Tag Archives: Paul Steven Stone

Paul Steven Stone’s Greatest Hits, #5 in a series

“That’s a lovely light,” Timothy Leary said, smiling.

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Fifth amongst my greatest hits, the Wolfers Lighting “Surreal Context” campaign. A series of ads celebrating the lost years of the sixties, with all its surreal imaging, M.C. Escher perspectives and Kafkaesque mind twists. Offering the elegant thought, “Anything goes when it comes to creating lighting environments.”

The above ad was the vanguard of the campaign, its graffiti backdrop serving as the ideal springboard for both the ad and the campaign that followed. Debra Elliott, the campaign’s art director, created the image of the lamplit graffiti wall and, almost immediately, we were off and running. Deb and I collaborated on all ads in the series.

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It’s important to note all the heavy lifting is done by the visuals in each ad. Our headline had to be simple and dry, serving as contrast to the wild whimsy of the visuals. Once you see how the series unfolded you can easily begin imagining any number of illogical environments that could be enlivened by beautiful lighting. Purchased of course at the magical epicenter of all this fabulous advertising whimsy, Wolfers Lighting.

WolfersAD_Sandcastle copy

Now, of course, it was time to talk about surreal lighting applications.

WolfersAd_Gymnist

To view my #1 Greatest Hits advertisement, click here. To view my #2 Greatest Hits advertisement, click here. To view my #3 Greatest Hits advertisement, click here. To view my #4 Greatest Hits advertisement click here. To read my story about creating “Who But W.B. Mason!,” click here.  Or, if you’re interested in seeing other examples of my mind at work, visit my web site.. To speak with me about building or creating your company’s brand, contact me at 857-389-2158 or at PaulStevenStone@gmail.com.

Tales From An Overheated Planet (a poster series)

aTornado_SFTW(See below for more posters)

The posters on this page were created by Paul Steven Stone and Bill Dahlgren to help sound the alarm about global warming in a way that would both engage the reader and make the issue indelible. Keep in mind, with a little more work and expense, these could be billboards or subway posters. As they are, they could be immediately used as digital advertisements or email campaigns or—and something especially powerful to consider—as baseball-type collectors cards for kids. We’ve created thirty posters in all, some of which relate to future realities, others to what is happening today. All of them use humor or irony to engage and hold the attention.

It’s almost indecent that we’ve been as complacent as we have about Global Warming. This is our children’s future at stake. It’s also the greatest planetary challenge the human race has faced in our lifetime.  There is no more room at the conference table for Global Warming deniers; no more time left on the game clock for their obstructionism or their resistance to making the hard decisions. It’s time we blew the whistle and threw them out of the game.

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Forgive me for being immodest, but the posters on this page represent the beginnings of a Global Warming Awareness Campaign worthy of the size and scope of the colossal disaster we’re facing. It is a campaign that uses shock, humor and a hard look at the future to shake the viewer out of his or her complacency. It is a campaign that reminds us we’re all in this together, whether we’re swimming in the streets of our hometowns, watching our crops wither to dust in a drought, fighting wildfires, or dodging twisters in our once tornado-free cities and towns. The campaign’s message is solemn and its clear: nobody escapes the wrath and destruction of Global Warming.

If your group or organization would be interested in using/sponsoring these posters, or dovetailing them into your own campaign, please let me know. I can be reached at PaulStevenStone@gmail.com.

Do yourself a favor and review each poster BY ITSELF. Stop and absorb the entirety of one concept before you move onto the next. Do not quickly scroll through them. Most likely the posters will be viewed one at a time when they’re out in the world, and should be seen that way here for their full effect.

aWave_SFTWBear_SFTWaBostonMarathon_SFTWaLiberty_SFTWaGreatLakes_SFTWaPontoons_SFTWaWreckage_SFTWaForestFire_SFTWaSpoiler_SFTWaLettuce_SFTWaSharks_SFTWaPennies_SFTWaPanda_SFTWaDetroit_SFTWaSubway_SFTWaBeetles_SFTWaSkul_SFTWlaUN_Report_SFTWaCarton_SFTWaWeapons_SFTWaTime_Lapse_SFTWaFence_SFTWaStacks_SFTWaLifeguards_SFTWaEyeChart_SFTWaEarth_SFTWaSkier_SFTWaMailbox_SFTW

Why The Cambridge Residents Alliance STILL Matters

Almost a year has passed since my essay, “Why The Cambridge Residents Alliance Matters,”  appeared on these pages, and though much has changed in that time, much has also remained the same.

NOBODY GOES ANYWHERE!

NOBODY GOES ANYWHERE!

