The Balrog on our Bridge

For a short time my ex wife rented a room in a McMansion in Westfield, Massachusetts. When I would drop off or pick up my daughters to visit her they would enter this enormous house with a huge lawyer foyer and entryway chandelier…through the garage. The anomalies of the topography made seeing any part of

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How Much Would You Pay?

The trade offs, the opportunity costs of our decisions are front and center for those people who live the examined life. I choose affordable, walkable, beautiful urbanity and the trade off is living in a poor neighborhood with all that entails. The only way for me to alter the equation would be for me to

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Recognizing Good Urbanism

Walking through the neighborhood to help a friend celebrate 40 years in his home we walked through the Quadrangle: And then down Elliot Street where LuLu said: “I want to live on this street. It just makes me…happy.” Jane Jacobs eat your heart out!

What, me? No.

This post is not about football. In the mid 1970’s there was one Patriots fan at Forest Park Junior High in Springfield, Massachusetts, and that was me. There were Steelers fans, and Cowboys fans, and Dolphins fans, and Giants fans, and even one Baltimore Colts fan (my best friend, Mike Surrette), but being a New

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The Burning Questions

What Strongtowns does to communicate important ideas about resilience at the level of the community, PeakProsperity does for the individual. I could not recommend more highly the updated Crash Course for understanding what to do as an individual to prepare for the future. What makes my involvement with the site problematic is the core level

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Micronutrient Pornography

The unusually heavy sudden mid-March snowfall forced me to change my walking patterns around the neighborhood this week and reminded me of one thing: I live in an astonishingly beautiful place. The buildings, constructed of natural materials at a time when construction and decoration still viewed coherence and integrity as a primary aim, created a

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What is the Lesson

What is it that makes Hartford such a troubled place? My seeming to pick on Connecticut’s capital could seem a bit hypocritical given how I feel about those who express similar feelings about Springfield, but I don’t mean it as a condemnation or as a call to flee the city, I intend it as an

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Yin and Yang

I had a brief Miss Emily Litella moment this week when I saw the final plans for the Stearns Square renovation; stories were released on two media outlets with somewhat blurry pictures of the design and I was unable to read much of what I saw and, it turns out, I was also unable to

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Standing in the Way of Progress

Sometimes we answer the question we’re asked when what we ought to do is answer one that is completely different. What to change about the media? That’s beyond quixotic. Looking at the introductory page of this very website what I recall is that this effort is not about altering what’s said by the media about

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Notice Us!

What do you do when you’re a smallish New England city and you just can’t screw up big enough to make it on to James Howard Kunstler’s Eyesore of the Month with architectural stunts like this: You attach these: To your misplaced (Main Street) poorly designed (no street level pedestrian interest) parking garage: C’mon Jimbo,

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