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Towards Canine Equity in the City

Now is the time for the urban dog.One of the most immediate cultural distinctions a traveler notices in France is omnipresent, well-behaved dogs, often quite unlike their detached American cousins (perhaps including my own). In a matter of a few...

Posted November 25, 2014    

Using 'Plot-Based Urbanism' to Reclaim the Basic Unit of the City

BackgroundIn recent years, urbanists have decried suburban developments on large greenfield properties in favor of a return to diverse, close grain urban fabrics. This granular form of development once served as the foundation for pre-automobile...

Posted November 19, 2014    

On Learning from Urban Immersion

How we experience purchases of coffee and baked goods may sound fairly trivial, and elitist. But, based on my current immersion in the south of France, I have come to think these simple interactions offer valuable lessons for how to live in...

Posted November 17, 2014    

Exploring Mixed Use and the Human Dimension

On a walk from Fréjus to Saint-Raphaël last week, an elderly man asked us, in French, why I had just taken a photograph of his house. I offered to erase the photograph, which was intended to show, in modern urbanist visual language, the delight of a...

Posted November 13, 2014    

The Once and Future Street, and How it Defines Us

A week’s residency in Glasgow, Scotland returns a 2011 essay to the forefront, and its message: In the post-freeway world, recall the important, organic landscape of neighborhood, towers and spires, lost before we can remember. Among the more...

Posted November 3, 2014    

Housing, Politics, and a Basic Pride of Place

Fifth in an illustrated series about place-decoding from the South of France. What do the politics of urban housing have to do with a seasonal caravan park in Provence? For me, the answer is clear. Our political discussions, mired in jargon and...

Posted October 27, 2014    

Why the 'Finesse of the Avenue' is What Cities Need

Fourth in an illustrated series about place-decoding from the South of France. The Finesse of the AvenueLast month in Cassis, the Avenue Victor Hugo told the stories surrounding its pavement and curbs. People walked the Avenue,...

Posted October 7, 2014    

'Inevitably Urban' and the Role of the People

Inevitable Urban TimesThese times seem so inevitably urban.  Of course, my wry remark comes from a city-dweller in a post-recessionary Seattle, where new construction appears at every turn.Here, civic dialogue focuses on the social...

Posted September 30, 2014    

Decoding the Place Between Places

Third in an illustrated series about place-decoding from the South of France.Today, many promote urban walkability, but for several years, I have focused on inter-urban, or, even inter-settlement walkability. Strolls through such “...

Posted September 22, 2014    

Public Space in Motion, from Nice, France [VIDEO]

On Saturday, September 13, the 2014 multi-day (and always provocative) Seattle Design Festival features a “Public Space in Motion” panel.Here, almost live from France, is the panel’s opening presentation:

Posted September 17, 2014    

The Option of Sensing the City

Second in an illustrated series about place-decoding from the South of France.How do we decipher this story of port-side people, buildings, and who lives where? Which senses are key?Place Decoding: Moving Beyond the Directed...

Posted September 15, 2014    

Place-Decoding the Elements of Urbanism

First in a series of illustrated ruminations from the South of France.According to the New York Times‘ Roger Cohen, France is struggling with changing times, including how perception of classic physical space is evolving as the role of cyberspace...

Posted September 3, 2014