NIKE Triathletes + Amish Buggies (Sustainability Summit Ohio 2011)

Summit on Sustainability and the Environment
Active Transportation: What is it and Why is it Critical to Long-Term Sustainability,

After listening to activists for better communities in rural areas of Columbus, Ohio, a seminar I attended had inspired me to applaud for sustainability. Five planners presented slides on how abandoned vertical paths can be challenged and succeed as a mixed-use transportation infrastructure.

The county representatives displayed plans for the first multi-functional trail in the nation incorporating all different cultures and lifestyles.

While growing up in a dense influx of “suburbanism” in northeast Cleveland, Ohio, it is very common to realize that the state of Ohio is dominated by rural counties. A few major cities are geographically placed and bordered by a world of suburbs sprawled out at different angles. Ohio is well known for beautiful, historical place-making of “ruralism” where railroads were once built and where Amish buggies and horses once treaded alongside, and are currently still existing.

As a visionary designer with an eye for sustainability, it is very exciting to hear community activists and city planners still support our beautiful heritage.

Incorporating uses for cyclists, roller-bladers, handicapped racers and a path for Amish activity is amazing. Leveraging all these mixtures will lead towards long-term sustainability. Also, this preservation plan will re-activate the depletion of linear “corridors” having no active force.

According to the seminar, plans were submitted for selected rural counties to develop a bike path paved with asphalt adjoining an equestrian path covered in “chip and seal”, a lighter material for lower traffic.

After attending this seminar, it is apparent that open spaces in rural, suburban and urban areas can have so many timelines in so many parallel and perpendicular ways. Depending on geography and demographics, these spaces are always our natural resources, whether in good or bad condition.

The future of where our landmarks are is crucial to where they began.

Kudos to the success and time invested in preserving our heritage of “what was here first”.

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