NESEA BE13 – Conference Wrap Up & Great News To Share With You!

I wanted to do a quick wrap up of my NESEA Building Energy (Be13) experience.

First of all, I thought it would be tough to beat getting the entire NESEA building nerdy crowd to say the words “think urban, think sexy”  …. but this years conference beat it!

The overall conference was amazing. It was so much fun.. I am still recovering! There was a great vibe, a lot of newbies and attendance was at an all time high. Boston was windy and rainy but inside people were learning about buildings, cities, mechanicals and so much more. There was a lot of Buffalo representation – Chris Hawley from the City of Buffalo, Jerry Young from Young & Wright architects and Megan McNally was in attendance and/or presented. Go Buffalo!

If you are interested in NESEA – become a member! Not only do you get a discount on the conference but you do get to meet, drink and learn with the inventors/doers/shakers in the building science industry. <– See the website for details on membership, events and information.

I have really great news ! 

Matt Root and I have been selected as the co-vice chairs of the ENTIRE conference for BE2014! HOLY COW! With Marc Sternick, Matt Root and I – we make a fun, dynamic team. This means I will be helping to organize, market, find cash and move the conference forward for 2014 and 2015. NESEA is such a wonderful organization and I am happy to help dedicate my time towards making the NESEA conference in Boston even bigger and better!

The Retrofit for Resilience: Cities track that Robert Leaver and I co created had VERY high attendance! That is a BIG deal for us because this is a whole new subject and was a very risky endeavor. Building scientists don’t usually think about Cities..  but it was great to see so much interest in it! With great risk comes great reward…  Yay! I am looking forward to seeing how this track progresses over the next couple of years. Resiliency is a big topic these days!

Many thanks goes out to all of the NESEA planning staff, volunteers, NESEA employees, presenters and attendees for making this NESEA the best NESEA Building Energy conference I have ever experienced.

Glowing with excitement after being announced as the Co-Vice Chair for the NESEA BE14.
Glowing with excitement after being announced as the Co-Vice Chair for the NESEA BE14.
Presenting about cities, planning and resilience.
Chris Hawley dazzles the crowd with his presentation about zoning and Buffalo!



New Book – For the love of Cities!

7 pages in and I am so in love.. Never have I read a book that talks about the importance of loving your city which is something I feel so so strongly about. You have to love where you live!!

“When we have an emotional connection to our place, we are less likely to leave it and far more likely to champion and defend it in the face of criticism.” – Peter Kageyama, author of For the Love of Cities .



Election 2012

Yesterday was a good day for America!
Go Obama!

Funny on how all the cities are democratic… Must be all the education, creative class and diversity! Cities are the future!


Photo Of The Day: WORK

This has been my work environment for the past hour.
I’m happiest and most productive when I am not in a lifeless office space in the burbs.. Of course!
Who doesn’t like seeing an being around people, sipping coffee and listening to music while whipping up proposals??!!
Hope everyone of my readers is having a great day. Lots of new initiatives and projects are about to come online.. Stay tuned!


