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moss little black dress minimalism

Less can be more. Or it can be less. There are extremes: hoarders; or the guy who owns 15 things. But there is also balance. Regardless, while a walk-in closet is some people’s idea of delightful, for me it dredges up memories of my forever unkempt floor, (although to be honest, I would still love a walk-in closet.) That’s where these bloggers inspire, people who’ve lavished the filters of utility, essentialism and true love onto their lives and emerged with less. Or at least deeper reasons for keeping what they own.

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Prone though Chicago is to crazy weather indecision, a March this sunny exceeded our expectations. Not that we didn’t already skip over a winter that was predicted to create a mass exodus from the Windy City this past season (we’re still here). We keep hearing about record-breaking temperatures all over the map, but we want superlatives this afternoon. So, what was the coldest Chicago winter day? And how did this one stack up?

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moss green architect beer in the snow

The refrigerator present in most Western kitchens today wasn’t invented all that long ago. Carl Van Linde developed the technology in the 1870’s, but his ammonia-based fridges still required separate motors, and inhaling the toxic gases within led to a few deaths—not ideal. The first freestanding, commercially available fridge hit shelves (well, floors) in 1913, and wasn’t really perfected until the 1930’s. Iceboxes and burying perishables in the ground preceed both models by thousands of years.

But the current model isn’t done evolving yet. Refrigerators still consume about a 6th of the energy used in the average American home. This week’s edition includes inspiring fridges that use little to no electricity, instead keeping food cold/preserved using methods from sand to biopolymers.

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Last week, we revealed the initial designs for new public open space at 3400 North Paulina Street (formerly a tire repair shop, and now a vacant lot).  First mentioned in the Lakeview Area Master Plan, public open space at this site would attract shoppers from outside the neighborhood to the street and provide a gathering spot for local residents and shoppers.  During our research for the master plan, Lakeview residents ranked the need for more public open space as their top priority for the neighborhood. It outranked safety, parking, shopping options, and every other category by a wide margin. Open space at this location responds to that desire while creating a new public plaza and park at the Paulina Brown Line station.  Furthermore, open space at this site will surely help to make the rest of Lincoln Avenue more desirable to retailers and residential developers. (There are 5 other vacant lots within 1 block of the Paulina station and many underdeveloped properties.) It should also be obvious the inhospitable nature of residential units directly adjacent to an El platform. Doors closing, Southport will be next, doors open on the right at Southport. Oh, sorry, excuse the interruption.

Best of all, this is a project you can help make happen! Take this one question survey to support the plan for open space at 3400 Paulina.

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We are reclaiming urban public space for people on PARK(ing) Day, Friday, September 16, 2011 from 9am to 5pm.  The designed “PARK(ing) spaces”, metered parking spaces converted into temporary green parks, will be located in front of Southport Grocery, 3552 North Southport Avenue.  The ‘park’ will feature a bicycle repair station, live music, and a lawn for dining and enjoying the day.

In 2009 and 2010, moss Design converted parking spaces into temporary public space, which will be expanded this year to highlight the need for bike infrastructure and open space in Lakeview.  Earlier this year moss Design unveiled a sustainable master plan, prepared for the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce and SSA 27.  Part of the plan was a call for more unique and accessible public open space.  This year’s PARK(ing) Day theme is a “Bicycle Comfort Station” featuring free food, live music, bike parking and repair, and relaxation areas.  Think of it as the mini-mart of the future.
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Our third annual PARK(ing) Day installation at Southport and Addison is on Friday, September 16, 2011, 9a-5p (video above is a mashup from our 2009 park-ification).  This is totally going to be the best year yet!  On site bicycle repair, in-park dining tables, live music, and food.  Be sure to be there to help us re-imagine public space.  Missed our coverage last year?  Check this out.  Or our treatise on urban parking?  More to come.

Moss reveals the Lakeview Area Master Plan to the Lakeview community and Chicago.  The master plan, in its entirety, is available here.

The Lakeview Area Master Plan (LAMP) will be revealed tonight, but there is one element that I think deserves special attention.

When research began on the project we were out surveying neighborhood inventory, like bike racks, streetscape environments, facade conditions, and public space.  After investigating we found that Lakeview contains only .2 acres of open space per 1000 residents (The ideal ratio is 2 acres per 1000 people).  This notion was reinforced during the public open houses and interview sessions when residents cried out for more public open space.  So where, in a dense, developed urban neighborhood do we find available land for public space?  We thought, let’s look for space on top of things and under things! Read the rest of this entry »

We have been selected by the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce to prepare a master plan for the Lakeview commercial areas!!  Along with our consultant partners, PLACE, we will lead the sustainability and environmental review portion of the planning process.  We are using this year’s PARK(ing) Day to kick off our efforts.  So if you are a Lakeview-ian and have some thoughts about your ‘hood, come talk to us.  Stay tuned, we’ll have updates-o-plenty.

Parking. Its a sore subject here in Chicago.  In 2008 the City decided to privatize it’s 36,000 parking meters – in reality leasing an 8′ wide section of asphalt from the curb to the sometimes-present-bike lane – to a group made up of Morgan Stanley, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Allianz Capital Partners for a $1.16B. Since then, everyone in the City, nay, the world, seems to have developed a disdain to the selling off of public assets.  And rightly so.  Bloomberg News discovered just last month that we Chicagoans got royally hosed on the deal.  It turns out the private group will net $9.58B over the course of the 75-year term.  Oops.  This is more than twice what Alderman Scott Waguespack estimated the City would loose in profits when he denounced the deal and subsequently voted against it in the City Council.

This doesn’t stop the City from praising itself for the move, as Chicago’s CFO, Gene Saffold, touted, “The concession agreement was absolutely the best deal for Chicagoans”.  Going on to wax delusional, “The net present value of $11.6 billion in revenue over the life of the 75-year agreement is consistent with $1.15 billion the city received.”  Um, yeah.  You say this guy does the City’s accounting, eh.  Meanwhile, the Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General called the deal “dubious” since Saffold, “failed to calculate how much the system would be worth over 75 years.  The present value of the contract was $2.13 billion, more than the $1.15 billion the city received”, according to Bloomberg. Read the rest of this entry »

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