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

City in Front, City in Back

It is easy to imagine that the streets of our neighborhoods, the sidewalks, the parkways (optimistically called tree lawns here), and our front porches could and should become more active and more suitable for sitting, standing to discuss the news of the day with neighbors, walking and strolling and biking. We have talked here often … Continue reading City in Front, City in Back

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

Do I Dare Write About Parcel 5?

There is an empty site in our downtown. It is called Parcel 5. It has resulted from the slow but steady redevelopment of an area once occupied by an enclosed but long gone shopping mall called Midtown Plaza. New buildings are to the west, and an older and ugly existing building is to the east. … Continue reading Do I Dare Write About Parcel 5?

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

Meanwhile on North Water Street….

Once upon a time, North Water was a district that featured garment manufacturers, technology innovators, shoe makers, brewers and distillers, warehousers, and more than a few squatters. From Main Street, North Water proceeded to Central Avenue and the railroads. Most, though not all, of the buildings on the river side of the street were large … Continue reading Meanwhile on North Water Street….

“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”

The Song is Ended, But the Melody Lingers On

The intersection of South Clinton and Bly, in Rochester. The green and tan building on the right of Bly is early - from before 1890. The red building on the left of Bly dates from around 1915. Recognizable? It should be - it is almost certainly present in your city - perhaps right around the corner. Even now … Continue reading The Song is Ended, But the Melody Lingers On