Goodbye Seventies

The 70’s were a testament to the triumph of engineering over artistry. It’s not just that Main Street was ugly; parks were ugly for goodness sake. Even a child could see that decisions were being made expeditiously, and practically, but with no thought whatsoever given to aesthetics. Chain link fence was the order of the

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There’s affordable, and then there’s affordable

Yesterday my morning started, as weekends often do, with a little writing, some coffee, and then a conversation with my wife. Usually I bore her a bit with the topics which have sprung to mind as I write and then we turn to discussions of family, friends, finances, and our plans for the weekend. Yesterday

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The Future Is Not Now

Definitions in the world of urbanism are amorphous at best. The word “city” itself is a very good example. We make judgements based on the population, economic output, crime, and numerous other things relative to the boundaries of a given city. These are the numerators, if you will. But these cities range in geographic size

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The 9th (or 10th) Commandment

I was the Community Liaison for the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association and we were engaged in an effort to beautify the neighborhood. I spent a lot of hours picking up trash in parks and on sidewalks and our executive board leveraged some services from the park department and the Business Improvement District to hang baskets of

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This Is Part Two

You’ve probably noticed something of a trend in my recent essays. I’ve never had much patience for dogma. To me, flip-flopping, or in other words changing strategies when the old ones aren’t working, just makes sense. I’ve spent much of the last 40 years not just thinking about, but working towards improving what has become

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Wrong Again

What do you call it if you feel schadenfreude for yourself? Suischadenfreude?  Years ago I was reading on all of the usual platforms the celebration of the Great Inversion: America’s return to the city. I wrote a piece on how my anecdotal evidence showed no such transition; Millennials, my former students, were all posting pictures

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The River Gods

As compensation for spending time at the beach my wife and I will make sure to hit a used book store nearby. Down on the Connecticut shoreline the best one is the Book Barn in Niantic; a house, a few outbuildings, dozens of kiosks, a basketball hoop, animals, some benches and a huge collection of

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Irredentist Happiness

I often tell my students as they prepare to attend college to be ready, if they meet students from Hispano America, to hear very strong opinions expressed about the United States. This often catches young people by surprise as they have gone about their everyday lives and given very little thought to Bolovia, Perú, Nicaragua,

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Rational Views

I watched this interview with Jeff Speck the day after it took place. It’s rare that I would consider myself ahead of two of the people whose thoughts I have so frequently repurposed here on my blog, but such was the sensation I got from this conversation. I’ve never believed that suburbia was reformable, or

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Crime and Graduation

Having written so much about crime, and education on this blog in its first few years of existence I rarely return to them as topics. Sometimes contemporary events and their reporting cause me to return to them in order to remind readers, and myself, of what the most significant issues are.  Starting with crime and

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