Home from Rome: Surely surviving Modernity

"Modernism is clearly expressed by…. the segregation of activities and peoples, the specialization and isolation of professions and the systems they create, the (rapid) centralization of ever larger (capitalist) institutions (and developments), and the monopoly of certain technologies, most notably the car."   Peter Calthorpe, The Next American Metropolis. Campo de' Fiori We have just … Continue reading Home from Rome: Surely surviving Modernity

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

Thinking About Melbourne

As we wander around the world looking for cities that can teach us Rochesterians a thing or two about good urbanism, we occasionally stumble across places that are sufficiently astonishing that they must be shared. And so, herewith is a peek at Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne, looking north from Port Phillip Bay and the Tasmanian Ferry … Continue reading Thinking About Melbourne

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

More on Increased Urban Density

Life in a 19th century New York Tenement. I am getting  a bit roughed up here on issues related to the need for increased density in the next city. Friends, colleagues, even siblings are suggesting that my recent proposals to use existing rights-of-way (streets, alleys) as sites for new construction illustrate that I am a slap-happy historic homewrecker … Continue reading More on Increased Urban Density

Other Options: Alleys and Driveways

Let's say that you live in an urban neighborhood that has less than 15 or 20 dwellings per acre. Let's say that you live in an urban neighborhood of detached or semi-detached townhouses and single family homes. A neighborhood of bungalows, perhaps like this: Chicago bungalow. Knowing that the city must become more populous in order … Continue reading Other Options: Alleys and Driveways

Density for a Next City

And now, with one single image, I will annoy whole cadres of folks, even more than I usually do. I am confident that all of my lifelong historic preservation friends will throw their hands in the air in horror. And my brother Doug, an astute urbanist with a terrific eye, and ear, for what counts in city life … Continue reading Density for a Next City

Looks can be Deceiving

What does urban density look like? When we hear the "D" word, our first thoughts are often of high-rises and sunless streets. But in point of fact, density's appearance might surprise you. Mumbai is the most densely populated city in the world. Its 14,350,000 inhabitants are packed into 484 square kilometers. This works out to 120 people per acre. But … Continue reading Looks can be Deceiving