At the time of my original article it appeared as though the powers that be—our city council, our planning board and our Community Development Department—were rushing feverishly towards recommendations and decisions that would further gentrify Cambridge and, by spiking the already unaffordable cost of housing in our city, force out additional families and dismantle our precious but fragile diversity. Decisions that would forever change the face, the personality and character of Central Square and its adjoining neighborhoods. Decisions that would have served a gilded circle of developers, business interests and affluent renters at the expense of the city’s current residents.

Fortunately, there is a new awareness throughout our city that we have been navigating dangerous waters, that we have been traveling much too close to the perilous rocks of gentrification and ill-considered over-development. That rising awareness can be seen in the growing numbers of Cambridge residents who have tuned into city politics, either by joining our organization or by expressing their views and concerns through their votes. And consequently the makeup of this year’s city council has changed in a precedent-setting election that saw incumbents challenged as they never had been before, and new voices of reason brought on; voices that are questioning the council’s automatic green-lighting of almost every up-zoning request; voices that are calling for realistic traffic studies and the development of an honest citywide master plan.

But, as I said before, much has changed and much has remained the same. The same people who bobble-headed “Yes!” to almost every development proposal that came before the Ordnance Committee still make up a majority on the city council. The same Community Development Department whose biased and pre-determined pursuit of apartment towers for Central Square are still advocating for their C2 Advisory Committee recommendations as if those zoning changes represent the will of the people. The same rubber-stamping Zoning Board members who seemingly spend little time questioning the impact of their approvals—Alewife’s almost-terminal traffic congestion being a prime example—are still sitting at their table waiting to approve whatever the CDD puts before them.

Which is why we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. And why it’s increasingly important that neighborhood groups and concerned citizens stay involved. Make no mistake, the folks who put themselves on the line to support the massive rezoning of Central Square are not going to step aside willingly. There’s far too much at stake. From all I’ve been able to see, the C2 advisory process was set up to provide cover to a massive up-zoning of Central Square that will benefit MIT most directly, and a whole host of varied business interests. A lot of money is at stake. Money that will go into developers’ pockets, money that will lubricate the wheels and avarice of business interests and, yes, money that will also go into the city’s coffers and prove what great managers we have running our city.

As we state on our CambridgeResidentsAlliance.org web site…”The Cambridge Residents Alliance represents individuals and neighborhood organizations committed to preserving and promoting a livable, affordable and diverse Cambridge community.” We owe no allegiance to future populations whose interests must be served at the expense of our current families and economically disadvantaged residents.

We are also concerned about the choking of travel on our streets, buses and trains through over-development that is erroneously termed “Smart Development” because it happens to take place near a transit line that is maxed out and gasping for relief.

We also believe you can’t place a value on sunlight, sky views, shadow-free streets or open spaces. But we also know the price we’re being asked to pay when those intangible treasures are whittled away by policies and recommendations wholly unsuited to a city already choking on its density.

And lastly, like those activists who stopped the Inner Belt highway in its tracks all those years ago, we will not be silenced by those who propose development at all costs, who will not learn from the lessons of the past, and who refuse to honestly study the impacts of their proposals. Cambridge is a city of people from diverse backgrounds, economic levels, ethnicities and visions. Rather than put any of those parties at risk by serving the vision of taxes-hungry city managers or profit-hungry developers we’re calling for an unbiased citywide study of development and growth issues from which we can fashion a sensible approach to creating a future we all can share.

For all these reason, and more—much more!—the Cambridge Residents Alliance is STILL of critical importance to the future of our city.

Now more than ever!

 

Paul Steven Stone is a member of The Cambridge Residents Alliance, but is solely expressing personal opinions in the above essay, and not the official views of the Cambridge Residents Alliance.

Cambridge Residents Alliance Endorses Dennis Carlone for Cambridge City Council

The following notice was sent out by the Cambridge Residents Alliance:
DENNIS CARLONE FOR CITY COUNCIL!

Dear Friends,

The Cambridge Residents Alliance has endorsed Dennis Carlone for City Council and we are writing to ask that you give him your #1 vote on Tuesday Nov. 5. Among a crowded field that includes other worthy candidates, we believe that Dennis stands out as the truly exceptional choice. His presence in this race comes at a crucial time for our city.Dennis

Cambridge is at a tipping point. The city faces more than 18 million square feet of recent and possible new development. More development has been approved in the past two years than was built in the previous twenty. If all plans come to pass, they will bring tens of thousands of additional car trips per day and transit trips per day into our city—with no significant improvements on the horizon for our already congested streets, intersections, subway cars and buses.

