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

Rat Running, City Streets and the Urban Grid

Here in our city, we live on a street that is a prime conduit for zooming rush-hour traffic attempting to avoid congestion. The phenomenon is called rat running, and we have some pretty fast rats. We yell at the drivers, we write letters to the City, we try to organize our neighbors, but the street … Continue reading Rat Running, City Streets and the Urban Grid

A Short, or Even a Long History of Alleys

  My brother Doug and I got into a discussion of blocks and alleys and urbanism on this Thanksgiving Day. He writes quite wonderfully about his neighborhood in Portland, Oregon: Alameda. You can find his work here: http://www.alamedahistory.org. He said: "'I am also working on something about alleys here in northeast Portland. The earlier neighborhoods … Continue reading A Short, or Even a Long History of Alleys

Front Street – before and after

With as little commentary as possible, here are two views of our city. First, a view from the 1950s or 1960s. Downtown Rochester. Main Street at the bottom of the image, the Genesee River, and Front and Water Streets on either side of the waterfront, running north and south. And the same view in 2016. … Continue reading Front Street – before and after

The Loss of the Local

I made a presentation the other day entitled "Teachable Cities." I looked at 10 cities from around the world that had lessons for us as we shape our own urban places, lessons about water and waterfronts, about cars and traffic, about alternate forms of urban mobility, and about constructing or reconstructing a public realm meant for us … Continue reading The Loss of the Local

“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”