Sensible Arts

sustainability & appropriate software development


Sensible Arts is a software development LLC founded by me (David Alm), in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA.

We’re focused on building web applications that contribute to resilience of neighborhoods and towns.

If you’re involved in web development with elixir, are interested in the resilience of social-ecological systems, or are interested in any of the experiments described below, feel free and encouraged to send an email to me at sensiblearts@gmail.com.

 

In the Works

 

2021 → communitygarden.space

I am currently contacting community garden managers to determine their technology needs and wishes.

If you are a community garden manager, feel free to contact me at sensiblearts@gmail.com with any suggestions or questions.

 
 

2020 → townseed.org

townseed logo

The townseed tag line is:

Neighborhod Shops & Garden Projects

Why Shops and Projects in the same website?

The site — itself an experiment — was conceived as a way to promote and facilitate hyper-local experiments such as trying out a business idea at the neighborhood scale or starting a collaborative or community garden.

To enable this, I added these beta features:

  • Polls → assess needs or demand
  • Events & Signups → sales or other meetups
  • Catalogs & Reservations → items or services
  • Sales Register → remote or on-site exchanges
  • Blog posts for thoughts & stories

I plan to “dogfood” the system in 2021 by selling some seeds that I’ve been saving over the years, including some hot pepper lines that I’m breeding. I’ll probably blog abot that later

 
 

2019 → trees-now-isabella.org

trees NOW logo

Back in (I think it was) August of 2019, I was contacted by Jim Hageman, Graduate Dean, Retired from Central Michigan University. Jim asked if I would help him form a tree planting organization. To make a long story short: I am now a cofounder, and I built a website to facilitate that effort: Trees NOW Isabella. Our goal is reforestation in Isabella County, Michigan.

The risks and costs of not addressing climate change are becoming impossible to ignore. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions must be cut dramatically and rapidly. Trees also reduce CO2 by reducing heating and cooling needs. We can all better manage vegetation — including our many small lawns and woodlots — to capture more CO2. Planting and maintaining trees is part of this. Planting trees is not a substitute for keeping fossil fuels in the ground, but nearly everyone can help in some way with tree planting events or decisions. Also, trees provide financial and many other benefits.

Trees NOW Isabella is operating as a Project Partner of the United Way of Gratiot & Isabella Counties.

 
 

2019 → treeplace.org

treeplace logo

When I decided to build a site for Trees NOW Isabella (above), I wanted to make it reusable for non-web developers: Why not make this tech available to any town, particularly other small towns who wish to start a tree planting effort?

Hence, the idea for treeplace.org. Anyone can go to treeplace.org and create a web sub-site. For example, the Trees NOW Isabella site is at treeplace.org/trees-now-isabella. Features include:

  • Find organizations by state & county
  • “Follow” an organization for email announcements
  • Add your organization to the listing
  • Tips on starting a new organization
  • Content management sections for your organization:

    • Logo
    • About Us
    • Contact Info
    • News items
    • Document Attachments
    • Tree Programs w/ Instruction Steps
    • Planting Events
    • Donation instructions
    • Customize your URL as treeplace.org/my-organization-name
    • Track number and species of trees planted
    • Suggest a feature

 
 

2018 → gardenjournal.app

This was both the first Elixir/Phoenix web app that I built, as well as my first Dart/Flutter native app.

The website has been taken down but the original Android App (built with Flutter/Dart) is still available. The Android app no longer syncs its content to the website, of course.

I took down the website because:

  1. the original goals have been subsumed by my newer strategies,
  2. the architecture, while powerful (CouchDb sync from native to web) was going to involve too much redesign to integrate properly with the needed redesign of the web app, and
  3. I did not want this app to consume all of my time.