Dieppe Air Conditioning

As I melted through Thursday’s 42°F/ 108°C heat with no air conditioning sight, all I could think of was the beach. And no- not the ones they make down on the Seine. I wanted water to the horizon and salt on my lips. Dieppe delivered, as soon as I got off the train and could smell the ocean air. I sat for most of the morning on the beach and soaked in the smells and seagulls and surf.

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The town is utterly charming. The memorials to the Dieppe Raid/ Operation Jubilee, utterly humbling. Not having air conditioning took its appropriate seat at the back of the table. Or even in another room, standing without much to lean on.

I realized it’s ok to just be hot. That maybe blasting icy cold air at every opportunity for our own comfort, at the cost of the environment, is the crazy thing. Get used to sweat rolling down the backs of your legs. Being generally sticky. Is it really that big of a sacrifice to make? I doubt the Canadian soldiers who washed up on this beach would think so.  #lestweforget

Good things.

I don’t remember how I stumbled on this- pretty sure I should have been sleeping… Glad to have found them though and hope to check them out in person in Salzburg this winter. It seems like such a good, do-able concept too, doesn’t it? I would love to go to a restaurant that hosted rotating refugee chefs showcasing their cuisine…


Montréal's "Ruelles Vertes" are pretty cool. And also pretty cool.

A Sustainable Design Internship led me to spend summer 2018 in Montréal. I’d lived there years ago, and still went often to visit friends, but spending a chunk of time living and working in the Mile End neighborhood was different. I was able to really appreciate the level of art and music and food and community. It just spills out of big open cafe windows, onto sidewalks from store doorways, and off of apartment terraces. Frequent streets closings ( I counted one 9 blocks long), to hold street fairs and festivals. Public sitting areas along sidewalks- hunks of street parking repurposed into little terraces with benches and nooks and plants and free wifi. Seeing all the ways the city lent community support and was working with the residents was pretty eye opening and lovely.

And then I started stumbling onto these back alleys- that weren’t really back alleys… One was so developed and park like I hesitated for a good while- looking back and forth and wondering if this was someone’s backyard or if I was allowed to walk through. Eventually I noticed the “Ruelles Vert” signs for these “green alley’s” and figured out what they’re all about. Why aren’t more cities doing this?!

“It is bringing nature into the city. It’s good for the soul,” *

“It is bringing nature into the city. It’s good for the soul,” *

The initiative has been growing over the years, and now includes 400+ alleys, over 40 miles, that weave through many neighborhoods in the city. The city works with the residents, granting permissions and sometimes financial resources. The neighbors work together to create and maintain the spaces- some are backyard gardens, some geared towards kids. It’s pretty simple and pretty brilliant.

  • reduce the urban heat island effect

  • enhance biodiversity/ increase wildlife and insects in the area

  • improve air quality

  • reduce stormwater runoff

  • provide a safer place for kids to play

  • create bonds between neighbors (or at least interaction and learning opportunities)

“… the alleyway has created a sense of community and, “by meeting all the neighbors, you feel much more secure together.”” *

(*Source/ article: globalnews.ca)