Week of January 31st

What caught my attention the Week of January 31st?

A Shell First 

Shell opened its first all-electric fueling station in Hammersmith and Fulham, London. Not a gas or diesel pump in site. Ultra rapid chargers bring car battery capacity from 0% to 80% in less than ten minutes. 

Built of sustainable construction materials, the charging hub features solar panels to generate some of the required electricity.


The Terminator

Gerrymandering is an ugly political process designed to rig election results. Most democracies have eliminated the practice. However, in most US states, both political parties employ the process to rig the vote. Don’t understand how it works? The New York Times created an online game that helps.  Play and you will find that electoral map management can return a significant majority of candidates from one party even when the popular vote may be split 50/50.

Canada and its provinces  have independent electoral commissioners. Riding boundary changes are then subject to an all party agreement. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it his mission to “terminate” the gerrymandering process in the US. 

A Digital Decency Manifesto 

Look at this video on digital decency courtesy of Monocle Magazine. Also read my recent newsletter on the politicization of LinkedIn

Shop Well, Save the Environment

This dining room set from Norwegian furniture brand, Northern, will stand the test of time. Made from solid oak it comes in three sizes, one round and two rectangular. I don’t know if it will be available outside of the Scandinavian countries. Nonetheless, if you have read my earlier e-mails you will be familiar with my “consumer credo”. Buy the best you can afford, something that will stand the test of time. Stop throwing stuff away.

Designed to Last

The Case for Public Luxury

I live in a municipality stuck in an argument over the development of an area known as the Fairview Forest. In its place, the owner has planned a multi-use development next to the Fairview regional mall and a new mass transit hub. The citizenry want to keep the forest. So do I ! But I also see the need for developing areas around public transportation. 

A possible trade-off? The owner of the forest and the mall are one and the same. The mall parking and the transit line that runs along its southern border are ugly heat sinks. In exchange for development of the forest, a treed linear park along the transit line? Require more trees, greenery and amenities in the parking lot? Get some ideas from this article on public luxury for amenities. Don’t oppose  development for opposition sake! Work with developers and urban planners for win-win solutions. 

Lets celebrate: 

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 90%+ of truck drivers working this week, everyone being first class, Shell”s Hammersmith and Fulham charge station, great British television

Big raspberries to:

The less than 10% of truck drivers who will not be working, gerrymandering, protest without purpose, NIMBYism

Quote of the Week

The Channel 4 television series A Very British Coup from 1988 that features a scene with leftwing Labour leader, Harry Perkins. He is aboard a train from Sheffield to London. Fresh from electoral victory, a journalist asks Perkins if he wants to abolish first class travel. The response:

No, I’ll abolish second class: I think everyone’s first class, don’t you?

Fictional Labour leader and Prime Minister Elect Harry Perkins, A Very British Coup

And that’s a wrap for the Week of January 31st.

Cities are in Crisis

March 7, 2024

Anastasia Mourogova Millin, March 5, 2024 Earth’s urban population will grow by 2.5 billion people over the next 30 years. Over the same time period, urban land expansion put at risk the survival of 855 different species and will threaten the homes of over 30,000 animal and plant species. Add in the impact of climate […]

The Co-working Concept, Issue 80

January 22, 2024

Co-working space came to mean the notorious We Work model. When I had been asked to opine on co-working I tried to steer the conversation away from the Adam Neumann / Softbank  flimflam growth model. Instead, I suggested that property owners look at usage and users. While I doubted We Work’s ability to survive I […]

The Affordable Housing Conundrum

October 3, 2023

Before I fall completely into the trap of opposition politics, I have decided to take a break from never-ending criticism and to start suggesting solutions to the affordable housing conundrum. Do I have a plan? No, more a collection of ideas To start with, I think there are three key issues: Home ownership is not […]

We Should Know Better

August 26, 2023

I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age […]

Not in My Back Yard

August 4, 2023

Don’t build it! At least, Not In My Back Yard ! I acted as an advisor  in the sale of a beautifully natural, 14-acre urban waterfront estate. Existing zoning allowed for the development of 30 to 35 single-family homes, which after road dedication would leave very little green space. I did not think that was […]

Glasgow – That Dear Green Place

July 31, 2023

We were visiting Glasgow (literally that Dear Green Place in Gaelic) to see where my father was born, grew up, and went to University. Fortunately for me, my cousin John from Australia had just visited and had met with historians, Bruce Downie  and Norry Wilson.  So,  we too arranged to meet them in the Govanhill […]