Dennis is an urban planner and architect who has worked with the city for more than 30 years. He was responsible for the East Cambridge Waterfront / Lechmere Canal redevelopment, a billion-dollar project that reclaimed 40 acres of polluted, formerly industrial land. In that project as in all others, he worked closely with the neighborhood, incorporating its needs and goals into the plans.

In fact, listening to and respecting the neighborhoods is at the very heart of Dennis’s approach to city planning. He believes current development in Cambridge is unbalanced, with too much emphasis on commercial building and not enough on residential. He is concerned about noise and light pollution, about proposals for huge glass towers that would be environmentally unsound and inappropriately placed in lower-lying residential neighborhoods. He is disturbed that people with less means are being pushed out of our neighborhoods by rapidly rising rents. He believes MIT should house its graduate students and post-docs. Dennis has declined to accept contributions from real estate interests.

While there are other able candidates running for City Council, we feel that it is essential to have Dennis’s expertise on the Council. Decisions made in the next few years will determine whether we retain the kind of economic and racial and age diversity that made Cambridge the city we love, or whether it becomes solely a high-tech, wealthy mecca. Dennis Carlone will help us chart a course that’s true to our values.

Please forward this message to family and friends, with your own personal note. And if you can, volunteer for the Carlone campaign! See contact information below. Dennis is not as well known as some of the incumbents. Every volunteer in these last few days can make a difference! Thank you!

—The Cambridge Residents Alliance

To contact the Dennis Carlone Campaign, call 617-682-0657 or email: DennisCarloneforCityCouncil@gmail.com. Be sure to leave all your contact information and the volunteer coordinator, Sue Kennedy, will get back to you. Or visit campaign headquarters at 426 Broadway across from the Cambridge Public Library.

Cambridge Residents Alliance
http://www.cambridgeresidentsalliance.org/

Cambridge Residents Alliance Releases Its Platform For a Livable, Affordable and Diverse Cambridge

As a member of the Cambridge Residents Alliance, I’m proud to present our platform for a livable, affordable and diverse Cambridge. Developed over the course of many months, these common sense guidelines and suggestions can help you—and your neighbors—crystallize your thinking about how to plan for development that preserves the character, charm and community of our beloved city. UnknownAt the same time, these guidelines present a positive vision for how to grow Cambridge in ways that inflict minimal damage to its diverse makeup and livability. As for affordability, we believe there are ways to grow our city and increase its density without adding fuel to the fires of gentrification and rising rents. We respectfully offer this resident-centric and neighborhood-centric blueprint to help guide all of us as we debate the future of both Central Square and the City of Cambridge itself.

Cambridge is at a tipping point. The city is facing more than 18 million square feet of recent and possible new development. We can make choices that support a well-planned, healthy city for present and future residents or we can rush headlong into commercially driven over-development. The city is experiencing the rapid growth of high-tech and bio-tech companies and the construction of huge market-rate and luxury housing complexes. If development continues at this pace and scale, it will continue to drive housing prices up, increase traffic congestion, burden our infrastructure, threaten our environment, and push long-time families out of the city. The hope that our children will be able to buy or rent a home here will disappear.

We are calling on city agencies and elected officials to slow down the process, carefully study the citywide and cumulative impact of all new zoning proposals, and work with neighborhood organizations to make wise decisions about our future. Regarding Central Square, the next major target of developers, we ask that city officials respect the historic blue-collar and mixed-income character of the surrounding neighborhoods and the strong sense of community developed over many decades. New development should be on a human scale and designed to protect and reinvigorate the economic diversity that made Central Square what it is today.

The Cambridge Residents Alliance is a network of individuals and households dedicated to preserving and improving the quality of life of all Cambridge residents by ensuring that development in our city enhances the livability, affordability and diversity of our neighborhoods. We submit the following proposals to the public and city officials as the basis for a citywide discussion of the future of our city:

Housing

The need for additional affordable housing* (see definitions we’re using at the end) is of primary importance, especially because so many low- and middle-income people are being forced out of Cambridge by rapidly rising rents and housing prices in recent years, due in part to MIT and commercial expansion. The primary function of Central Square should not be that of a “bedroom community” for  high-tech Kendall Square workers, if building expensive new units for those workers continues the trend of replacing one population with another. The economic and ethnic diversity of our community has already been eroded by market forces and faces even greater challenges in the coming years.

Preserving existing affordable housing is just as important as creating new affordable housing. We call on city officials to:

•     Protect public housing in the city, especially Newtowne Court and Washington Elms, as massive Kendall Square development looms around them.

