May 7, 2008

MDG Goal 7

Honors Goal 7

I really liked this presentation. The slides were well designed and nice to look at.

The group members seemed confident in what they were saying.

One thing that took away from the slide show would be all the text each slide. The information need to be paraphrased. Otherwise we are too busy reading or listening-hard to do both!

The topic is an interesting choice...concentrating on Minneapolis was a good choice...everyone else worked mostly with Africa.

I would be careful about the use of the word slum...especially when using an area so close to home. The word slum has too many negative attachments.

Some memorable things:

2 Part Dilemma
Growing Need for Low-income Housing
Natural Development

Finding a Sustainable Soulution

MDG Blog Goal 8

Honors Goal 8

Overall the information provided was good. Each point was clear and easy to understand.

The use of pictures were well thought out. Each slide fit really well to together and looked professional.

One piece of criticism I have would be the transitions/connection between speakers. Each person was very different in style and did not flow well.

Some memorable parts of the presentation are:

Somalia is behind the technology curve in Africa.

Communication fuels development.
Use of Mobile Technology
Wireless and Educational Technology
Sustainable Energy Solutions

People fuel the change.

The presentation showed a need for the technology but didn't touch much on a solution for getting it there.

April 29, 2008

Moments almost missed...volunteering

Every Thursday afternoon I venture out into a part of the city that is not part of my everyday life. I arrive at Seward Tower West, part of Commonbond Communities, where I get to spend time with some amazing kids!


This is my second semester going to Seward so I have really come to know this group of kids and staff really well. The first semester I worked with Campfire USA, which involved arts, crafts, and games, and now I am working with the Homework Center.

The kids that attend each week are what you might call the "regulars." They come almost every night to many different programs that are offered after school.

It has been fun to play games and work on homework, it reminds us about what things were like when we were young (or I guess younger...we are still practically kids ourselves). We also get to remember just how frustrated we got when we didn't understand something, homework or a game that an older child is playing. We have to help explain that is is okay to not know everything, that we are all learning.

This leads to one problem that we find in the Homework Center, the range in ages is too large. We have 1st graders to 8th graders all trying to use the same room. The younger kids never seem to have enough homework to last the whole time so they want to play and have fun, this disrupts the older kids who are trying so hard to understand and complete their homework. The older kids tend to pick on the younger kids when they are having a hard time with something, the older kids think it should be easy. If the age groups were broken up better I think things would be more productive.

I'm not sure that I necessarily understand what this had to do with the class. But even so I would still recommend continuing to do so in the future. If nothing else it will make you a better person, or it should. I am happy that I did this and I probably never would have with out this class and 1801 before it.

Although I only spend on average one hour a week, it is going to be hard to stop going when this class is over. I have come to get to know the kids, what they like and dislike. I will probably miss my discussions with Ayan (a second grader) about what happened on One Tree Hill each week most! She makes me laugh all the time. I will miss this time when I can forget about my life, problems, whatever and concentrate on having fun and helping someone. Who knows maybe I will have to do this again next year just for fun!

April 3, 2008

our cover to their story...

Here are the three covers for the Research Project...

Download file

Download file

Download file

March 13, 2008

From us to you...

There are many ways of relaying information people...these are just a few ways to present our goals.

A CD Jacket



A Poster.


A Model.


A Book.


March 9, 2008

How we face an opposition makes us who we are...

There are so many oppositions that we face every day.

Some good, some bad...they make us who we are.

Who am I...lets see!

The climate can be seen as an opposition. Most people would consider the long winters we experience here in the Mid-west to be a problem.


I love can play in the snow and wear big sweaters. Not to mention great hats and scarfs!

hat and scarf.jpg

What else?


The opposition of gravity is terrible! I really do not like ladders, elevators or stairs that you can see through...who wants to see the ground when it is that far below them? If I am already at the top of something and looking out into the open sky I am fine. Just don't get too close to the edge!


There are many more oppositions that shape me...but we will save them for later.

The world around us shapes who we are...oppositions especially. We must embrace them.

February 28, 2008

Is Freedom Really Free

So we have been asked what we would do if we were released from the constraints of the 'architecture school' program? Its a question kind of always on our mind but never really considered. We say that we want out, we want to do our own thing, but who really knows?

