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Old 06-03-2009, 06:08 PM
 
Location: In the heights
22,114 posts, read 23,634,230 times
Reputation: 11606

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One of the big complaints about the midwest, and the more northern great lakes areas in particular, is the numbing cold of their winters. It seems as though the midwest loses part of its population due to the harsh winters alone. Good "fixes" for the winter might go a long way in making the midwest more desirable (as the a/c had done for the south).

So with that in mind, I started thinking up and compiling a couple of practices from other really cold cities that might help mitigate the harshness of the winters. Some are a little wonkier than others.

1. Tropenhaus - this is a development in the swiss alps that uses the warm water (68F) springing from a tunnel drilling to warm a tropical green house and a sturgeon pond. It addresses both environmental concerns that warm water being introduced into rivers in the Alps would cause, but also provides a warm oasis and some odd local agricultural products. While geothermal sources might be too costly for some cities to attain, it may be possible to pipe in waste heat from power plants or other industries especially if that waste heat is not or can not be used efficiently for power cogeneration. A tropenhaus could possibly store heat underground before the winter months arrive in order to "save" enough heat to last through the winter while also having a way to open itself up for ventilation during the summers. This could be used as a temporary reprieve.

2. Underground cities - Our neighbor to the north has to deal with even harsher winters, so there's a lot to be learned from them. The underground cities of both Montreal and Toronto are safe havens for some kind of street life and community events when the streets up above are a bit more uninhabitable. While a few US cities already have them, they don't seem to be nearly as integrated into their communities. Key points to the underground cities in Toronto and Montreal are the inclusion of a mass transit system so that they can serve as a hub and the expansion of these cities to be shopping and service centers in themselves rather than just corridors connecting buildings so that they can serve as a destination.

3. Skywalks - This is similar to underground cities except these are off the ground instead of underground. Minneapolis/St. Paul has a fairly extensive system. This is already being done in a number of Midwestern cities.

4. UV Beds - Well, this is fairly self-explanatory. Apparently, Palin owned one and the idea was how necessary it was for sun-deprived Alaska. If any research actually bears out some effectiveness in treating or preventing SAD, then perhaps these should be popularized. Perhaps there can even be a bit of tweaking of the type of lights used in buildings.

5. Advertisement/A good spin - I've read posts from someone in Arizona who saw ads run by Michigan promoting the wonders of having four seasons and snow. Also, there are a handful of people who have told me that they absolutely love the cold. Maybe we can kind of mind blast with ads and change popular opinion. Maybe. Putting up more winter events, where the cold and the snow are actually a boon, could also do some good in keeping people.

There's also just running amok with the basic idea of underground cities and skywalks where you just make pretty much everything enclosed, though I'm not too fond of the idea--though enclosing bus stops (also handy for express buses) and train platforms is a good idea. Anyhow, these are the few I came up with, though I'm sure there are many more along with old stand-bys such as just wearing enough clothing. I'd love to hear your input on this, and especially if you've come across some interesting solutions in the more northern and less coastal cities around the world.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:16 PM
 
3,234 posts, read 7,627,024 times
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6. Not being a p*ssy. It gets very annoying having people complain about the winter. You're cold? Put on a damn sweater. You don't like shoveling the driveway? Too bad. You could use the workout tubby. There is nothing to do outside? Take up snowboarding. Build a snowman. Throw snowballs at children.

On a serious note, I don't like skyways. They have them here in Rochester and it helped kill the downtown area. Instead of bustling street activity, people are walking from building to building in these skyways. Some shops closed up partly because of this.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:30 PM
 
Location: In the heights
22,114 posts, read 23,634,230 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garmin239 View Post
6. Not being a p*ssy. It gets very annoying having people complain about the winter. You're cold? Put on a damn sweater. You don't like shoveling the driveway? Too bad. You could use the workout tubby. There is nothing to do outside? Take up snowboarding. Build a snowman. Throw snowballs at children.

On a serious note, I don't like skyways. They have them here in Rochester and it helped kill the downtown area. Instead of bustling street activity, people are walking from building to building in these skyways. Some shops closed up partly because of this.
Yea, I've read about how skyways can destroy street life without offering much of an alternative (since they're pretty much used for just going from one building to another).

