.

This is fantastic.

At least I'm not going to be fumbling around in the dark anymore. ;-) And Juno does make another pass on my Vertex later this year. No holding back this time

Pluto is headed for those nodes, neo. That's like having your own home surgery kit.:-)

We'll track it.

31/7/07 9:29 PM  
Blogger jm said...

OMG! Ohioans!!!

This is wonderful on the light rail. You know how I love the tracks. I drive very little these days although I plan to get a Vespa for emergency evening jaunts in pursuit of lettuce.

I say we make mass-transit free, and regularly available around the clock in all of our cities, and regular routes between major metropolitan areas. I'd gladly give up my car for it! I think many other people would too.

Great idea. With the gas prices all of this will have to happen. When people end the frustration of always being stuck in traffic their whole lives will change.

31/7/07 9:36 PM  
Blogger jm said...

The other cities in the walkable study are St. Louis, Atlanta, San Diego, and Sacramento. I've often mentioned that Colorado is a bellwhether state so this could be something.

It looks to me like another technological revolution is in the making. Maybe in part a product of Pluto at the Galactic Center?

You ain't seen nothin' yet. Uranus in Aries is right around the bend.

31/7/07 9:41 PM  
Anonymous mm said...

SO bizarre! Here is an article I was reading last night about this issue, on worldchanging
http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/007055.html

31/7/07 10:04 PM  
Blogger jm said...

This is absolutely wonderful, mm. Thank you heartily.

research shows that good urbanism can battle the dire social problems with which so cities are beset. Making a good neighborhood better -- or starting a struggling neighborhood on the way to righting itself -- is one of the most powerful actions any of us can take.

The places to which you can easily walk are your walkshed. Having a big walkshed, with lots of places you want to go, is one of the best signs that your neighborhood is healthy.

31/7/07 10:15 PM  
Blogger meristem said...

Neo, I left in 1983 and have been back, but not very frequently, since most of my humongous family is still there. With the passing of my grandmother though, I don't know that I'll get back as much.
I have really enjoyed seeing how much Cols. has changed over the years. For the better.
And they still have the best Fourth of July fireworks I've ever seen.

What I miss about mass transit is the circus: musicians, performance artists, people who are living in other realities....just the range of humans going about their daily lives.
I like my little bubble for sure, but not to the exclusion of ALL interaction with others.

I remember remarking over the years to various friends that I can tell when someone I pass or encounter on the street hasn't lived in a big city: they don't know how to navigate. Body awareness is huge in a city when you have to maneuver around other humans all the time. You become more aware of where you are in space and in relation to others and you have to have more grace or you'll be forever bumping into people.
Also, the bubble keeps us from even knowing how to have small interactions with other humans. Manners, even. It seems uncomfortable to many people. How many times have I been completely ignored while holding the door for someone leaving a store behind me, or in some other superficial encounter when a bit of politeness and civility and recognition of a fellow human would make things so much more pleasant.
Isolation is nooooo good on such a large scale.

1/8/07 6:37 AM  
Blogger m.p.k said...

I've ridden a train to work for seven years. It takes 45 minutes each way, about 60 miles round trip, and I cherish that time. Sometimes it's the people watching, other times, it's extra time to sleep. I can read a book or watch a movie or watch the towns roll by. I'm so glad I don't have to drive, I don't miss it at all.

1/8/07 1:55 PM  

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