Written by Guest Blogger Caroline Corriveau, 2014 Plan NH scholarship recipient and current intern with Warrenstreet Architects in Concord.
Plan NH awarded me a remarkable scholarship in 2014 that allowed me the opportunity to complete a Master of Architecture Degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. As I graduated with my third degree, I simultaneously finished a 2-year internship at Harriman Architects + Engineers and began a new job as an Intern Architect at Warrenstreet Architects in Concord, NH. I am currently studying for the Architect Registration Exams and have knocked quite a few of my required Architectural Experience Program hours off the list.
But something else has got me very excited this year! In February I purchased a tandem-axel, gooseneck trailer. In April, I began constructing a mobile, timber frame tiny house by my design. A dream of mine since 2007, I finally designated the time to build my dream house with help from my partner, family, and several friends. We anticipate putting the finishing interior touches on this winter with a move-in date of April 1, 2017.
Living simply is not for everyone, yet it is also not something everyone needs overlook. With a growing society that does not ever seem to slow down, it will be refreshing to live in a small space with minimal belongings that will allow us more time for what is important in this life: relationships and experiences. Acclimating ourselves to the tiny house lifestyle will be our first – challenging but thrilling – experience! I look forward to spending more time with Plan NH after the build is completed!
Thank you for sharing, Caroline! Are you a scholarship student? Share your story! [email protected]
There are many definitions of “volunteer.” Here are a few:
1: A person who does work without getting paid to do it (Meriam-Webster).
(Cambridge Dictionary)– A person who does something for other people or for an organization willingly.
And, from Wikipedia: Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity…intended to promote good or to improve human quality of life.
Volunteers bring life to Plan NH.
For 27 years Plan NH has been fostering excellence in planning, design & development of New Hampshire’s built environment. With this mission you imagine a large office, alive with heavy conversations about socioeconomic struggles in empty towns overwhelmed by sprawl. You see hazy brainstorming sessions exploding with conceptual maps of the “intersection” of environment, health and social well-being. Well, I hate to break it to you. This is simply not the case.
Instead, in the quiet Plan NH office, the tireless executive director solely coordinates meetings, studies pressing topics and makes connections with the incredible people & organizations who share Plan’s interests. An assistant helps manage odd tasks, but often works remotely.
How does an organization with a 1.25 person staff continue to operate? Two huge reasons: 1) Financial support from incredible Plan NH Members and Donors 2) Unprecedented dedication from Plan NH volunteers.
Who are Plan NH volunteers?
Directors on the working Board who orchestrate activities and programs behind-the-scenes to steer Plan’s mission (Eight Directors are on the Board).
Professionals -Architects, Landscape-Architects, Engineers, Planners, Historians and Others- who assist communities with design challenges in 2-day community workshops called Charrettes (Two decades, dozens of Professionals have volunteered).
Committee Members who select Merit Awards and Scholarship and Fellowship recipients and lead events, like the annual Golf Event.
They are Organizers who coordinate educational programs and member events. They are Creators, photographers, writers and artists who draw diagrams and draft text for handouts and flyers. And, they are Collaborators and Contributors who compile excel spreadsheets of program registrants, file paperwork and are willing to do anything to help with day-to-day tasks.
These volunteers are people, real people, who have full-time jobs, families and commitments.
Many of you who are reading this are Plan NH volunteers. You probably volunteer for more than one Plan NH activity. Thank you. Thank you for your leadership, dedication and positive attitude.
New Hampshire, like many states in the United States, is facing many design challenges: how can NH plan for an aging population? Or, how can NH recover from the industry days of old? You bring excellence to community planning, design and development by facing these challenges and by meeting the needs of New Hampshire’s people, history, culture and natural resources. You create vibrant villages in New Hampshire.
Just as dictionaries define the meaning of “volunteer,” volunteers define Plan NH.
Together, Plan NH Members, Donors, Volunteers and Staff, we make a difference to New Hampshire communities.
