Voting is live on the Go2030 Town Hall site! Lend your support to the best ideas and help shape the future of Fargo!

Here are some of the top ideas so far:

1% for the Arts

For every new construction, 1% of the budget must be assigned for innovative design, the arts, green arts, environmental art— what type of art should be wide open. But the idea that art is a pride of the city, and is required for new construction is part of other cities- and could open up innovative opportunities to define and celebrate the arts.

 

Aesthetic Appeal

As our city grows, more consideration must be given to the sophistication of it’s appearance. In many conversations Fargo tends to think of itself as progressive, yet our visual appearance is certainly not. Due to the fact that we are not geographically blessed with beautiful landmarks, it is imperative that we create visual landmarks with which our city is connected and remembered. Good urban design must include public art considerations. Many cities are inseparable from their visual landmarks such as the St. Louis arch and the one-thousand murals in Philadelphia. Public art considerations improve tourism, economic development, attractiveness to new businesses and quality of life. In other cities, public art such as fountains, bridges, sculpture, unique architecture, seating, lighting etc… all lend to the aura and heartbeat of the city. We are ready!

 

Design Fargo to be a bicycle city

I would like to see a more aggressive approach to making Fargo a “bicycle-friendly” city. See the attached link to see how Washington, DC is now a top 10 bicycle-friendly city in less than 10 years. Let’s get people out of their cars (and off their couches) and on to their bicycles.

http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/dirt/25085/how-design-bicycle-city

 

Make us able to walk our errands instead of driving everywhere

My idea for healthy lifestyles is this…. time is short for everyone. You either have time to exercise or run errands, not usually both. Help us double up. Make Fargo into a walking and public transport friendly community so we can be healthy and do our errands at the same time we are exercising (walking) with our families or to and from work. Otherwise we drive ourselves crazy trying to drive around doing errands, activities, dinner and exercise into the hours of 5-8pm and exercise is usually what gets left behind. the key is to stop building out and start building up and/or closer together, make the public transport stops more frequent and cover more ground, and stop putting up huge parking lots everywhere. No one wants to walk their errands if they get to walk along a paved parking lot because that is boring and not pleasing and a waste of space. We would rather walk our errands in a visually pleasing “village” of stores or houses or through parks and plazas. Not to mention, having stores closer together makes it quicker to walk our errands whereas now, yes, you can get their by foot but it will take you forever to get there.

 

Walkable Neighborhoods

There is much well-deserved talk in recent years of the pressing importance of creating “Complete Streets” in communities. That is, streets designed not just for cars, but also for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, and the handicapped.

But if we were to select one form of travel to efficiently and effectively improve community quality of life, public health, civic pride, conviviality, happiness, safety and independence for seniors, young children and the handicapped, our local economy, as well as achieving a lower tax burden, that form of travel—that lynchpin—would be walking. Indeed, the pedestrian is the design imperative – particularly in town centers, but also in all other parts of a community…

 

Nature playgrounds at the schools

Nature teaches children how to learn. A California Department of Education study from 2005 showed that sixth-graders improved their science scores by 27 percent after taking week-long outdoor education classes. Similarly, studies from the University of Michigan have suggested that proximity to nature enhances people’s ability to concentrate.

Natural playgrounds (I refer to maintained habitats, not weed patches) can provide experiences for our students outside the classroom and foster their value for the natural world. If our school children, as part of their education become stewards of their nature playgrounds they will become stewards of our landscapes. Lets encourage our children to unplug from their Wii by turning some of our turfed school grounds into living laboratories for elementary education and exploration.

 

There are similar themes under other headings but it too belongs here. The trees that folks are asking for under “environment”, the walkability and connectivity that people are looking for under “neighborhoods” and “urban design” are more than window dressing. Beautiful and socially functional environments attract both investment and in migration of talent. If we want to attract both, we will need to beautfy our main corridors (Main, 13th, University, 12th Ave North, even 32nd Ave South) to begin, and connect them with the social life of our city. For the widest roads, this means “Reburbing” them to reduce the distance between buildings to human scale (http://www.re-burbia.com/2009/08/04/sprawl-building-types-repair-toolkit/) cut back on our parking requirements, lose the billboards and add trees, cafes, sidewalks that are separated from the street- by trees or other, awnings, flowers… all of it. In so doing, the least attractive parts of our city in which we try to spend the least time will become an integral part of our city’s social life, and by extension, places that we celebrate…

 

Simple Solution…

…quit building along the riverbed. Am I really the only person who has had this idea? I hope not.

 

Smart Grid

We should take steps to allow citizens to produce their own renewable energy (solar and wind) and hook it up to grid to sell to other customers. A smart grid would provide Fargoans with incentive to create local, clean, renewable power, and keep the money here. Microsoft has already piloted the program, but all we need is the city to step it up. Win-win-win.