Candide

A few months ago one of my readers from Chicago was planning to be in the Northeast for a few days and contacted me to ask what I might recommend he do in Springfield to get to know the place. He and his family ended up stopping by the house and we had a wonderful

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The One Eyed Man Is King

What makes one an urbanist in one place may not make one an urbanist in another. The Superstar cities have hordes of trained professionals opining on their every bike lane and subway stop. Is the font on our trolley signage consistent with the hoppiness of our most famous I.P.A.? Will the arrival of Whole Foods

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Outer Darkness

45 years ago a kid named Richard Johnson moved from this area to what I can still recall to this day was an address which ended “Oregon Side, Weiser Idaho”. It’s a memorable address. To me, the Oregon Side of Weiser, Idaho should probably be Weiser, Oregon, right? I’m sure it made sense to a

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Red in Tooth and Claw

Six years on it might be easy to lose sight of the original purpose behind the creation of this website: to address topics related to cities that aren’t Superstar cities in ways that don’t just adhere to the narrative of urban pathology, to separate mistaken perspectives from real challenges so as to confront them. I

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Urban Calvinism

One of the maps I’ve seen dividing the United States into separate regions puts Springfield into the category of “recovered” or “revitalized” Rust Belt city. The study whose data created the map is a year old, and came from data covering the years before that. The takeaway from the report was that location was by

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The Hunt for Springfield

There were two tomes I took to Brigham Young University every autumn: Clyde Smith’s New England and his Enchantment of New England photo books. The trees, the green grass, the rolling hills, and the mountains of my little corner of the world reminded me that there was life on this planet, even if very little

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Parking

Just some precious nuggets of wisdom I was fortunate enough to overhear in the discussion regarding the future of a certain downtown parcel. Seriously. 1)Although some people say that downtown has enough parking, on some nights “the only people downtown are the ones citing visitors for parking illegally.” This is the Russian nesting doll of

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Up With the Good, Down With the bad

I was 18 and I had never flown before. My parents had taken me to over 40 of the contiguous United States, but every mile had been by car. Heck, only once had we stayed in a hotel and that was because of a hurricane which was about to strike the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In

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The Wild Ones

A trip to The Drama Studio on Oakland Street from my home on the edge of downtown can be a history lesson if you know what you are seeing as you go by. My brother used to walk to his job with Social Security along much the same route in the 1970’s. You can’t avoid

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A Polyresin Fountain of a Place

Last weekend was all about the outdoors and food. The annual pancake breakfast celebrating the founding of Springfield in 1636 got us up and out the door before 8 a.m. in order to beat the rain. It was great to see the usual cast of characters, from the mayor to an eccentric local we call

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