Category Archives: Urbanism and planning

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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“In the Modern tradition …”

Here is some more from High Rise, by Jerry Adler, a description of the process of erecting a skyscraper in Manhattan during the 1980s. Here Adler describes the design philosophy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – the modern era’s McKim, … Continue reading

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A new Kennedy Plaza plan

A new plan for Kennedy Plaza is described in this morning’s Providence Journal. “Kennedy Plaza plan envisions ‘true civic heart’,” by Donita Naylor and Jacqueline Tempera, describes a proposal that makes a lot of sense. It does not seem to … Continue reading

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History survives in Houston

For many people, I suppose, Houston brings to mind tall glass towers sitting cheek by jowl with small gas stations and grandfathered (if not exactly grandfatherly) shops. Its historic character was submerged long before Hurricane Harvey. Zoning is a free-for-all … Continue reading

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