More and more I am wondering if I really want to be an architect. I want at least my B.S. but I wonder if I will ever want to go all the way through the licensing process. So currently this question really applies. I'm not sure I will ever know for sure.

Well if I was to be released from these constraints today I would probably walk away from architecture for a while. As I wrote before I am really interested in the foreclosure rates on homes today. My job, which is still really new, actually allows me to help prevent some of these foreclosures. I really want to help people. That is what I would focus most of my time on.


In my own imaginary world we would be able to afford the home we want. Or at least something adequate to live in. Todays starter home is outrageously priced! So I guess I am interested in affordable housing on some level.


So I don't think this world is really that imaginary...I don't need a cape or super powers! It is realistic, it is something I can do now...something I want to do now.

Now this freedom at first may seem great but for me would probably hurt! I think I need the constraints to keep me on track and hopefully help me accomplish my goals... or at least current goals.

February 21, 2008

Take My Hand...Show Me The Way

take my hand.jpg

Did you know?

In our world today nearly 11 million children under the age of 5 die in the world every year - well over 1,200 every hour most from easly preventable or treatable causes.

(Source:Why do the Millennium Development Goals matter? Brochure)


Be open to your dreams, people. Embrace that distant shore. Because our mortal journey is over all too soon.

(David Assael, Northern Exposure, It Happened in Juneau, 1992)

For these children life has ended well before it should.


The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906 - 1945)

We must now look to see what it is that we can do for these children.


Living in this country we take many things for granted. We have nice or at least decent houses. Food to eat. For most of us life is good. We forget about those less fortunate. The children in the world who can't get the food they need. They have no shelter or place to call home. These children must be helped.


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February 14, 2008

MOM...why can't we go home?

So lets think hypothetically…you are 10 years old. You live in a nice home, in a nice neighborhood with your family. Or at least you did yesterday. Today you don’t have a home to call your own. Your house was taken away. You might ask how this could happen. How could a family with children just be kicked out of their own home? Sadly it is happening more and more across the U.S. today. And lately it has become a big problem in Minneapolis.


Now you are probably still wondering why…the answer is FORECLOSURE.

foreclosure sign.jpeg

Sadly, right now someone is signing for a mortgage loan they don’t understand. We have been taught to look for low rates and small payments. The banks know this and take advantage of it. People are so busy chasing these low rates and payments that they don’t read any further on the loan documents. Just a few inches down the page it is explained that the payments will continue to go up and your interest rate is likely to follow. Even if they do read further down the page they just say it is okay because they can just refinance. This is exactly what the bank wants. The longer the loan is active the longer they get paid.

Look how many foreclosures there were in Minneapolis in 2007.

Snapshot 2008-02-14 22-42-02.jpg

What would it take to prevent this? It’s simple really…EDUCATION.

If people really knew that they would one day lose their home, the only source of shelter for their children, do you really think they would sign?

Is there anyone trying to prevent or help? YES!

A good place to look would be
Here you will find 5 strategies:
1) Prevent Foreclosures
2) Prevent Properties from Becoming Boarded and Vacant
3) Rehabilitate or Remove Boarded and Vacant Buildings
4) Promote Reinvestment and Environmental Sustainability
5) Attract and Retain a Healthy Mix of Stable Residents


February 7, 2008

The Engergy Within

There are many forms of energy flowing and transforming in the city today. You can choose to think about actual energy, like electricity or maybe water, or you can think more broadly. The people who live and work in the city are what create and drive energy through Minneapolis. When something happens that changes the flow of this energy, or the everyday lives of people real change occurs.
traffic jam.jpg
For example when there is an accident on a busy road or highway things, in a way, shut down. People become late or just impatient. The energy created, or the mood given off by these people, become negative. This can follow them through their entire day changing the course of events that otherwise may have happened.
The same thing happens when something good happens. Lets say that the Vikings or the Twins win an important game. The mood of the city, or at least the true fans, change much like before. Only now they feel positive. Like nothing can go wrong, at least not right now. This helps those people to go out and do some thing they otherwise would not have the confidence to do. Maybe they talked to someone new and started a meaningful relationship or maybe they just did something small. It doesn’t matter what happens, it is just the fact that one thing, one event in our lives can change the flow of energy in and around us. Therefore changing our city too!