A Newpats Perspective on Buffalo

My friend Derek King is a newpat to Buffalo and we threw him into the Buffalo ring – hard. Well, we are happy to report that he is surviving and LOVING Buffalo. I am sure New Hampshire misses him… but we are very happy to have him on Team Buffalove.
I asked him to tell me what he thought about Buffalo and of course, he only had good things to say.
The first thing that stood out about Buffalo was that the people here are so welcoming. It’s not Midwestern “Nice” and it’s not any sort of fake generosity either; it’s a genuine, this is who I am, and if you aren’t a jerk, you’ll fit in nicely. Walk into a bar here in Buffalo, and you can strike up a conversation up with anyone who’s there. It’s incredible how much this place reminds me of being home. People here don’t have a lot of pretension and are willing to give you a chance to be yourself, even if it’s a little weird. 
There’s so much beauty in this city. The trees along Bidwell and Chapin, that fill the Fruit Belt. Evenings down at Gallagher Pier, the sunset taking the edge off what is otherwise a towering behemoth of a grain elevator. Buildings that tell a lot about the past, and how great this city was, and how great it still can be. NH has a lot of natural beauty; rolling hills, tree covered mountains, brooks, streams, and lakes all within a stones throw. I essentially grew up in a Robert Frost poem. Here, there’s a different kind of beauty; it’s living and changing, and it’s timeless in so many ways that are similar to sleepy, small town Barnstead, but in such different ways. In the same way that there’s a vibrancy in NH (Most of the state is essentially a forest, with all the wildlife that comes with it), there’s vibrancy here; people sitting on porches, kids playing in the street, and vibrant neighborhoods. Elmwood’s shops and bars, while pretty awesome in their own right, don’t hold a candle to the local corner stores on Grant and in the West Side, and I’d take a beer at Casey’s or Swannie’s any day than at Blue Monk, which are a little more my speed. 
The thing that is most impressive, though, are the passionate people I’ve met since I’ve been here. I loved growing up in New Hampshire, and Barnstead was a great place to have a childhood, but there is a prevailing sentiment that life there will never change, and that if things were to change, it would be for the worse. Coming here has been eye-opening; I didn’t realize people could care about a place so much. Not only was it invigorating, getting involved with BYP, and now with the West Side EDF, but it got me to think back to New Hampshire. Before, when I thought about going back, it was always in the context of “when I’m older, to give my (future, completely hypothetical) children the same experience as me.” Now, it’s that thought, but also, “What could I do to make New Hampshire better.”
 That’s been the most amazing thing about Buffalo; it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this good about being in a place. Buffalonians have a pretty intense chip on their shoulder, and for good reason; I’ve read enough about the last hundred years here to understand the distrust of good news, of this collective holding of the breathe as projects like the Canalside, Larkin Square, and now Webster Block are unveiled, waiting to see when the other foot will drop. 
For me, as someone who doesn’t have that weight on my shoulders, this place is refreshing and exhilarating. Every day has something new to experience. You just have to open up the Artvoice and put your finger down on a page, and before you know it you’re in some sort of back-room jazz show. 
There is a quote that sums up how I feel about this place, and it’s only been a few months since I’ve been here, so maybe check back in after winter, but I feel like it’ll stay pretty strong. It’s in the description for the sculpture outside of the Albright-Knox (which totally perplexes me, but most art does to be honest… I mean, why the one row boat?!… hell, why any of the boats?!):

“Built to live anywhere; at home here.”

Sounds about right to me. 
Derek’s 1st BYP Happy Hour.

Buffalo Bocce League 2013?

Who wants to join a 2013 Buffalo Bocce League?

Let me tell you about Providence, RI’s Downtown Bocce League… and why Buffalo is the perfect candidate for something like this!

First of all – Go to this link and check out Providence’s Bocce Team Page.. Great website! (Link to Website Here)

Here is why this is awesome.

The Bocce Court  is set on a vacant land parcel in the downtown core of Providence. The vacant lot also has a white screen to show movies when Bocce is not in session! Double use of vacant land!  Buffalo has a bunch of great vacant lots that are sitting there lifeless… why not convert one into a combo Bocce / Movie center? This is a simple, almost temporary use of a vacant lot but beats having a lifeless, half mowed lot and can bring life to an area!

Most importantly, by the reaction and results in Providence, you can tell this is so much fun and soooo hip! The Bocce League has parties, they hang out, they play…  there is a link below about their league. Check it out. Their team names and party fliers scream urban city dwellers that appreciate good fonts.

So why doesn’t Buffalo have one? Lets start thinking about where this could happen and how we can fund the costs for the initial start up. I will start the first team  – Team Buffalove and will contribute $50.00 towards this cause.

Let’s do this, Buffalo! Buffalo Bocce League 2013!

Providence Downtown City Bocce League – Link

Bocce in Downtown Providence – Photo Credit from the link above!


NYC Highline Gets Weird.. In a Good Way!

Jason and I headed to NYC a few weeks ago and I had to show him the Highline.
I was happy to see that the Highline has gotten weird – in a good way!

Here are a couple photos. The Highline zoo is my favorite! On top of that, there are several murals, funny window clings, music/art vendors and even a lady who does a dance for highliners every hour or so from her apartment window.

Check it out next time you’re in NYC!





The Great Migration!

Yep, the great migration has been confirmed! This idea is something I have been preaching about for years now… The theory of a great migration of people moving back into the cities because of easy transportation access and availability of needs within walking distance. The article (below) explains a lot on the great migration and this whole city concept.

Although some may think I’m crazy for hating commutes and cars and wanting to work from a coffee shop, this article really shows the shift of thought and want from my generation! Love it.