I guess you're bigger on spinning/changing perspectives on the cold, eh? I don't know if you're approaching it in a way that's going to stem the population loss though as I'm not too sure living in a city strictly full of he-men man's men is going to be appealing to many.
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:05 PM
 
3,277 posts, read 4,613,972 times
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Maybe I'm just used to it, but I don't really consider it that difficult. You have to consider that Montreal and Toronto's winters are colder than most of the Midwest and NE's, so for them to have those solutions like underground cities makes more sense. Our winters are relatively bearable.
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:22 AM
 
Location: Cold Frozen North
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I've lived in the Chicago area all my life and don't think that winters are that bad. I have more objection to the summers with the heat and humidity.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Englewood, Near Eastside Indy
8,341 posts, read 14,093,273 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garmin239 View Post
6. Not being a p*ssy. It gets very annoying having people complain about the winter. You're cold? Put on a damn sweater. You don't like shoveling the driveway? Too bad. You could use the workout tubby. There is nothing to do outside? Take up snowboarding. Build a snowman. Throw snowballs at children.

On a serious note, I don't like skyways. They have them here in Rochester and it helped kill the downtown area. Instead of bustling street activity, people are walking from building to building in these skyways. Some shops closed up partly because of this.
Post of the year!
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Chicago- Lawrence and Kedzie/Maywood
2,242 posts, read 5,555,243 times
Reputation: 735
Quote:
Originally Posted by garmin239 View Post
6. Not being a p*ssy. It gets very annoying having people complain about the winter. You're cold? Put on a damn sweater. You don't like shoveling the driveway? Too bad. You could use the workout tubby. There is nothing to do outside? Take up snowboarding. Build a snowman. Throw snowballs at children.

On a serious note, i don't like skyways. They have them here in rochester and it helped kill the downtown area. Instead of bustling street activity, people are walking from building to building in these skyways. Some shops closed up partly because of this.
x2
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:36 AM
 
2,248 posts, read 6,205,020 times
Reputation: 2078
Quote:
Originally Posted by garmin239 View Post
6. Not being a p*ssy. It gets very annoying having people complain about the winter. You're cold? Put on a damn sweater. You don't like shoveling the driveway? Too bad. You could use the workout tubby. There is nothing to do outside? Take up snowboarding. Build a snowman. Throw snowballs at children.

On a serious note, i don't like skyways. They have them here in rochester and it helped kill the downtown area. Instead of bustling street activity, people are walking from building to building in these skyways. Some shops closed up partly because of this.
+1
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:27 AM
 
11,171 posts, read 22,363,867 times
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I'm not a huge fan of winters, but they happen every year and tens of millions of people up north handle them just fine.

People complain when it's cold like people down south complain when it's 100 degrees and humid. You just deal with it.

I throw on a hat, gloves and a comfortable coat. Bam. I'm fine being outside walking to the train, waiting for it and then walking to work. It's not like i'm in PAIN being out in the cold - i'm bundled up and really can't feel it.

I know a lot of people HATE the cold, but personally while I don't love it, it really doesn't make me want to cry or anything. Everyone has this view it's like 10 degrees for months on end and everyone stays inside. It obviously DOES get that cold, but the temps is constantly changing. One week it's up in the 40's and 50's in Chicago, then it's -20. The variation makes it much better. Really though, when it's 20 degrees or higher I don't have a problem being outside if I have a coat on. I still go out to dinner, hit up the bars, walk places, hang out with friends.

Sure things tend to move indoors, but if I was somewhere that it was 95 degrees outside - you can bet I'd personally be indoors in a heartbeat.

The only months where you really notice it are December, January and February. November and March are around the upper 40's for highs, and while you aren't laying out at the beach, it's not going to be very noticable except that its chilly outside. Plus November and March see swings from the 20's all the way up to the 70's. April through October are the easy months - and that's almost 60% of the year.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:34 AM
 
11,171 posts, read 22,363,867 times
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Another thing I notice at least in Chicago, is people tend to work a lot of overtime in winter and are really busy with work. No one takes off work. The winter for me flies by because I'm always working.

The flip side of that is during the summer I take weeks of vacation, our company relaxes the dress code, people take hours long lunches, and every company I've worked for gives 1/2 day Fridays during the summer. People are CONSTANTLY busy and are always outside going crazy.

Chicago puts on multiple festivals every Friday through Sunday from June through September. Tens of thousands of people attend every weekend, along with millions to the taste of Chicago and hundreds of thousands to the Pride parade and other large festivals. Winter is the offset where people can relax and hibernate if they choose.

The weather really splits the year here and creates not just very different seasons, but very different lifestyles as well. If it weren't for the winter, I don't think our summers would be nearly as amazing.
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