While land tends to stay put, ideas about landscapes cross oceans easily enough. It does my American heart good when I read descriptions of national parks in other countries, because they typically fess up that we came up with the idea and did it first with Yellowstone. As it turns out, it wasn’t just a […]Read More Is “National Park City” a useful idea?
If you live in a winter city in which property owners are responsible for clearing snow from their section(s) of sidewalk, have any of the following happened to you? A: You clear your sidewalk, one of your neighbors doesn’t, your block is still treacherous. B: You’re unavailable immediately after a snowstorm, when you get home […]Read More The case for clearing sidewalks of snow by block, not property
I have a new favorite example about designing places for people, and how much human nature can complicate that process. Mont Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just over ⅓ of a square mile in size, and visited by 2.5M tourists per year. With just a few exceptions, it’s not possible to drive right up […]Read More Liberté, Égalité, Parking
There’s been a recent surge in attention on designing cities for young families (examples 1, 2, 3). This work raises important questions about what makes a place “family-friendly.” Can urban neighborhoods compete with less dense places that fit a more conventional understanding of that term? I believe so. We’re spending the year in a neighborhood […]Read More A street designed for 8 month olds & 80 year olds
With more cities developing Vision Zero initiatives to eliminate road traffic fatalities, more people are seeing the way streets that are designed as a life-and-death issue. That entails seeing things that used to look fairly benign – a 13′ lane width, for example – as hazardous. We should start seeing the absence of mature street […]Read More Streets without trees are dangerous
Part two in a series on air as an element of the public realm (part 1 here). All of the things I wanted to write about this week is going to have to wait, because – as I type these very words – someone is floating a balloon in London and causing an international incident. […]Read More A few thoughts on the Trump Balloon
For the first time as an adult, I’m swimming regularly for exercise, which – if you’re unfamiliar with how they do it over here in England – is a simple process. Nothing to it. First, walk to the Leisure Centre (of course they call it that) and check in. Next, disrobe, put on my trunks, […]Read More The pool as a public place and trust exercise
With this post, I’m starting a series about air. It ties back to another small post from today about swimming pools, which you can find here if you’re curious. The gist of it is that when the systems around managing a shared public resource like a simple pool of water aren’t working, it’s gross on […]Read More Taking in the local atmosphere
If you’re familiar with the Twin Cities, stretch your imagination with me and picture a city in which: Both exceptionally very wealthy and very poor people live. People reliably support liberal politicians. There’s an area to the west that’s also wealthy, has less poverty, and leans further right politically. Residents have a reputation for being […]Read More If Mpls & St Paul grow and add affordable housing and movie stars, will they be like Islington?
I’m starting this blog about urban planning and design of public places in London with potential relevance to MSP with a few posts setting the stage – this is the second. For the first, which included the first hypothetical challenge to the premise, click here. So, what are other reasons why I shouldn’t be doing […]Read More Observations from London: Introduction part 2