For many travelers exploring the far reaches of our planet, it's tempting to focus exclusively on the sights, museums, beaches, and bars while overlooking the very thing that breathes life into these amazing places: the people.
A reading of Congressman Ryan's recent offering, A Mindful Nation, gives notice to all of us that a long-awaited and badly-needed shift in thinking is in the works. It goes far beyond being Republican, Democrat, Tea Party or Independent.
Walk towards that which you wish to avoid, until you can heal the pain that caused you to step back. See what happens if you say yes instead of no to the people and situations you have learned to avoid.
If our cities must be dense to be competitive and sustainable, we must also look with care to the potential displacement of uses, institutions or traditions -- not to mention the artifacts we will leave behind.
What if American cities legislated brighter color amid windows, balconies planted green and encouraged flags and hanging laundry? What if homeowner associations and rental contracts required vegetation and decoration?