I went to college at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. On the other side of the Hocking River from the main campus, is the Ridges; a stately extension to OU’s campus. The former Administrative Building was a wonderful 5 story building seen below. It used to be a working farm, with a dairy, stables, orchards and gardens. It was self sustaining. It was landscaped by someone from the same firm that did Manhattan’s Central Park.
A friend who grew up in Athens, told me that towns people would have picnics over at the ponds of the grounds, because they were so peaceful. The Ridges was part of Athens, people felt at ease there. It was a place of dignity. The original name for the Ridges was, the Athens Lunatic Asylum.
Los Angles will be voting on a bond issue to Prevent and Combat Homelessness. Homelessness is a big problem in the United States, not just California. I see homeless people in parks, pushing shopping carts, begging, in the library when I worked there. The visible homeless sometimes also have mental problems, which exasperates their condition.
I also see homeless people in cars, on bikes, on buses, trains or just walking along. These are the people I, may not even suspect are homeless. They have shelter. But they are living in relative’s houses, friend’s apartments, or in their automobiles. Most of these people may even have jobs, but they can’t afford to pay the deposit and the rent payment to sign a lease. So they “rent” hotel rooms, with no appliances. They just keep falling behind. Homelessness can rob someone of their dignity.
Many of the residents might have been homeless, in Athens during the 1800’s, if it were not for the Athens Lunatic Asylum. The residents helped take care of the farm and the grounds surrounding their cottages. It was self sustaining. It was serene. People were not afraid of it.
But times changes and so did ideas on mental health. Most services for mental health have been spread throughout the community. We should not be afraid the issues that surround homelessness either. Because sometimes when a community gives dignity to a problem, the problem gives dignity to the community.
In high school used to watch a TV action show called, Kung Fu. But I don’t remember many of the action parts. I do remember the interludes when the main character Caine / Young Grasshopper would think back to his youth and his mentor Master Po would guide him.
For Nations Random Acts of Kindness Day, here is one of my favorites.
“Young Caine, when I was a boy, I fell into a hole in the ground and I was broken and could not climb out. I might have died there but a stranger came along and saved me. He said it was his obligation. That for help he had once received, he must in return help ten others each of whom would then help ten others so that good deeds would spread out like the ripples from a pebble in a pond. I was one of his ten and you became one of mine. And now I pass this obligation on to you.” – Master Po (episode #15)
This is Spring Festival in China, where I lived in for five years. I went there out of curiosity, I stayed out of love. I had just graduated and had met some Chinese students who made a good impression on me, I had only been out the country once and had loved it, I wanted to see the world. China seemed like a good place to start.
China had opened itself up to the world and the world responded in kind. What an exciting place full of transitions. Shanghai and Guangzhou were already international cities. Beijing was holding the Olympics, one of the most international events in the world.
I love nature and I am concerned about our environment, about the way our communities develop and grow. During my preliminary visit a year earlier, I saw people using vacuum tube solar hot water heaters, I saw that most homes had a balcony facing south to capture heat in the winter, appliances seemed very efficient, in the high rise cities the street level was full of small shops, bike lanes had a physical barrier separating them from cars, trucks and buses. There is so much I wanted to investigate.
But what impressed me the most was the excitement people shared with me, their optimism. It was everywhere, it was infectious. There were still traditions, like a week long holiday for Spring Festival, most large cities had an “old town”, people in the cities would find a patch of ground and plant vegetable gardens, there were traditional medicine hospitals. The south facing balcony design was partly derived from fengshui (風水 – wind and water). Everything was there to be breathed in, with an electric feeling of excitement about the future.
I wanted to learn and experience it all, then come back and see what might work here.
A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Google Search Definition Is commonly considered a social unit (a group of people) who have something in common, such as norms, values, identity . . . . . . it often has a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a village, town, or neighborhood). Wikipedia Community can be explored in three different ways; place, ideas and communion.Infed.com
There are many ways to create a healthy community here are some thought from the CDC.
The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. This fact sheet explains healthy community design and its health benefits.
What Is Healthy Community Design?
Healthy community design is planning and designing communities that make it easier for people to live healthy lives. Healthy community design offers important benefits:
• Decreases dependence on the automobile by building homes, businesses, schools, churches and parks closer to each other so that people can more easily walk or bike between them.
• Provides opportunities for people to be physically active and socially engaged as part of their daily routine, improving the physical and mental health of its citizens.
• Allows persons, if they choose, to age in place and remain all their lives in a community that reflects their changing lifestyles and changing physical capabilities.
What Are the Health Benefits of Healthy Community Design?
Healthy community design can provide many advantages:
• Promote physical activity.
• Improve air quality.
• Lower risk of injuries.
• Increase social connection and sense of community.
• Reduce contributions to climate change.
What Are Some Healthy Community Design Principles?
Healthy community design includes a variety of principles:
• Encourage mixed land use and greater land density to shorten distances between homes, workplaces, schools and recreation so people can walk or bike more easily to them.
• Provide good mass transit to reduce the dependence upon automobiles.
• Build good pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, including sidewalks and bike paths that are safely removed from automobile traffic as well as good right of way laws and clear,
• Ensure affordable housing is available for people of all income levels.
• Create community centers where people can gather and mingle as part of their daily activities.
• Offer access to green space and parks.
Designing and building healthy communities can improve the quality of life for all people who live, work, worship, learn, and play within their borders—where every person is free to make
choices amid a variety of healthy, available, accessible, and affordable options.
For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces.