All posts filed under: places

from the archives: kobenhavn

Copenhagen/Kobenhavn is known throughout the world as a model for urban living.  And how.  A mix of scales, public spaces, excellent public transportation and lots of beautiful people on bikes, beautiful waterways, and a gorgeous host of architecture from 17th century to uber-contemporary…all of these attributes make for an incredible city to visit and, I’m sure, live in.  Feast your eyes on some photos of what I think makes Copenhagen seem imminently livable.  What do you think?

local food traditions

Today I want to talk about food.  Okay, I always want to talk about food, but today I have a specific topic. I write a lot on this blog about cultural resources and recognizing community assets, and this past summer I got to thinking a lot about everyone’s favorite asset, food.  And more specifically, local food traditions that are profoundly seasonal and place-based, that make a big part of understanding life wherever we are.  We talk a lot these days about obesity, packaged food, industrial food system contamination, and the problems of factory animal farming, and I think it’s important to keep in mind all of the incredible local, cultural food traditions that we all do still enjoy and engage in our daily lives.  So, I want to share a little bit about my experience with New England’s food traditions, which I spent a lot of time thinking about (and enjoying) this past summer. Please share in comments food traditions in your own area that you love! Ok, well you can’t talk about New England …

every city should have a city museum (guest post)

< this post is by my good friend Alex Reisman, whom I asked to share her thoughts about st. louis with us.  enjoy her incredible photos and this first of several entries! > Diana has invited me to write a little bit about St. Louis. I went to college there and recently returned for a six-week internship at the venerable community development corporation and mouthful Old North St. Louis Restoration Group. I feel uncharacteristically religious about St. Louis. Evangelical about its patent potential. If you walk around downtown and many neighborhoods, you might declare, as a visitor of mine did, that “it feels so empty.” But spend some time in the subtext of St. Louis and you would find that the city is in fact—to borrow a friend’s favorite word in college—rife. There are exquisite details everywhere, crumbling buildings to be restored, old mistakes to be avoided, and dire legacies of racism and economic hardship from which to recover. To a large degree, St. Louis’ redemption is and will be in the salvage of its …

ruins: urban, colonial, eternal.

I’ve written before about ruins in Detroit as that city confronts the challenges of urban abandonment.  Today I want to revisit ruins, and once again I’ll try to restrain myself from talking too much about Ruskin, the picturesque, and the patina of decay.  Because how we deal with ruins in our communities is a very practical question, as the city of Detroit shows.  When do you choose abandonment over rehabilitation?  What does it say about your sense of past, and future, when you choose to revere or ignore ruined buildings?  What stories do you tell when historic buildings are maintained, and what do you tell when they break down?  And finally, how do you build a new society, or continue to develop an existing one, in the context of previous narratives of abandonment and decay? I first started thinking about ruins when I visited my friend Alex in St. Louis last month.  She was interning for Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, a redevelopment organization that uses preservation and community history as the foundation of …

a visit to charleston, south carolina

Well, probably at least two lousy posts.  As you might have guessed, last month I took a trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  It was four days of straight-up historic preservation and urban planning geekery, and I now have a final paper on historic districts and zoning and how the two struggle to manage growth in this historic city. What do I mean, you ask?  I’m so glad you did.  Charleston has the distinction of being the first city to pass a Historic District Ordinance, in 1931.  Faced with a crisis of historic building demolition in the wake of the Depression, and an economy destroyed by the Civil War, Charleston began to consider how they could preserve their precious historic resources and promote recovery at the same time.  Land-use Zoning was still a very new concept at this time, but Charleston went at it full-force, creating a Board of Architectural Review (BAR) to review changes to building facades in the designated historic district.  Since that time, the district has expanded, as has the power of the …