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Thursday, October 31, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 9

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO




The weather in late October is perfect in Oaxaca – warm and dry.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 8

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO




Graves have been cleaned and are intricately decorated and covered with bouquets of flowers, candles and the favorite foods and drinks of the deceased.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 7

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO




Entire families and friends spend the nights out of their homes and next to the grave of their loved ones, conducting a vigil to connect with the dead by singing, eating and drinking.

Monday, October 28, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 6

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO




In the days leading up to Dia de Los Muertos, graves and crypts are decorated with marigold flowers, petals, candles, foods and drinks.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 5

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO



The atmosphere becomes more magical later at night, as families sit by the graves, some playing guitar, some singing.

It is a night of remembrance and celebration that their loved ones will return home for the night.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 4

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO




The graveyard stays open late, so loved ones can sit by the grave for most of the night.

Panteon San Miguel welcomes visitors who do not have a family member buried within its walls.


But it is important to be respectful – all of these photos were shot with a telephoto lens a long distance away from the families.

Friday, October 25, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 3

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO



Families eat with the spirits of their dead loved ones and leave plenty of food and drink behind for them.

This picture shows a potful of pollo en mole negro

Thursday, October 24, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 2

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO




Some families bring instruments to play the favorite music of their departed loved ones.

Others hire roving five-piece bands to provide the live music.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS -- 1

PANTEON DE SAN MIGUEL -- OAXACA, MEXICO



Panteon San Miguel is about a 20-minute walk from the Zocalo in central Oaxaca City.

Visit it Oct. 31-Nov. 2 to see Dia de Muertos festivities in action.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I TURN 55 TODAY

TIME FOR A LITTLE REINVENTION



When I graduated from Kent State University Journalism School in 1987, I figured I’d land a job at a major daily newspaper as a reporter and spend the next half century writing about important issues that impact my community.

Then in 2000, we decided to move to Miami and I became a public servant, working nearly a decade as the senior policy advisor to the Chairman of the Miami City Commission.

Next came an opportunity to work in marketing communications for top Magic City firms that specialized in Urban Design, Town Planning, Architecture and Mobility Engineering.

My three-plus decades of award-winning work has had two common themes: storytelling and making the world a better place to live.

So my goal is to spend the next decade or more of my life working as a storyteller for non-profit, for profit, academic and community-based businesses and organizations that help people.

While I expect to still do a lot of storytelling for planners, designers and those who improve our built environment, I also want to focus on helping groups and individuals that fight for the rights of people with disabilities.

My expertise in Universal Design, Inclusive Mobility and Caregiving is a perfect match to working toward true social equity for the one billion people with disabilities worldwide.

I also would like to assist – with grant writing, newsletter creation, website content and other storytelling for organizations that advocate for animal rights and welfare – especially cats.

A rescue cat adopted us nearly six years ago and our lives have been joyful and complete since we became guardians of HoneyBear the Siamese rescue cat.

I am excited about the opportunities.





Monday, October 21, 2019

TRAVEL BROADENS THE MIND

AND INCREASES EMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHERS



In the past two years, I have had the good fortune to visit Rome, Paris, Istanbul, Naples, Ait Ben Haddou, Oaxaca, Marrakech and USA destinations too numerous to list.


In the past decade, I have been to Argentina, Uruguay, Brazl, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guanajuato and several other destinations in South, Central and Spanish-speaking North America.


Each time, I have come back with not just an exposure to great architecture, cuisine, art and culture -- but also an increased empathy for others.


I grew up very sheltered in the Midwest. My family's idea of a far away foreign nation was Canada -- crossing the bridge in Niagra Falls back in pre 911 days when they barely looked at your ID. A big cultural exposure was driving the station wagon to the Blue Ridge Parkway.


I my journeys, I have formed an intense appreciation for all people of all abilities/disabilities, religions/no religion, gender/gender identity/orientation, race/ethnicity, etc.


My solemn wish, from the White House to the local person who hides behind hatred in online comments to news stories and in angry/hurtful social media blasts, is that 2020 will be a year when we can all embrace our humanity, appreciate our diversity and practice the Golden Rule.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Winners of ZeroThreshold Design Competition -- Part 5

NCCH Design Challenge Aimed At Creating Most Innovative, Visually Appealing And Forward-Thinking Barrier-Free Designs For Living


Best Hybrid Design and Grand Prize Winner: Side By Side

Brandt : Haferd of NY, NY won the award for Best Hybrid Design and the overall Grand Prize for Best Design, totaling $10,000. Jerome Haferd, a native Ohioan, was in attendance to accept the award.

