Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Hey, That’s Neat!

I follow a lot of local media and municipal organizations and I often come across things that are so cool I feel like everyone should know about them. Here are a few recent discoveries I hope you'll enjoy. Check them out and tell your friends. Some things just need to be shared! 

Fun to know!

Looking for something different – and safe – to do over the long holiday weekend? Why not check out a cool new interactive art installation? Charlotte Listens, created and developed by Sara Kate Baudhuin at the Charlotte Art League, is a creative answer to the realities of COVID-19 isolation. It’s a storytelling “payphone,” but, instead of a phone, you’ll find a panel with a QR code that, when scanned, gives you a phone number to listen to one of five different short stories recorded by previous participants. After you listen, you’re invited to share a story of your own with the help of prompts. (Note: The Charlotte Art League screens the recordings, so there’s no risk of encountering anything inappropriate.) As stories are added, the menu of options changes and expands.

We visited the other day and found this to be a clever, fun, family-friendly activity. It’s a compelling, contactless and engaging outing that can help us all feel a little more connected to our community while we remain physically apart.

This is a mobile installation. Follow @charlotte.listens on Instagram to find its current location. At the time of this post, the booth was located at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in South End. While it's there, consider pairing your visit with a bike ride or walk on the Rail Trail and a frozen treat!

Good to know!

I recently read an article in CharlotteFive about “essential distancing” and the popularity trends for visiting places like grocery stores, coffee shops and parks in Charlotte under COVID-19. The reporter gleaned this data from Google’s Community Mobility Report a resource I find fascinating. This report shows movement trends by region across categories of places we visit in our day-to-day lives. With an unbelievably vast database, Google is able to compare mobility trends worldwide, but the real value for local citizens is being able to modify their personal outings to account for crowds and, hopefully, mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

This database is easy to use. Enter a region (down to the state level) and download the most recent report. Of particular interest to me are stats on parks and recreation. 

Other fun tools the article mentioned are Google Maps’ popular times and live busyness feature, which offers real-time insight into how crowded a place might be before you go, and the live view, which helps orient users en route to an unfamiliar destination. Both seem genius at any time, but particularly in the age of COVID-19. 

Did you know?

You probably know that paper yard waste bags are way better for the environment than plastic. But did you know that Mecklenburg County gives compostable paper bags away for free? These are available at all Mecklenburg County Drop Centers (Mondays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and other locations like the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Office (located at 1200 Ottis Street, first-come/first-served every Friday from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.). You can get up to 10 bags per visit. Pretty cool, huh?

Got any other fun local tips, suggestions or resources? Message me! I’d love to check them out and spread the word.

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