•     Each year, seek all possible means to extend the affordability of those housing units throughout the city that carry affordability requirements which are about to expire. Affordability should be extended “in perpetuity.”

We reject inclusionary zoning as the primary way to develop affordable housing by including a small percentage of affordable units in large towers of market-rate housing. In fact, those developments have a ripple effect on surrounding neighborhoods, driving rental prices up and leading to a net loss from the city of residents who need affordable units.

We support construction of new affordable housing, even when that means some increased density, with its pressures on traffic, transit, and infrastructure. We want more focus on affordable housing as the primary goal of certain developments. For example:

City-owned parking lots along Bishop Allen Drive and in Cambridgeport are important to the future of Central Square. We propose that they be used solely for affordable housing and open space. The city should:

•     maintain ownership of the lots, rather than selling them to private developers;

•     work with non-profits to develop 100% low-, moderate-, and middle-income housing on some parking lots;

•     require that the height of new construction be low- to mid-rise, in keeping with the neighborhood;

•     retain at least one quarter of the total Central Square parking lot square footage as attractive open space;

•     replace any removed public parking with equivalent public parking that is affordable to low- and moderate-income residents within the Central Square overlay district.

A significant increase in density and height can be brought about in Central Square by development on a human scale that stays within the limits of the current zoning law. Current zoning allows heights of 80’ with special permit and FAR of 2.75. We support some increase in housing density, achieved by building to heights and FAR allowed by current zoning and, in some cases, by increasing FAR.  We do not support buildings of 14, 16, or 18 stories, and certainly not the 285-feet towers proposed by one developer. Tall towers would not be in keeping with the surrounding neighborhoods and would significantly degrade the quality of life. We feel that micro-unit housing, which has been proposed for some of these towers, is not a priority for Central Square at this time.

Cambridge needs to encourage or require more middle-income* family housing, especially three-bedroom apartments. We support expanding the city’s limited equity first-time homeownership program, which includes middle-income families, to increase such housing. We do not support public subsidy of middle-income rental units. We could accept a modest increase in density in exchange for the inclusion of middle-income units, if 100% of them were 2- and 3- bedroom units, and 75% of them were homeownership units.

We call on the city to explore innovative funding mechanisms for low-, moderate-, and middle-income housing. We propose the following measures:

•     Use surplus commercial tax revenues to build affordable housing as well as to lower property taxes at the end of each year.

•     Increase the inclusionary zoning formula to require that 25% of all units in new developments be affordable*, rather than the current 15% of base units in new developments. (Do not increase the allowed density bonus.) Of this 25% — 20% of the units should be set aside for low- and moderate-income residents and 5% should be for middle-income families. All the middle-income units should be family-sized, two or three bedroom units.

•     Add a requirement that all proposed new 4 to 9 unit buildings come under the inclusionary zoning law, using a proportional rate depending on the number of units.

•     Ensure that any increase in density must benefit the community in addition to the property owner. If the increase does benefit the community, any up-zoning should require a contribution of $50/sq ft (or more) to the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust, instead of $10/sq ft. as in Kendall Square.

We call on the city to require that MIT, an institution with a $10 billion endowment, provide dedicated housing on land it already owns for the majority of its 5000 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who do not currently live on campus. Their search for affordable housing puts tremendous pressure on the housing market in Cambridge, driving up rents and reducing available apartments.

We support changing the zoning ordinance to limit tall rooftop mechanicals. We propose that rooftop mechanicals above 10 feet or 20% of the roof area should count in the calculation of a building’s height and FAR.  Renewable energy components should be exempt from this new limit.

Traffic and Transportation

We are greatly concerned by the lack of a realistic and accurate traffic and transit plan to deal with the combined impacts of Kendall, Central, Alewife, and NorthPoint developments, which are predicted to bring at least 50,000 additional car trips per day and 50,000 additional transit trips per day into the city, according to city and state consultants. We urge the city to adopt a policy of planning for transportation before approving new zoning that allows more development.

•     The city should conduct a traffic study around Central Square that includes bikes and pedestrians. The study should state the number of vehicle trips per day that key streets can sustain, without a) causing waits of more than three light cycles at an intersection or b) transforming a 10-minute trip under non-rush-hour conditions into a 30-minute trip at peak times. The study should highlight the Mass Ave-Prospect St. intersection.

•     The city should develop a plan to deal with the existing and future traffic bottlenecks in the Central, Kendall, NorthPoint, and Alewife areas. The plan should insulate residential neighborhoods from commuter traffic trying to divert around bottlenecks.

