The backstory: Sept 12, 2015, I went to a TEDx at Art Center College of Design. My goal was to be inspired to do something, anything, with swales. (A swale is a water-harvesting ditch.) Success! After hearing Youmna Chamcham, founder and designer of LiveLoveBeirut, I went home and created the Facebook page Beautiful Swales. Like LiveLoveBeirut, the page invites visitors to post pictures — though of beautiful swales not of Beirut. Then I went back to Art Center for the rest of the TEDx.
Two and a half years later, because of Candace’s nudges, I created the first Facebook event for Beautiful Swales: a public Beautiful Swales meeting. Candace, in turn, announced the meeting to Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition (PCSC).
I was excited for the meeting at Peet’s Coffee on May 2. There were five of us, a full-fledged action committee and a collaborative partnership between PCSC and Transition Pasadena! We went over existing local swales projects and came up with some of our own. We had a lot of questions such as “What are the rules for putting in swales?” Everyone agreed to do a little homework.
Homework got done. Emails flew between us. Then, on May 31, two of us met with Pasadena Water and Power and Pasadena Public Works in the persons of Ursula Schmidt and Sean Singletary. Questions got asked. Answers were given, such as “Rules for swales have yet to be written.” It’s the Wild West out there right now, people!
On June 4, during the regular PCSC meeting, I made an impromptu report. It’s a whole new Beautiful Swales, and there will be more public meetings to follow. Thanks for the nudge, Candace.