The Public Realm Reclaimed – At Last

Rochester's public realm: reclaimed during a pandemic. Image by Maria Furgiuele And Chicago's, in Ravenswood. Image by Jim Peters In the end, my years-long campaign to alter the presence of the automobile in our cities has always had two underlying and perhaps not very well hidden objectives. First has been a desire to reclaim and … Continue reading The Public Realm Reclaimed – At Last

Our Grid of Streets, Blocks, and Buildings, And at Last, No Cars….

First, a Prologue. We here at A Town Square are in a CDC quarantine: we had spent time in the wonderful cities of Madrid and Valencia, left at the last possible moment as the Spanish nation locked itself down, and arrived in the US to be told that we would be spending a couple of … Continue reading Our Grid of Streets, Blocks, and Buildings, And at Last, No Cars….

Present City, Future City: India

In the Old City, Ahmedabad. In February and March we spent a month visiting seven cities across India, from south to north, from west to east. Our time there was completely exceptional: invaluable, surprising, educational, revealing, depressing, infuriating, eye-opening and more. I continue to reflect on those days, and it has taken me until now … Continue reading Present City, Future City: India

Front Street – before and after

With as little commentary as possible, here are two views of our city. First, a view from the 1950s or 1960s. Downtown Rochester. Main Street at the bottom of the image, the Genesee River, and Front and Water Streets on either side of the waterfront, running north and south. And the same view in 2016. … Continue reading Front Street – before and after

STAMP Act II – An Update

In the interest of trying to come to a better understanding of what we believe is a very misguided decision to locate a Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama, New York, out in Genesee County, we hopped in the car for the voyage west to the site. The STAMP here is aimed … Continue reading STAMP Act II – An Update

Winter, and What to Eat in the City?

Front Street Market, Rochester, New York, 1916. If we live in cities, we are usually not farmers. But if we live in cities we do have to eat. I often find myself thinking about food and the next city, and food and the last city. Maybe I should stop writing at dinner time. Anyway, let's explore … Continue reading Winter, and What to Eat in the City?

Rochester and Sustainability: A Report Card

  Photo by David Mohney, City Hall Photo Lab, from the Monroe County Library Collection, c-0001910. Rochester's green grade: F. F for Fail. Failing. Failed. I went looking around this morning at what cities are doing to become more sustainable. I went to a bunch of .gov web sites from a selection of municipalities to see … Continue reading Rochester and Sustainability: A Report Card

Rochester: What Happened?

A reader here has just asked me a good question about Rochester urbanism and the character and order of this region: what happened? He noted that Rochester was once a dense, compact city, surrounded by neighborhoods of tree-lined streets and lovely homes, in a region rich with all kinds of natural resources - lake, river, countryside. … Continue reading Rochester: What Happened?

Let the Innovation Begin

"Innovate: to start or introduce something new. To create." Webster's Rochesterians enjoy a long tradition of creating the new: cameras, optics, copying machines, telegraphy, and today medicine and science, even corporate R&D (GM has its fuel cell research facility here, as an example). There is and has always been a lot of brainpower here. Innovators here … Continue reading Let the Innovation Begin