Side By Side was a unique design that explored an intermix of public and private spaces. Prominent features included a public promenade, an integrated ramped garden, a roof top garden and a mix of private living and communal spaces in a home connected through a central double decker lift.

The jury felt the board presentation and the designers use of a highly detailed model, was playful and accessible. The solutions themselves we’re interesting and took an innovative look at how you might address the real complications and limitation of making an existing two-story home accessible.

Throughout the review of the competition, the jury was struck by how many of the designers, Brandt and Haferd included, incorporated a component of community into their designs. It’s a critical issue. There is a clear connection between lack of accessibility and social isolation. The fact that so many designers created the same connection is very promising indeed!




Saturday, October 19, 2019

Al-Qarafa, The City of the Dead (Egypt, 2009)

The Winners of ZeroThreshold Design Competition -- Part 4

NCCH Design Challenge Aimed At Creating Most Innovative, Visually Appealing And Forward-Thinking Barrier-Free Designs For Living


The Evening's Favorite:  Carson's Home

Nearly 200 attendees at the awards event reviewed the designs and voted on their favorite.


Their pick was Carson's Home by Trevor Kinnard, who had traveled with his family from WI to Cleveland just for the event. 

The design was a case study on a home for Kinnard's brother who experienced a traumatic brain injury nearly 18 years ago.

It left Carson with limited mobility and independence. 

The design promotes movement and exploration throughout the home and features a special interactive display wall, which Carson could use for his shoe collection - but could be enjoyed by anyone!

https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Announcing-the-winners-.html?soid=1114973702310&aid=_IcaiUMeEhk

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Winners of ZeroThreshold Design Competition -- Part 3

NCCH Design Challenge Aimed At Creating Most Innovative, Visually Appealing And Forward-Thinking Barrier-Free Designs For Living 

Most Innovative Interior Architecture : All Access Home

While "Interior Architecture" was not initially a category, the design details and innovation of the All Access Home caught the jurors' attention. 

The integration of ramping throughout the home, the focus on details and the activity of daily living (from cubbies for storage to an innovative solution for taking out the trash) made the design stand out. 

The use of differing elevations within the home also created opportunities for wheelchair users to experience different perspectives and eye levels when interacting with others. 

These are changes in perspective that those who can easily vary their stance height might take for granted. 

Julia McMorrough, an Associate Professor at Taubman College in MI won $3,000 for her design.

https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Announcing-the-winners-.html?soid=1114973702310&aid=_IcaiUMeEhk

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Winners of ZeroThreshold Design Competition -- Part 2

NCCH Design Challenge Aimed At Creating Most Innovative, Visually Appealing And Forward-Thinking Barrier-Free Designs For Living




Best Overall Student Design AND Innovative Accessory Dwelling Concept : InBTwin

Students from the University of Trento in Italy, won $2,000 for this innovative design.

InBTwin proposed using the space between homes to create a shared accessory dwelling space with ramp and lift systems. 

The spaces could be used for greenhouses, dining, or other activities. This also created the opportunity to turn two homes into multi-family units.


In addition to the best student design, the jurors felt the promise of the design and the overall concept was worthy for consideration in the professional category for Best Accessory Dwelling.



Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Winners of ZeroThreshold Design Competition -- Part 1

NCCH Design Challenge Aimed At Creating Most Innovative, Visually Appealing And Forward-Thinking Barrier-Free Designs For Living


Honorable Mention: Best Planning Project AND 
McGregor Home's People's Choice: The Link

Congratulations to the team of Dahlin Group Architecture and Planning in CA.

The jury felt the design was well researched and buildable. They appreciated the approach to creating an intergenerational community and that it got all of us thinking that one solution to accessibility might be changing the way we live.

The Link featured a selection of specially designed homes around a central shared space, with greenhouse and other features.

Each of the homes were designed to the different needs and lifestyles of a mixed community – from the single college student to the young family to the single retired senior.

Nearly 70 people from the preview exhibit at McGregor Home in August voted for this design as their favorite.







Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MY STORYTELLING HAS APPEARED IN PLANNING MAGAZINE, URBAN LAND, STRONG TOWNS, CEOS FOR CITIES AND THE NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

MY CLIENTS HAVE INCLUDED SOME OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL URBAN DESIGN, TOWN PLANNING, ARCHITECTURE MULTIMODAL MOBILITY, RESILIENCY AND UNIVERSAL DESIGN FIRMS IN THE UNITED STATES


I am used to working quickly and efficiently with clients to understand their goals, then tailor a marketing communications strategy unique to their needs.

