• The Retreat at Twin Lakes (Reuters)

    Did the Built Environment Kill Trayvon Martin?

    Or, help kill him?  So asks Planetizen, in advertising an article by Robert Steuteville in Better! Cities and Towns.  Steuteville’s argument is that gated communities like The Retreat at Twin Lakes create “a fortress mentality” replete with paranoia and suspicion […]

  • Parking Lot at Fiat Lingotto, Turin, Italy

    The Parking Lot as Public Space

    Yesterday’s Atlantic Wire listed MIT Urban Planner Eran Ben-Joseph’s column in The New York Times called “When a Parking Lot is so Much More” as a top Monday read. The essence of Ben-Joseph’s argument: The ubiquity of parking lots has…led […]

  • Conceptual Rendering of BMW-Guggenheim Lab in Kreuzberg Vacant Lot

    A Defeat for Berlin’s BMW-Guggenheim Lab?

    As long as we’re revisiting topics from last August we can’t ignore last week’s big news that the BMW-Guggenheim Lab won’t be opening this coming May in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. Local activists mounted a vigorous campaign to stop the […]

  • Olympic Stadium, View from Hackney

    A Victory for London’s 99%?

    Last August we wondered, in the course of writing about the London riots, whether that city’s 2012 Olympic Games would live up to their billing as the “Regeneration Games” for the blighted East End where they’ll be located. Michael Powell, […]

  • 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 […]