☀️ Stop Parking In Your City

AND Strangers Help Refugees As They Relocate

Inhale the present, exhale the past.

Now, let your breath guide you back to the present moment, where peace and mindfulness reside.

Thank you for reading today’s edition of Grateful Gazette 😌

Here’s what to know for Thursday:

  • Strangers help refugees get acclimated

  • These two countries always finish their fruit and veggies

  • US cities are moving away from parking minimums


Shams Erfan is a refugee from Afghanistan who found a new beginning in Toronto, Canada.  

Erfan left Afghanistan in 2014 when he was just 15 years old. He had to flee because of the Taliban's persecution.

He traveled to India, Malaysia, and eventually ended up in Indonesia, where he was detained for years with no clear outcome. 

But Erfan's life improved when he arrived in Toronto in March 2022 through Canada's private sponsorship program.

He used a program to leave Indonesia, where he had been in political limbo for eight years. Upon receiving his permanent residency in Canada, he felt like he was starting a new chapter in his life. 

He was filled with hope and felt like he was reborn.

The efforts of three strangers, Canadian refugee advocate Stephen Watt, Miriam Faine, and a kind-hearted sponsor in Burlington, Ontario, made the resettlement possible. 

And in Toronto, Erfan has found a new purpose. 

He is now a PEN Canada writer-in-residence at George Brown College and works with Watt at Northern Lights Canada, a nonprofit group that assists refugees. 

The support Erfan received in Toronto exemplifies the best of humanity and the impact of collective effort in making a difference in the world.

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Across the United States, a significant urban shift is taking place. 

For those unaware, parking minimums decide the number of off-street parking spaces that new developments must have.

This move makes cities less reliant on cars and more friendly for affordable housing, efficient transit, and walkable communities.

Austin isn't alone in this endeavor. 

Over 50 cities nationwide, from Anchorage, Alaska, to San Jose, California, have joined this trend. 

Why? Because parking minimums cause urban sprawl, reduce walkability, and worsen environmental problems like heat and runoff.

The impact of parking minimums is more than just spatial; it's financial, too. 

Putting in parking spots for buildings can also jack up the cost of rent. Just one place in a parking structure might be over $50k, which could increase rent by about 17%.

The movement is about building cities while prioritizing human interaction and affordability. And it’s gaining steam.

That effort transforms these cities into places where people, not cars, are the central focus.

To pass, you must answer me these riddles three!”

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