A Neighborhood Canvas

When Assata Richards moved into one of the newly renovated row houses in Houston's Third Ward in the winter of 1996, she knew her life had...

When Assata Richards moved into one of the newly renovated row houses in Houston's Third Ward in the winter of 1996, she knew her life had changed. Richards had been living with her young son and eight other people in a two-bedroom apartment in the "Bottoms," the most economically depressed area in one of the city's oldest African American neighborhoods. Eager to go back to school after a several year hiatus, she jumped at the opportunity to join the Young Mother's Program, an arm of Project Row Houses, the community revitalization and public art endeavor. Richards, one of the first five women in the program, recalls the immediate impact of moving into her new home. "It was like being in a smoky room and walking into fresh air," she says. "I knew that things were going to be ok."Project Row Houses was born when a group of high school students visited artist Rick Lowe's studio in 1992 and challenged him to make art with community impact. Lowe, then a practicing painter, was convinced that his art needed a practical application and spent the next few years building a small coalition of volunteers, fellow artists and community organizers to rehabilitate an abandoned 1 1/2 block site of twenty-two shotgun style houses in Houston's Third Ward. "I treated it like I would any art project," says Lowe. "Are the essentials there? The first thing I did was find people to support the project."Lowe's inaugural endeavor– cleaning up that first block– was not glamorous or a textbook interpretation of art, but one not without precedent. One of Lowe's biggest influences, German artist Joseph Beuys, planted 7,000 oaks throughout Kassel, Germany with an army of volunteers; in the process initiating a conversation around civic action, social change, and artistic expression. Lowe works with Project Rowe Houses' staff and residents to help them understand that they are making creative acts. "We were art in and of itself," says Richards. "We were creating art. We were changing ourselves."Over the last seventeen years Project Row Houses has evolved into a smorgasbord of art and social services considered by many to be one of the most visionary public art programs in the country. "You begin to see that art is not this static thing that sits on a wall but something that has relevance," says Richards. Throughout the year Project Row Houses hosts visiting artists, after school programs, even urban garden installations.Several of the houses are dedicated art spaces hosting interactive installations focusing on issues critical to Houston's Third Ward. The Young Mother's Program, which moved Richards from a cycle of crisis to earning her PhD, has helped 50 young mothers through a comprehensive approach including deeply subsidized housing, weekly workshops (on topics like financial literacy), and counseling. Many of these women go on to careers as artists, accountants or in Richards' case, professors.Other cities have adopted Lowe's "art in the shape of neighborhood redevelopment" tactic. Edgar Arceneaux, the artist behind the Watts House Project, studied under Lowe before incubating the project on LA's south side. Lowe's vision will extend next to Anyang, South Korea where he will lead a project to empower small business owners and displaced residents. When he returns to Houston, Richards, who now heads the Young Mother's Program, will be there along with a new round of installations, the recently donated, solar powered Zerow House and a community of visiting artists and residents. "Project Row Houses took on this enormous endeavor, to revitalize this community," says Richards. "But the revitalization was within ourselves."This post originally appeared on, as part of GOOD's collaboration with the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or to submit your own idea today.

Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

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via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

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via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

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