Artes Perditae

Artes Perditae is Latin for lost arts. And now it is time for us to find, recall or unearth as many lost arts as we can. We are going to need them. Why? Because as Paul Gilding tells us in his book "The Great Disruption": "We've been borrowing from the future, and the debt has … Continue reading Artes Perditae

“Near a Great Portal of Our City”

Once upon a time, in the now-distant 1890s, and after a long and arduous fund raising campaign notable for the $1,000 donation of the President of Haiti, a sculpture to honor and remember Frederick Douglass was begun. Sidney Wells Edwards was the sculptor. The completed monument was dedicated on June 9th, 1899, five years after … Continue reading “Near a Great Portal of Our City”

Carthage Redux: 1817, and the Three Elishas

The narratives - the stories - that any place has to offer us often occur in multiple chapters. We need to find ways to keep listening as these stories slowly unfold before us. So it is with Carthage - another installment. 1817 was quite a year in this part of the world. For example, in 1811, Nathaniel Rochester began laying out … Continue reading Carthage Redux: 1817, and the Three Elishas


Cities contain us. Cities hold our stories, our dreams, what we wanted to be, what we failed to become, the way we lived, what we built and why. A good city has swarms of stories, and a best city is a city in which the most narratives remain legible for the longest possible time. Stories … Continue reading Carthage

The Good City and the Culture of Convenience, continued

For those of you who have been following us here at A Town Square for a while – 8 years(!?) – what follows may seem like a bit of heresy, but, as we often say, onward. It didn’t have to turn out this way. It’s true that the way it has turned out is what … Continue reading The Good City and the Culture of Convenience, continued

The Good City and the Culture of Convenience

The Good City, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 1338. Rochester, New York, 2013. What if Rochester were a good city? Would it be different than the city we live in today? How would it be different? I find myself reflecting on these questions because I remain preoccupied with my sense of the difference between a good city and … Continue reading The Good City and the Culture of Convenience


"When things get really bad, just raise your glass and STAMP your feet and do a little jig. That's about all you can do." Leonard Cohen. Up here on the north coast, in western NY, we are trying to figure out how to do the same thing that cities and regions around the world are simultaneously … Continue reading A STAMP Act

TEDx Rochester – A Follow-up

Whew! Talk complete. Amazing how much work a 12 minute presentation can be. Especially when you have no note cards - just an increasingly rusty memory. You can see and listen to the talk here: Go to session 4, and then go to the 36 minute mark. Runs about 14 minutes. Thanks to all … Continue reading TEDx Rochester – A Follow-up

Buffalo’s Billion

Our Governor here, Andrew Cuomo, has just announced that the State of New York will be forking over $1 billion to the city of  Buffalo, to aid a city in crisis. Yup - a cool billion. As you can imagine, the howls of disbelief and anger in Rochester and Syracuse are deafening. These three cities, … Continue reading Buffalo’s Billion