Let’s chat about how I can boost your bottom line by vividly telling your story via:

  • Request for Proposals responses
  • Web content
  • Professional/trade journal articles
  • Award submissions
  •  Project reports
  •  Social media
  •  Case studies
  •  Newspaper op-ed pieces
  •  Story pitches to editors
  •  Brochures


Call me at 305 776-3231 or email stevewright64@yahoo.com

Monday, October 14, 2019

HOW YOUR BRAND AND PROFITS GROW WITH NARRATIVE STORYTELLING

PUT MY EXPERTISE TO WORK FOR YOU


Throughout my award-winning career, my talent can be summed up in one word: storyteller.

Storytelling has changed dramatically with social media, blogging, websites and other innovations. 

While the format changes, the need for good storytelling is as important as ever.

My clients are experts in their field. 

They often have a great story to tell, but they fail to reach their target audience when they fail to collaborate with a storyteller.

I take the core idea – of private and public sector as well as non-profit organizations – and turn it into clear, concise and compelling storytelling.

I have vast expertise in urban design, town planning, architecture, mobility, transportation engineering, land use and government.


Call me at 305 776-3231 or email stevewright64@yahoo.com

Sunday, October 13, 2019

PROUD THIS BLOG HAS MORE THAN 210,000 UNIQUE VISITORS


WE SHARE EXPERTISE ON URBAN DESIGN, UNIVERSAL DESIGN, TOWN PLANNING, INCLUSIVE MOBILITY, RESILIENCY, WORLD TRAVEL, SUSTAINABILITY AND MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS


NOW YOU CAN PUT MY VERBAL AND VISUAL
STORYTELLING TO WORK FOR YOU

Your portfolio is filled with winning projects that are innovative, durable, sustainable and most important of all – capable of winning you more market share.

But is your story being told in the words of a project manager that hates to write? Or in the hurried thoughts of a marketing manager perpetually swamped with dozens of deadlines?

You have expert sub consultants in dozens of fields. 

You should hire a sub, with more than three decades of communications expertise and awards, to tell your story.

I have been a Pulitzer-nominated journalist, urban policy advisory for a city commission chairman, marketing manager for a global architecture firm and communications leader grew an urban design firm’s public sector work by 10x in less than five years.

Call me at 305 776-3231 or email stevewright64@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 12, 2019

COCONUT GROVE MASTER IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

PROUD TO HAVE WRITTEN THE WINNING 
APA FLORIDA AWARD SUBMISSION

During less than five years of collaboration with PlusUrbia Design, I helped the Miami-based boutique studio win more than 10 major urban design and planning awards.

I also led the firm to getting two proclamations from local government honoring its award-winning work and commitment to corporate social responsibility.

The combined recognition exceeded that awarded to any firm of comparable size in North America during that time frame.

I can help your firm earn the recognition -- and market share -- that it deserves.
Call me at 305 776-3231 or email stevewright64@yahoo.com

Check out the winning project at:
https://plusurbia.com/project/coconut-grove-master-implementation-plan/

Friday, October 11, 2019

PROUD TO HAVE WRITTEN THE WINNING APA FLORIDA AWARD APPLICATION


FOR THE LITTLE HAVANA REVITALIZATION MASTER PLAN


During less than five years of collaboration with PlusUrbia Design, I helped the Miami-based boutique studio win more than 10 major urban design and planning awards.

This includes the National Award from the American Planning Association, the highest honor in the profession. 

I can help your firm earn the recognition -- and market share -- that it deserves.
Call me at 305 776-3231 or email stevewright64@yahoo.com


Check out the winning project at:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

MIAMI'S HISTORIC LITTLE HAVANA HAS LOST ANOTHER LANDMARK -- PART 3

DEMOLITION OF THE SHENANDOAH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH WAS WRONG 



In ancient Rome, a not so glamorous building -- repurposed with a B&B and monthly rental among old families that have been there for generations – lives into its 500th year.

In Miami, we declare landmarks obsolete before they turn 100 and pretend it is impossible to restore and re-purpose them with adaptive re-use.

I think good leadership could have easily found a way to retrofit an old church into something economically viable that does not conflict with the neighborhood next door.
We have no shortage of brilliant urban designers and architects in Miami as well as a wealth of creative developers.