•     The city’s transit analysis should reflect the actual crowded conditions that Red Line and bus riders already experience, and accurately predict new Red Line and bus capacity that would be needed for any new development dependent on public transit.

•     The city should make development decisions based on these realistic traffic and transit assessments.

 Retail

Development policy should encourage affordable stores in Central Square that meet the daily needs of community residents for groceries, clothing, hardware, medicines, stationary, and other necessities, and for affordable quality restaurants appropriate for family outings.

Open Space and Community Space

We need to maintain neighborhood environments in which people can see the sky, breathe clean air, cross streets safely, and children can have open spaces in which to play. A significant amount of public space in Central Square should be devoted to some combination of parks, playgrounds, outdoor markets, pedestrian walkways, urban agriculture, public art and other open air uses. The city should encourage a private developer to include an indoor market space as part of a proposed commercial or residential development in Central Square.

Sustainability

Net Zero: We support the Connolly Zoning Petition and “Net Zero” efficiency standards for the future development of all large buildings in the city. The city’s reports state that over 80% of greenhouse gas emissions come from daily building operations. To avoid the worst possible effects of climate change such as catastrophic flooding, frequent blackouts, and dangerous air quality, we need to reduce our carbon emissions and broaden our notions of sustainability.

The Connolly petition restricts the use of fossil-fuel based energy in new developments larger than 25,000 sq. ft. by requiring mitigation plans and periodic reporting of energy usage. To reach the net zero standard, developers may take advantage of design efficiencies, on-site generation of power, and off-site purchases of renewable energy. All of these steps have been shown to be feasible and economically viable right here in Cambridge.

More broadly, we embrace an expanded definition of what it means to be sustainable. We recognize that reuse of existing structures is often more efficient than new construction. We affirm that there are natural and practical limits to growth and call for design that allows for equitable access to sunlight and open space. We believe that climate adaptation, ecological water flow, urban agriculture, and civic engagement are all vital elements to the sustained livability of our city.

Ethanol trains: We are extremely concerned about the safety hazards of transporting ethanol on trains through Cambridge and other adjoining dense urban areas. Permitting such transport would also expand the use of corn ethanol, which consumes nearly as much energy to produce as it yields; farming corn for ethanol releases enormous amounts of nitrous oxide (from fertilizer), a greenhouse gas more than 200 times more powerful than CO2.

Updated and Comprehensive Master Plan 

Individual zoning proposals are now being considered piecemeal, without regard for the impact of other proposals. More than 18 million square feet of new development (in the Kendall, Central, NorthPoint, and Alewife areas) has either been built since 2010, is underway, or would be allowed under new up-zoning proposals if passed.

•     Cambridge needs an updated and comprehensive Master Plan for growth and development over the next 20-30 years – one that includes an accurate and complete analysis of the combined total impact of all major up-zoning proposals on housing prices, traffic, transit, infrastructure (water, sewer, gas, electric), the environment, and sustainability – before approving any major up-zoning petitions. We need an environmental impact statement that addresses air quality, noise, and other potential impacts.

•     According to state law, a Master Plan includes: goals and policies set by an interactive public process; a land use plan that relates density to the capacity of services; housing for all residents; economic development; protection of natural & cultural resources; open space and recreation; current and future services and facilities; transportation; and an implementation schedule and costs.

•     We strongly oppose allowing the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to control any land in Central Square. Cambridge Redevelopment Authority control would take away the ability of the public to interact with elected, accountable officials in decisions about land use.

•     We call on the city to observe a one-year moratorium on the passage of any large-scale up-zoning changes while a city-wide plan is developed and published, and the neighborhoods have time to absorb and debate these proposed changes.

•     We support a genuine and open “community-led planning process” in which participants are not appointed by the City Manager, and meetings are not led by the Community Development Department.

 Definitions

*“Affordable” housing means below 80% of Area Median Income. The City of Cambridge says 80% of AMI for a family of four is $75,520; for other family sizes, see http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/housing/resourcesandadditionalinformation/housingprogramincomelimits.aspx

*Middle-income is defined as 80-120% of AMI.  Cambridge says for a family of four, 120% of AMI is $113,280.  However, Cambridge provides assistance to households with up to 100% of AMI to buy homeownership units. Cambridge says for a family of four, 100% of AMI is $94,400.  The Cambridge Residents Alliance supports providing homeownership assistance for families with up to 100% of AMI.

Contact Us! 

The Cambridge Residents Alliance can be reached

by mail at: PO Box 390422, Cambridge, MA 02139

by email at: KeepCambridgeLivable@gmail.com

or visit our website at: http://www.CambridgeResidentsAlliance.org.