Would you like to be part of the Plan NH volunteer team? email Robin for more information: [email protected]
What is “Community” to Me? by Plan NH Member, Andrew Cushing
Growing up in Grafton, community looked like newspaper clippings of classmates in the post office lobby. It sounded like static from my father’s volunteer fire department radio at nighttime or the collective “oohs” and “awws” when fireworks exploded in the dark July sky. It smelled like brown sugar and musty curtains – a combination found only at ham and bean suppers in the town hall.
As a graduate student in Philadelphia, community is coming home for spring break to vote at town meeting, where my second grade teacher checks my “ID” and my bus driver’s sister hands me a ballot. It tastes like homemade coffee cake at the one room library and feels darn heavy when you deliver roadside tires to the dump.
Whatever community is, it compelled me to buy a fixer upper in my hometown so that in the coming years I can provide a longer answer.
-Andrew Cushing, Grafton
Plan NH Member Multi-Year Plan NH Scholarship Recipient
You follow the sidewalk. It ends. You want a coffee from the across the street. No crosswalk. Cars zip past. You scurry—phew, you made it! You grab a coffee and wait. Yay, space! You can dart again… hoping you don’t spill your coffee. We’ve all been there.
A walk is just a walk, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Your walk could be:
1. Useful 2. Safe 3. Comfortable 4. Interesting and place you and other people first.
In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, Jeff Speck explores walkability and why communities that appropriately use its principles have bustling cores. Spoiler alert: walkability doesn’t only work in large cities– any town center can benefit. Let’s break down items 1-4.
Useful| Sidewalks and crosswalks are useful and give pedestrians places to walk. However, if there isn’t a destination, people might not use them. A walk should mix uses with a balance of and between activities. Walking to greenspace, a coffee shop, the post office and restaurants in the same area provides excitement and economic value.
Increase utility of a walk, think creatively about parking. Parking can often make-or-break downtown visits. Too many spaces? Create a destination; energize a spot with an art display or temporary vendor. Too few spaces? Orient the parking to maximize space. Speck also notes the importance of collaboration between businesses who share parking areas or private lots. Free parking isn’t really free — someone somewhere pays. And, when spaces remain vacant in empty downtowns, someone still pays.
Marrying other transportation types to walking can also benefit a community. Buses, light rails, subways and bike lanes can help enhance walkability because they take individuals to destinations. As we like to say, they provide options for getting about. In any case, non-car transportation options must meet the needs of people and community before it can be truly helpful. Neighborhoods can be walkable without these options, but walkable cities depend on them.
Like Speck mentions throughout his book, cars are fine but put people first and cars in their place. By doing so, your community will be recharged and open to a new world of possibilities. Changes will take time, energy and money—but if this is your community’s shared vision, it will be worth it. Stay tuned…
Jeff Taylor was a smart and gifted guy who cared deeply about the Granite State and its communities and its people. Among his many accomplishments: he played an integral part in creating the foundation of Plan NH, and through the years contributed tremendously to the charrette program and other initiatives. Through his work, he raised awareness of and practiced values and strategies that create healthy and vibrant towns and neighborhoods.
We attended his funeral on April 12 in Hopkinton, an absolutely beautiful town that he had lived in for years as he raised his family and worked to make New Hampshire an even better place. As at most funerals, we each learned something new about Jeff. (Somehow we had missed, for example, that he played fiddle.) We loved the dad stories and the camp stories and the others in between. We wished we had known him better.
Since then, we have found ourselves thinking of Jeff a lot. The other day, we remembered being at a meeting in his office and he pulled out a map with circles and arrows and talked about the role of Concord and how much longer it was already taking to get to and from the Epsom traffic circle during peak commute times. We remembered running into him more than once on the street outside his office. We were there today and wondered how many other icons were at one time or another familiar faces on North Main Street. A lot, but each unique, as was Jeff.