“That’s not writing, that’s just typing.”

An ancient definition of architecture suggests that three terms best pertain: Commodity (convenient, functional, useful), Firmness (lasting, robust, sturdy, resilient) and Delight (attractive, beautiful, harmonious, graceful).  Though this characterization of the art of building has been with us since the 1st century BCE, it has proven to be extraordinarily durable. Its author, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio … Continue reading “That’s not writing, that’s just typing.”

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….

Make Mine a Double

Recently I have found myself considering an unusual and interesting housing type, one which must exist in other places but has a special character and presence here in Rochester. Here is an example: This is a double house, or duplex house. It looks like a large single-family home, but it is actually two units. We … Continue reading Make Mine a Double

A Better Life in the City – the Endless Search for Urban Excellence

Xi'an, China. Most of us live inside the gravitational pull of cities. Today, 54 percent of the world’s population resides in urban areas. In 1950, 30 per cent of the world’s population was urban, and by 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population is projected to be urban. Presently, the most urbanized regions include Northern … Continue reading A Better Life in the City – the Endless Search for Urban Excellence

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

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

I'll make this short. For years now, the City and Paetec, a major corporation here, have been wrangling with each other. Paetec has wanted to build a new headquarters, and the City has wanted to woo Paetec downtown, to the site of a former enclosed, and failed, mall called Midtown Plaza (worth much further discussion, but I am … Continue reading The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Next Cities – The Street, The Block

Steven Holl's 'Linked Hybrid' project, in Beijing, just 2.5 miles from the extraordinary Forbidden City. Image from flickr. I continue to muse about the New York Times Magazine's recent architecture issue entitled "The Next City." In the feature piece, "The New, New City," architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff talks about the dazzling speed and scale of redevelopment … Continue reading Next Cities – The Street, The Block