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basilAudrey and I made our weekly trip to the Fulton Street Farmers Market this past Saturday morning. As we were having our ongoing dialog about what we needed to get and what we would be having for dinner over the next few days, Audrey asked if we could have Pesto for our Sunday dinner. I replied that basil only grew when it was sunny and warm and even though it was a sunny and warm day for November in Michigan – the basil was long gone for the year. We browsed on looking for promising dinner ingredients.

But, on our way out on our right, there it was: bunches and bunches of fresh, green, leafy basil! Not the scrawny, dim end of season stuff either; but summer hot, bright green, fragrant bushes! We were on our way to great summertime Pesto for Sunday dinner.

JAH 1918Last Wednesday morning there was a little party to celebrate the start of construction for the Fulton Street Farmers Market.

Organized by our friends at Rockford Construction, executed by the relentless Jenny Waugh and blessed by a beautiful autumn weather, the groundbreaking was another milestone in long and unique partnership between the City of Grand Rapids and the Midtown Neighborhood Association that has brought out the best in everyone involved.

Inevitably, in the well worn “...Grand Rapids needs to be more like Chicago” discussion – sometime between my first weary sigh and my ultimate request for the check – I'm asked to suggest a better aspirational metropolis. My answer is always the same: Minneapolis.

BookCover8X10 draft03Earlier this week Tyler Nickerson rolled out a nice review of our recently released Urban Edits.

Tyler is a newer addition to the ongoing Grand Rapids urban discussion. In the few years that I've known him it's evident that he's an earnest advocate for a just urban environment and one that's willing to raise his voice to back a just cause. He comes to this book review from a very different perspective (policy) than ours (design) and that's why I was excited to see criticism.

Wow! Lott3Metz turns ten years old today. I must say I'm a little misty. Thank you to everyone that's hired, or helped, or pushed, or dared, or double-dared us over the years.

Even though there is still so much to do I think George would be proud.

Here's to ten more!

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9410321 largeI've been thinking back and looking ahead in recent weeks; inspired by my new friends at Bike Friendly Grand Rapids - Josh Leffingwell and Tyler Doornbos - and their earnest, but frustrating, efforts at positively affecting the recent and ongoing Revision Division 'road diet' in downtown Grand Rapids.

Thinking back about my time spent with the now defunct Heartside Mainstreet organization and how I was (am) fighting for many of the same things as Josh & Tyler. Looking ahead at how we might do better and move faster in our efforts to build our City. Many of the things that I, and others, pushed for in the reconstruction of Division in the early 2000's are coming to pass in the Revision Division efforts: that is very good. But more than 10 years of advocacy for a new and discontinuous striping pattern is not nearly good enough.

A winning formula – erased. I realize that the Michigan legislation is trying to do their best to make our state better, but...they always forgot about the "little guy", the people who put consistent investment into the state. Yes, big projects are good and they do benefit our state and the region in which they are constructed, but it is the multitude of little projects that fill the gaps, that provide for better neighborhoods, that provide a destination for people. Their is a misinformed belief (attitude) that these credits will no longer help. I disagree as our office sees how it does help. It appears that whatever is proposed will require more bureaucracy (more government) which also does not set well with me. We do not need more unnecessary government for programs that have already been proven to work. I hope a miracle occurs and the Michigan legislator gets it right.

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LEED as Gold Standard – Well written article on LEED, the good and the bad.

Again, I do not feel that a private, for profit organization should not sway codes or legislation. Energy Star is simple to use and is a good alternative for your clients.

NotLEEDRead this article – Boston Society of Architects This is an issue that we have had concerns about for some time and the BSA hit it on the head. A private for profit institution, such as the GBCI, should not be used as a government regulator. The public has no say or control over their actions and with legislation tied into it, ugly things will happen.

Audrey and I got a late start on Saturday morning and didn't get to market until after 11AM. The stalls were full of vendors and customers were everywhere.Saturday had to be one of the best opening days in recent memory, vendors we were talking to had already sold all their products and were packing up to go. We're going to have to move much faster on Saturdays. FSFM's popularity continues to grow.

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