Tag Archives: neighborhoods

Brad Pitt, Andres Duany, and Aesthetic Diversity: Why There’s Room for Everyone in the New N’awlins

The New Orleans that was swept away when the levees broke cannot be restored. A new New Orleans is rising—it cannot be otherwise. Isn’t it possible that in this new New Orleans there is room for Frank Gehry and Andres Duany? For the experimental and the traditional? For the future and the past? Can’t this new New Orleans be a city that retells the stories of its forebears while crafting new tales of its own? It has been a long time since New Orleans had anything new to add to the larger discussion of American urbanism. A long time since the national spotlight shone on it for reasons other than crime, poverty, catastrophe, or the musical achievements of the past.

History should never be forgotten, but neither should it be made into a golden calf. Cities need to breathe, they need to periodically remake themselves. As long as the people remaking New Orleans remain in service to the city’s most vulnerable residents, New Orleans wins. Architects win. Design wins. Creativity wins. Experimentation wins. A new vernacular arises alongside the old. Continue reading

Posted in Culture, History, human scale, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Neighbors, Placemaking, Response Pieces, Sustainability, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Portland Creatives Find New Ways to Work Together

Portland, Oregon—the misty evergreen Shangri-La for the young, the creative, and the progressive—has an interesting problem. Its miles of bike lanes, its rock-bottom rents, its deep vats of craft brews are all far too good. Yes, Portland has actually made itself too attractive. According to one study that compared May of 2009 with May of 2008, Oregon’s unemployment has grown faster than any other state in the country, 3 percent. For large metropolitan areas in the country, Portland has one of the highest unemployment rates, which topped out at about 11.8 percent—even higher than Detroit. To blame, some economists believe, are the large numbers of designers and artists who have been moving there without jobs, dubbed the dubious “young creatives.”
Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Livability, Placemaking, Portland: City or Scene?, Sustainability, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Colonize

Urban gentrification is like global colonization. An advantaged people decide they fancy an area and use their advantages to push into it with, at best, disregard, and at worst, disdain, for the people already living there. The invaders use their might to erase the culture of current residents, and eventually, to erase the residents all together.

I know this, and yet, my feelings about gentrification are ambivalent: a blend of concern and guilt. Yes, guilt. Because I have been an urban colonizer. Continue reading

Posted in Culture, History, Livability, Neighbors, Placemaking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Back Yard: Open & Playful in a Land of Fences

Unlike many parents these days, I have no desire to invest in expensive play equipment, then have it used only by my children and the kids they invite over for playdates. So, my number one goal for the features I installed in my back yard was enticing neighbor kids to freely go around, over, or through our back fence to use them on a regular basis. That means they have to be very attractive, and also that means that I need to reach out frequently to those neighbors with whom we share fences to establish and maintain good relations. Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Livability, Neighbors, Placemaking, Shout Outs, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Deep Walkability

The true test of walkability I think is this: Can you spend a pleasant half hour walking or on transit and end up at a variety of great places? The quality of having a feast of options available when you walk out your front door is what I starting to think of as “deep walkability.” Continue reading

Posted in Auto Independence, Culture, human scale, Livability, Placemaking, Shout Outs, transit, Transportation, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment