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….

Rearranging the Grid

As I have endlessly noted here, our city of Rochester adopted the scorched earth policy for automobility at an early moment: streetcars removed in 1941, subway demolished in 1956, expressways as our emerald necklace in the 1950s, a mid-century Inner Loop that strangled our central city, demolition of everything possible downtown in favor of parking, … Continue reading Rearranging the Grid

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

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

Some Thoughts for the New Plumber-In-Chief

Announced just over a week ago, your new infrastructure fund is now gone, Mr. President. It’s all been spent already, several times over, by politicians, constructors, lobbyists, trade associations. Get your staff to try googling “Obama infrastructure plan,” and up pop hundreds of thousands of web sites, and nearly every newspaper, magazine, financial analyst, and … Continue reading Some Thoughts for the New Plumber-In-Chief