Category Archives: Urbanism and planning

Plymouth after World War II

Mark Motte, author with Francis Leazes of Providence: The Renaissance City, urged me to view an old documentary on video called “How We Live Now,” filmed in 1946, about the effort to rebuild Plymouth, the most heavily bombed city per … Continue reading

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Fine wrinkles on Alexander

Some very interesting commenters have responded to my post “Chris Alexander’s cosmos.” The title of Alexander’s most celebrated book, A Pattern Language, spoke so directly in a mere three words to my nascent views on architecture long, long ago that … Continue reading

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My Jane’s Walk this Saturday

My fourth Jane’s Walk tour of the waterfront along the Providence River takes place at 4 p.m. this Saturday, May 5. We will meet at the Crawford Street Bridge near Hemenways in the Rubik’s Cube and stroll north, heading west … Continue reading

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Före och efter lådmodernism

“Stockholm före och efter lådmodernism” – “Stockholm before and after modernism” – displays the deadly effect on the urban fabric of the Klara district of Sweden’s capital city after decades of urban renewal and modern architecture. Except for the lonely … Continue reading

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The sinister self-driving car

The Atlantic has a very interesting article, “How Self-Driving Cars Will Threaten Privacy,” by Adrienne LaFrance. It actually ran a couple of years ago, and looks forward to the convenience of life with a self-driving car. The car will listen … Continue reading

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Jewelry District dejewelled

The image above recently landed in my online mailbox atop an invitation from the Jewelry District Association to attend a groundbreaking for River House, the two leftmost buildings. The third, at right, is the decommissioned South Street Station power plant, … Continue reading

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Jan Gehl’s misplacemaking

ArchDaily has interviewed Jan Gehl, the noted Danish designer and theorist of placemaking. The article, “In the last 50 years, architects have forgotten what a good human scale is,” suggests that Gehl’s thinking, for all its merit, has not truly … Continue reading

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Kunstler vs. infinite suburbia

James Howard Kunstler, best known for his 1993 book The Geography of Nowhere, which condemns suburbia, may be the hardest urban policy analyst to pigeonhole ideologically. Anyhow, I revere Kunstler not for his supposed nonpartisanship but for his coinership of … Continue reading

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Hometown honey in ol’ D.C.

I grew up along a somewhat downscale edge of the upscale Washington neighborhood of Cleveland Park. The Bureau of Standards was nearby, and so was WTTG Channel 5, a local TV station. Our house, a relatively plain but lovable semi-detached, … Continue reading

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Brief interlude at the DNA

When I was “Dr. Downtown” – my nom de plume at the Providence Journal – I was there at the creation of the Downtown Neighborhood Alliance, which met at the Regency under the presidency of my friend Maria Ruggieri, the … Continue reading

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