What’s Wrong With the Paint Can?
Last night marked the second monthly Meeting of the Minds happy hour meet up in San Francisco. Over fifty great minds showed up to network, have a drink, and meet other leaders working in urban sustainability, planning and innovation. Here are a few of the great Minds that I was able to speak with:
Peter Liu, Founder of New Resource Bank
New Resource Bank is a green bank that loans to clean energy projects, organic farmers, and other socially and environmentally responsible companies and businesses.
The Bank operates like any other bank. Customers can open accounts online, which lowers the bank’s operating costs and enables them to loan to businesses that they believe in. Their mission is “to advance sustainability with everything we do—the loans we make, the way we operate and our commitment to putting deposits to work for good.”
For more information on New Resource Bank, visit NewResourceBank.com.
Brian Stokle, urban planner and cartographer
Brian works as a consultant for various clients including the San Francisco Department of Environment. His latest project, commissioned by SPUR, is a Bay Area Transit Mobility Map which, as far as I know, is the first of its kind to include all Bay Area rail options in one map. The map includes metro, light rail, streetcar, regional rail, and a selection of express buses. The Bay Area transit system is run by multiple agencies – each with their own map – and can be notoriously difficult for tourists (and sometimes even residents) to efficiently navigate.
Brian also created a topographic map showing what would happen in San Francisco in the event of a 25-foot sea level rise. A striking image for anyone living in the city. His maps are available on his blog. I highly suggest you take a peek.
Charles Rashall, President & Founder of brandadvisors
brandadvisors a strategy, innovation and design firm. Last night Charles asked a group of us a seemingly simple question, “what is wrong with the paint can?” The group responded with a few answers:
- It’s impossible to open and close
- You can’t see through the can to see the paint color
- The handle is too thin to carry such a heavy can
- It’s impossible to dispose of
- No one knows how to recycle it
- It’s impossible to pour.
Charles responded, “Yes, the paint can is utterly stupid.”
He told the story of one particular paint company that has completely re-imagined the paint can. Rather than a tin can, he worked with them to develop a plastic, recyclable container that has a handle, a spout for pouring and solves the various problems associated with the historic paint can.
“Why did it take so long to change the paint can?” Charles went on to say, “Things don’t change because they’ve been done the same way for decades, but that’s no excuse not to re-think the way we do things.” Certainly there’s a way to apply this to cities, the environment, transit, etc., don’t you think?
For more information on Charles and his company, visit: brandadvisors.com
Who did you meet?
Who did you meet at our monthly happy hour last night? Give a description in the comments below.
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.
Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Advanced Urban Visioning offers a powerful tool for regions that are serious about achieving a major transformation in their sustainability and resilience. By clarifying what optimal transportation networks look like for a region, it can give planners and the public a better idea of what is possible. It inverts the traditional order of planning, ensuring that each mode can make the greatest possible contribution toward achieving future goals.
Advanced Urban Visioning doesn’t conflict with government-required planning processes; it precedes them. For example, the AUV process may identify the need for specialized infrastructure in a corridor, while the Alternatives Analysis process can now be used to determine the time-frame where such infrastructure becomes necessary given its role in a network.
The introduction of intelligent transportation systems, which includes a broad network of smart roads, smart cars, smart streetlights and electrification are pushing roadways to new heights. Roadways are no longer simply considered stretches of pavement; they’ve become platforms for innovation. The ability to empower roadways with intelligence and sensing capabilities will unlock extraordinary levels of safety and mobility by enabling smarter, more connected transportation systems that benefit the public and the environment.
I spoke last week with Njogu Morgan, a post-doctoral researcher specializing in transportation equity in Africa, specifically South Africa, where he is based. As a historian, his research centers around how we can use historical context to better understand current transportation system inequities and access. He’s starting a new research network of emerging and developing scholars who are interested in mobility issues from a historical perspective.