Things Are Good: Making the Most of Urban Laneways

Many western cities have laneways that originally were used for deliveries via horses and cart; today those laneways are under utilized. These laneways cannot always be used for housing or other normal city needs due to their limited size. They can, however, be converted to enjoyable public space. Today there’s a trend amongst some cities ...

PostArctica: NDG Gothic

Trying some new ideas, let me know what you think. NDG is a neighborhood in Montreal.

Things Are Good: Use Happiness Research to Maximize Vacations

Regular readers already know that going on vacation is good for one’s happiness and there are ways to travel while keeping a small carbon footprint. It can be hard to find time to travel and expensive too, so how should one go about thinking about vacations? Vacations aren’t things that should be “efficient” or viewed ...

Things Are Good: Coal Museum Powered by Solar Panels

If the end of coal wasn’t obviously upon us, it is now. The Kentucky Coal Museum has switched to solar power for energy and cost savings. Yes, in what might be a wonderful display of irony, the museum centred on celebrating the region’s coal culture has switched to a green energy source. “It’s a little ...

Things Are Good: Covert Strategies for Supporting Urbanism

One of the biggest challenges facing cities in the 21st century is how to make them more people friendly. Parts of many cities have been left to rot, or have been neglected, thanks to decades of car-dominated thinking. This car-focussed, and individualistic, urban design has made discourse around making cities people friendly hard; it’s time ...

Things Are Good: Your Next Job Should be Fun

As humans we tend to prefer short term rewards over long term gains and this is true even in a job search. We don’t think about the day to day of life when we think about the dream job – or just the next job. When you are looking for a new job think about ...

Things Are Good: Montreal’s Streets Continue to be Focused on People

Walking the streets of Montreal already provides a pleasant experience – and it’s about to get better. The city has dedicated an additional $1.7 million to what it already spends on making selected streets car free. The pedestrian areas promote local artists and encourage people to visit neighbourhoods throughout the municipality. People love the initiative ...

Things Are Good: How Early Video Games Expressed Environmentalism

It can be fun to tune out and just play some games, and that’s a good thing. There are games that are obviously educational like Math Blaster and there are games like Carmen Sandiego that celebrate fun over learning while still teaching. Indeed, there are many games being played that entertain and educate at the ...

Things Are Good: Reusing Renewable Power Pieces

Despite being more efficient and better than other forms of generating electricity renewable power generation does cause waste. The waste isn’t in the form of smog or tailing ponds or even radioactive barrels. When it comes to wind power the waste generated is broken blades, and there are a lot of them! Rotterdam has taken ...

Things Are Good: Spent Grains From Beer Used to Grow Mushrooms

An enterprising student went on a brewery tour and discovered a lot of food waste. Grain is used when making beer in a similar way that tea is steeped, after the grain has been soaking in the water it is discarded. In some areas that grain gets turned into compost, other areas the grain can ...

Things Are Good: Why North American Cities are Different Than European

We often look at urban design on Things Are Good so it’s worth thinking about how we got here. The decisions made centuries ago impact how our cities operate and how we as people integrate ourselves into the built environment. This video explores how and why cities in Europe look different than North American cities, ...

Things Are Good: You Can Now Eat Climate Data

Ice cream is delicious and now you can eat a brand new flavour of it made of climate data. Well, it’s more like existing flavours put together to symbolize data about our climate and how it’s changing. Jonathon Keats is the brain behind the project and he’s mixing the ice cream together to raise awareness ...

Things Are Good: Don’t be Trendy, Buy Clothes for Time and Style

Fast fashion has grown in popularity this century thanks to fast computer aided design and a global trade system that favours sweatshops over adequately paid labour. This consumer driven world of fashion is really bad for workers and bad for the environment as it consumes more resources than clothes built to last. When it comes ...

Things Are Good: Good Storytellers Tend to be Happier

Everybody likes a good story, but not everybody can tell a story well. If you are one of those people who are a good storyteller you might just be happier than other people. It turns out that good storytellers are happier and that male storytellers who can spin a good yarn are more attractive to ...

Things Are Good: Craft Beer is Advancing Science

We all know that craft beers are delicious thanks to all their fun flavours and now we also know that by drinking craft beer we are helping the world of science. The search for hop plants, which are integral to craft beer, has pushed science to go further into examining the plant and it’s neighbours ...

Things Are Good: Kids Should Have a Summer of Boredom

There’s pressure put on parents to ensure that their children are constantly entertained and never “suffer” from boredom. Don’t worry parents! There’s no need to constantly entertain your offspring. Let them be bored! Being bored as a kid helps build their resiliency and lets the kids find what interests them on their own. In essence ...

Things Are Good: Parks Make Kids Smarter and Reduce Health Inequality

Urban parks can greatly improve the quality of a neighbourhood and it can improve the wellbeing of all people in the area. Of all the users of a park kids may benefit the most. A park in a city gives kids a place to play and it helps them mentally too. The study authors suggest ...

Things Are Good: Rain Gardens to Feature in Canada Blooms Competition

Canada Blooms is a competition to demonstrate one’s ability to display flowers. In the past it was based on the look of the arrangement done in a garden, now they are expanding how they think about flowers. This year they want people to submit rain gardens to the competition. Rain gardens are preferred because they ...

Things Are Good: Pets Can Improve Patient Care

Having pets around is already a pretty fun idea, and now it can also be healthy idea! It’s known that pets can help kids by lowering the chances of them developing allergies, particularly if the pets are allowed outdoors (be careful with letting cats outside though since they kill millions of birds needlessly). Now research ...

Things Are Good: Environmentally Friendly Condoms

Condoms are great for your health but unfortunately aren’t so great for the environment. Condoms are made out of rubber which can be sourced from sketchy places, and now a company wants us to change where we get our rubber from for condoms. It is good to see a company push for eco-friendly sex products. ...

Things Are Good: Get Drunk While Wasting Nothing

Alcohol production is very energy intensive due to the temperature changes and sheer number of plant resources that go into it. Alcohol production is therefore quite wasteful. However, on the consumption side of alcohol the waste can be dramatically reduced. You may have seen bartenders squeezing a lime then discarding it or similar practices. Soon ...

A Writer's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: What Else Can You Wish For?

It’s my birthday. I invited all my friends, but nobody came. I don’t mind. I am still having the party. A decorator came and decorated my penthouse apartment. I wish my friends had come. They would see how pretty it is. They’ve never come to see my apartment. My lawyer warned me that lots of ...

A Writer's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: The Missing Eyephone

“The victim tried to write something as he was dying,” she said. “And how do you figure that?” I asked. “The scratch marks. I see an “A” and a “B”. He must have realized there was blood under his nails.” “So you think that he was writing the alphabet?” The victim was a teacher. It ...

A Writer's Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: The Missing Eyephone

“The victim tried to write something as he was dying,” she said. “And how do you figure that?” I asked. “The scratch marks. I see an “A” and a “B”. He must have realized there was blood under his nails.” “So you think that he was writing the alphabet?” The victim was a teacher. It ...

Things Are Good: Groovy Bike Helmet Lights Up

The Lumos helmet is designed to make riding a bicycle even safer. In the majority of collisions between automobile drivers and cyclists the car driver is at fault, so to make riding safer the helmet projects bright lights. This means that people who aren’t paying attention to the road as they drive will be forces ...