General

  • The Greatest Grid

    The Greatest Grid

    At least that’s what the Museum of the City of New York proclaims in the title of a new exhibition about the 1811 Manhattan street plan that’s currently celebrating its 200th birthday.  It’s a bold claim, given the grid’s great […]

     
  • New Urbanism in Comparative and Intercultural Perspective

    New Urbanism in Comparative and Intercultural Perspective

    Denver is well-known nationally as a city dedicated to New Urbanist development.  Several projects in the city—most notably Belmar, Stapleton, and Highlands Garden Village (HGV)—have received lots of prominent press and some significant praise.  The Congress for the New Urbanism […]

     
  • Carr Square Village (from Oscar Newman, Creating Defensible Space)

    Has Pruitt-Igoe Been Demythologized?

    The short answer is Yes and No. Details ahead… Last week I finally had a chance to see the much-heralded film The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History at the Denver Starz Film Festival.  I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a powerful and visually […]

     
  • Mr. Kimmelman’s Mission

    Mr. Kimmelman’s Mission

    New York Times commentators have always figured prominently in my urban studies reading lists, whether its Paul Krugman advocating Old World urbanism, David Brooks explaining American exurbanism, or the extant architecture critic opining about the latest addition to the global […]

     
  • Urbanology 101

    Urbanology 101

    Kaid Benfield’s recent post about the BMW-Guggenheim Lab’s Urbanology game inspired me to play the game a few times myself.  Then I asked my University of Denver Culture and The City class (which met for the first time last week) to […]

     
  • The Monumental MLK

    The Monumental MLK

    Public monuments are an important aspect of the good city. In his Art of Building Cities (1889)—a book that helped to establish the modern study of urban design—Camillo Sitte suggested that monuments “bring back historical memories” and constitute “the glory […]

     
  • Three Urbanisms Revisited

    Three Urbanisms Revisited

    A recurring theme in the urban studies literature and blogosphere (including this blog) is critical comparison of  different approaches to city-building.  Such an exercise can have practical utility in the street and also pedagogical utility in the classroom.  Although any […]

     
  • Scenes from a Ciclovía

    Scenes from a Ciclovía

    Last Sunday (August 14) Denver held its first ciclovía, known locally as “Viva Streets.”  A two mile stretch of East 23rd Avenue in my neighborhood of Park Hill was closed to motor vehicles. For four hours bicyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, joggers, pedestrians […]

     
  • Brand X Urbanism and Cultural Diversity

    Brand X Urbanism and Cultural Diversity

    I’d like to revisit an issue raised in my recent summary of James Kunstler’s view of the urban future.  This issue is the relative merits of competing urbanisms for addressing the contemporary challenges that confront city designers and planners.  Kunstler […]

     
  • The 15% Solution

    The 15% Solution

    Which is a better city: Melbourne or Sydney?  Geoffrey West’s and Luis Bettencourt’s provocative ideas (reported here and popularized here) got some play today in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Reprising their argument that cities are 85% alike in the way […]

     
  • Coming Contractions

    Coming Contractions

    James Kunstler’s essay in the new issue of Orion Magazine speculates about the future of cities by playing off of “city-of-the-future” tropes that have long been a staple of American popular culture. Kunstler is well-known for a brand of dystopian futurism […]

     
  • People or Place in Urban Planning?

    People or Place in Urban Planning?

    In his deservedly well-reviewed book Triumph of the City the Harvard economist Edward Glaeser unambiguously opts for people as the key element that determines a city’s success.  He argues that a place-centered approach to urban planning—that is, one informed by […]