So, last year I wrote a piece bemoaning the destruction of a forest across the street from my then-apartment building. I had a front row seat to the entire ugly, and somewhat fascinating process of residential development. In that case, 4 1/2 acres of mostly tulip poplar trees were toppled to build an apartment complex. … Continue reading The McMansion Isn’t Dead
So many of the people I met in my college years have gone onto do really interesting things in the environmental field. As a fellow "humanities" environmentalist (we were the ones painting and writing nature while the scientists that made up the bulk of our environmental institute were pulling critters from rivers and looking through … Continue reading Q&A with Landscape Architecture Graduate Lacey Doucet
As we approach Halloween, I'm reminded that there are few things spookier than a dead mall. My family's got one in their town. I have memories of that place bustling with colors and activity when I was a kid - the shop with ridiculously large decorated cookies on display, PacSun with its racks of sunglasses so incongruous with … Continue reading Repairing Downtowns with Kennedy Lawson Smith
I haven't found a site that provides more visual food for thought on the future of urban planning than the vintage photo collection at Shorpy. Just take a look at their large collection of cityscape photos from the early 20th century. How did we fall for the bait and switch that had us losing all these brilliant streetcar networks in the US? And … Continue reading The Past and Future of Planning
I know I live in a community because on a Friday night it takes me 45 minutes and two beers to get from the parking lot to my front door. - Trudeslund resident quoted in Creating Cohousing. Nearly two decades after the show ended, I still find myself referencing moments from Northern Exposure. In an … Continue reading Book Review: Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities
My mom gets lost every time she drives to my sister’s house in Sterling Heights, MI. We were running late driving there yesterday, stuck in construction traffic on Mound Rd, driving around my sister’s neighborhood trying to figure out where her street was (my parents, lifelong residents of the Detroit Metro region, haven’t considered buying a … Continue reading Where Art Thou, Sterling Heights?
Beautiful abandoned buildings can break your heart. Often carefully crafted in a more sturdy age, they serve as reminders of our failure to reach collective dreams. But it’s not necessary to abandon buildings if they can be creatively reworked into new economic and cultural environments. Two of my favorite examples are in Baltimore and Detroit: … Continue reading Giving Old Buildings New Life