Franke James’ Footprint Saves City Money

AUGUST 7, 2008
reduced image scan of National Post article by Vanessa FarquharsonFranke James left her green footprint in The National Post today.

Vanessa Farquharson, the Post’s Sense & Sustainability columnist wrote about Franke’s real life story of ripping up her interlocking driveway, battling City Hall, and winning the right to be the first pilot project for a green driveway in North York (as told in Franke’s visual essay, Paradise Unpaved).

“Franke James likes doing the hard things first, which is why, when it came to reducing her carbon footprint, she skipped right past the programmable thermostat and coffee thermos business and headed straight for the real green challenge — selling her SUV and replacing the driveway with a garden.

Well, technically speaking, the driveway still exists. But it’s been completely covered in grass and surrounded with trees, bushes and other lush foliage…” from Kicking a keen sense of green to the curb Aug.7/08, The National Post, Page AL12

Permeable Driveways Save the City Money

Farquharson quotes Franke in her article, “If more people did this, it would save the city money… When you look 25 years down the road at how many people will be living here, how many more hard surfaces will be built — there’ll be a lot more stormwater runoff and we’ll have to build more water filtration plants. But if we start using permeable materials for our driveways, that’ll at least be a start.”

In Paradise Unpaved, Franke compared the stormwater runoff from her former interlock driveway versus her new green driveway and garden. She found that about 75% of the total annual runoff was diverted from the sewers and now recharges the groundwater and nourishes plants and trees. But she is just one homeowner. Would more permeable surfaces save the city significant money?

Chicago’s Green Alleys Project

Chicago thinks so. Their Green Alleys project aims to replace 1,900 miles of alleyways (more than any other city in the world), with permeable alleys. The program is designed to help manage stormwater, reduce the urban heat island effect and incorporate recycled materials (such as tires) into the permeable pavers. It’s an urgent initiative for the city. Their alleys are lacking proper sewer connections which cause serious flooding issues for homes nearby. The city realized that permeable alleyways would be a more cost-effective solution than expensive sewer hookups. Read more about Chicago’s Green Alleys.

Ontario’s costs forecast at $400 to $500 million

A recent article Lake cleanup viable if city handles runoff highlights the importance of Toronto finding a solution to polluted stormwater runoff.

“The Don and Inner Harbour have some 50 points where combined storm water and sanitary sewers can overflow during heavy rains, discharging polluted runoff directly into the waterway. Underground storage tanks would catch runoff and later send it to upgraded sewage treatment plants — a project that carries a price tag of roughly $400 million to $500 million.”

It makes you wonder how much lower the price tag (and cleaner the lakes) would be if more driveways, alleys, sidewalks and eventually even roads, were converted to permeable materials.

But putting aside number-crunching and environmental benefits, some people just want to unpave their Paradise because it’s beautiful!

“[Franke’s] story made me want to buy a house just to turn the driveway into a garden.” Connor McCall


See the newspaper in pdf.

Featured illustrations and photograph from Franke’s visual essay, Paradise Unpaved.

Johnny Bunko plays Verbotomy with Dan Pink

News on The James Gang’s create-a-word game Verbotomy.com

We spent a week at Verbotomy playing with Dan Pink’s Johnny Bunko and the Six Career Secrets that no one ever told you. It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot! Like the fact that there is no plan! And that in the long run, persistence trumps talent…

And naturally we created a gaggle of funny words to describe the things we should, and the things we shouldn’t do, acccording to the Johnny Bunko Lessons. At the end of the week Petaj and Arrrteest snagged the top spots and each of them won an autographed copy of Dan’s book.

You can check all the words we created by clicking on the links and definitions below. And if you want, you can still play with Johnny. You can create a word and vote for your favorites. So give it a try! Maybe you’ll invent a word to describe your next big career move!

Thanks again to Dan Pink.

Be creative,

James

Lesson #1: There is no plan.

See: Do you think I should stick to the plan?

Do you think I should stick to the plan?

DEFINITION: v. To stick to your plan even though you’ve realized it’s dumb n. A stupid plan, especially if it’s a career plan suggested by parents, teachers or guidance counselors who want you to be something that you’re not.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #2: Think strengths, not weaknesses.

See: The boss says I’m fast-tracking…

The boss says I'm fast-tracking...

DEFINITION: v. To focus on your weaknesses, rather than your strengths. n. A person who is obsessed with their perceived deficiencies, and works hard to ensure that everyone else understands and appreciates their failings.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #3: It’s not about you.

See: There is no “U” in “Team”

There's no

DEFINITION: v. To temporarily suppress your own need for self-aggrandizement. n. A team member who works very hard to share their responsibilities and workload, but in the end always tries to claim exclusive credit for any work done.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #4: Persistence trumps talent.

See: Find your inner cockroach

It's time to find your inner cockroach

DEFINITION: n. A person who succeeds not because of their talents, but because they just won’t quit. v. To firmly believe in your talents and never give up on your goals, despite the huge obstacles, snide comments, and repeated setbacks.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #5: Make excellent mistakes.

See: I just asked the boss to date me

I just asked the boss if she'd date me...

DEFINITION: v. To make a mistake from which the benefits of what you learned exceed the costs of the screw-up. n. An excellent mistake.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #6: Leave an imprint.

See: What are you doing to the cubicles?

What are doing to the cubicles!?

DEFINITION: v. To create an impression that you have made a positive contribution, especially when related to career activities. n. A personal mark or imprint which proves that you have done something that matters.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

More from Dan Pink…

Johnny Bunko

For more career tips and the latest from Dan Pink, see:
“The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” by Dan Pink.