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

Getting Off the Grids III – Local Utility

I have speculated here repeatedly about taking a single existing urban block off the grids. I have come to believe that the scale of a single city block may be the most affordable, and rational, way to retool existing urban neighborhood infrastructures: power, heat, water, gardens, all in the alley. And now it turns out that I am way, … Continue reading Getting Off the Grids III – Local Utility

A Little and a Lot

The largest city on earth - Tokyo. Image by Altus. I have often found myself reflecting here on matters of scale - of blocks and streets, of cities and neighborhoods. Recently I have found myself thinking about the relationship between the really, really big, and the fairly tiny. Let me explain. We lead our daily … Continue reading A Little and a Lot

The Shapes of Cities, Once and Again

Amsterdam, painted by Jan Micker in 1652, 350 years before Google Earth. Lately I have been provoked to reflect on the shapes and forms of urbanism past and future, about the nature of compact and dense urban places, and about what makes the next city, or any city, literally sustainable. Let me explain. This last weekend we had a … Continue reading The Shapes of Cities, Once and Again

Cities, Scale and Economics

We hear every day now about the staggering sums of money being thrown at this and that sinking sector of our nation's economy. It's hard to understand the scale of all of this. I am just now starting to figure out what a toxic asset is, and I am struggling to grasp what $700 billion dollars means. Or $50 … Continue reading Cities, Scale and Economics