There is no reason an historic church had to be razed for a likely cookie cutter replacement structure devoid of character.

I know we must look forward rather than point fingers, but I hope the Little Havana-Shenandoah community demands a "demolition autopsy."

Maybe such a report can outline what when wrong.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

MIAMI'S HISTORIC LITTLE HAVANA HAS LOST ANOTHER LANDMARK -- PART 2

DEMOLITION OF THE SHENANDOAH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH WAS WRONG 



I found out about the razing of Shenandoah Presbyterian Church while staying at a 17th century palazzo while working in Rome.

My tiny rental unit had all the modern conveniences and the building's group of tenants even sprung for a tiny, not so beautiful elevator retrofit to allow folks to age in place.

The building I lived in for half a month is NOT famous for belonging to some legendary family.

It's not appeared in a movie and it does not house tourism-worthy art.
But it lives on, through so many generations.

It has restaurants, shops and even an ancient machine shop (pretty heavy industrial use) on the ground floor.

It all adds so much character.


But Miami never seems to understand the intrinsic value in character, scale, history and authenticity.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

MIAMI'S HISTORIC LITTLE HAVANA HAS LOST ANOTHER LANDMARK -- PART 1

DEMOLITION OF THE SHENANDOAH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH WAS WRONG 

The City of Miami allowed the demolition of the historic Shenandoah Presbyterian Church at 2150 SW 8 Street. 

It is nothing short of a tragedy.

Maybe the old church, neglected by recent tenants, was a coffee table book cover-worthy building.

But it was a Calle Ocho landmark and a classic structure with tons of history inside its walls.


Monday, October 7, 2019

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS -- part 9

Tizi n'Tichka Pass, Central Morocco


Harsh weather can make Route Nationale 9 impassable down around the beautiful kasbahs (clay medieval fortress) to Ourzazate, the gateway to the valley of river Draa and Sahara Desert. 

The pass lies between the great Marrakech Plains and the gateway of the Sahara Desert.

At the summit there are shops selling minerals.

--DangerousRoads.org

Sunday, October 6, 2019

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS -- part 8

Tizi n'Tichka Pass, Central Morocco

The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. 

The most famous road through the High Atlas leads from the vast plains surrounding the royal city of Marrakech to the pass, which is quite often blocked by snow in the winter.

--DangerousRoads.org

Saturday, October 5, 2019

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS -- part 7

Tizi n'Tichka Pass, Central Morocco


Tichka means "it’s difficult" and so it means literally a difficult path, because it has so many switchbacks. 

The road has more than 100 turns.

Drive with your headlights on at all times as it is easier for oncoming vehicles to see you.  

On the climb, the road is quite good, and some parts have recently been upgraded.

Interestingly, the road is upgraded in chunks, so you may alternate between the old road and newly sealed road.

--DangerousRoads.org

Friday, October 4, 2019

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS -- part 6

Tizi n'Tichka Pass, Central Morocco
The experience of using this road is very impressive. 

The road to reach the pass, with 60 miles of very steep climbing, was built as a military highway in 1936 by the French. 

Today, Route Nationale 9 links the south-east of Marrakesh to the city of Ouarzazate.

--DangerousRoads.org

Thursday, October 3, 2019

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS -- part 5

Tizi n'Tichka Pass, Central Morocco
Near the pass is Kasbah Aït Benhaddou, probably the most celebrated, filmed and photographed kasbah in Morocco. 
Featured in numerous films (including Lawrence of ArabiaThe Sheltering Sky and Gladiator), it is the best-preserved kasbah in Morocco and has 10 families still inhabiting it
--DangerousRoads.org

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS -- part 4


Tizi n'Tichka Pass, Central Morocco


This road is usually open all year, but from November to March, snow can often fall on the pass, and can be closed when the access is not cleared of snow.

In winter, avalanches and heavy snowfalls can sometimes block some sections of the road and can be extremely dangerous in winter due to frequent patches of ice.

Conditions can change quickly and be harsh, particularly during winter.

From November to March, snow can often fall on the pass, but it can be warm all year round in the strong sun.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS -- part 3

Tizi n'Tichka Pass, Central Morocco


Travelers are encouraged to take this journey of history, wonder and natural amazement. The road is the only gateway to the South of Morocco and its desert, so it can get quite busy. 
If you are travelling south, it’s recommended to take this road in the morning to avoid any crowds. 
The thoroughfare is not just made of tourists, there are lots of trucks.
--DangerousRoads.org