Posted by – August 1, 2013
In 2010—with “six postcards not to send to an urbanist“—I began a series of entries with often ironic messages about urbanist trends.
Three years later, in the era of activated alleys and reclaimed, underused urban space, it’s time to try again.
The above photograph would have had little significance to city dwellers of old. Plain and simple, the alley was closed. Today, however, in the era of active alley spaces, social events and renewed, scaled retail venues, a dedicated urbanist might ask, with emotion, “but why”?
Such are the ironies of new connotations in a changing world.
Posted by – January 22, 2013
I find that often, an excess of verbiage in a blog post detracts from an urban image. In cases where a natural setting blends with the built environment, the best summation is within the reader’s review and contemplation.
So, I will offer just one observation: Even without a devastating storm, our structures are easily overshadowed by daily expressions of climate nearby.
Image composed by the author. Click on image for more detail. © 2009-2013 myurbanist. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy.
Posted by – January 20, 2013
Nothing has become more symbolic of city resurgence than hybrid “third place” venues, where in neighborhood settings, social and work lives merge by both night and day.
For me, this assertion is most interesting with illustrated detail. Photographs, I learned, tend to emphasize not only social activity and technological tools, but also the relationships of each to the city– visible through windows nearby.
Consider the three Seattle portrayals below. All show the merger of a public/private venue, technology and neighborhood from vantage points located both without and within.
Images of Seattle, Washington composed by the author. Click on each image for more detail. © 2009-2013 myurbanist. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy.
Posted by – January 2, 2013
Convenient angles of view in the city present legible messages, with existing materials, without the need for more.
In this case, an eager urbanist can stand in one place, and read the very words he desires.
No graffiti required.
Image composed by the author. Click on the image for more detail.
Posted by – April 15, 2012
When the truck moves into the store….
Photograph by the author. Click on image for more detail.
Posted by – December 1, 2011
From time to time, a single image captures the look and feel of city life, and successfully depicts an urban place where people come together.
This morning, I had the opportunity on the “Place Matters” radio show to explain the role of photography in placemaking, as a tool to better define the personal, contextual experience of a neighborhood or city venue.
The interior scenes of “the three B’s”—barbershops, bars and billiards—often mean as much as the magic of street and square when portraying the personal interactions of cities, towns and neighborhood.
To me, this proposition demands an example, and the photo above portrays such an interior space within a dense urban neighborhood after midnight.
As I wrote last summer about the closures of Borders bookstores, such imagery says more than is apparent at first glance about how local, sustainable “third places” foster the spirit of human collaboration.
Photograph composed by the author.
It appears that a reduction in the size of residential basketball courts and equipment goes hand in hand with emerging compact transportation modes.