A Place for Silent Sam

Forty feet tall, dulled from age, the statue of a uniformed young man strides forward from his stone plinth. His face is resolute. He carries a rifle held with two hands, at the ready, though he carries no ammunition box on his belt. In brass relief on his granite base, the same young man sits with a book open in his hands. A tall, robed … Continue reading A Place for Silent Sam

A Look at Pyongyang’s Placemaking in Metro Stations

We are all on the edge of our seats waiting for the Triangle’s light rail to start making tracks. But where will its course lie? What cities will be graced with a stop? And what will it look like? Let’s look to a far off and distant land yet one near in Northern nomenclature to gain inspiration for this new transit infrastructure. Few tourists are … Continue reading A Look at Pyongyang’s Placemaking in Metro Stations

Ravelejar: The Art of Neighborhood Branding (4/4)

Part 4: Defining Ravalejar, Redefining El Raval Public art and monuments function to institutionalize the memories of a city. It has been argued that certain monuments in Barcelona seek to maintain  social order by imposing a historical logic over space: one that is imperialist, masculine, and fixed. However, the public art project and branding campaign known as “Ravalejar”, which took place in the neighborhood of … Continue reading Ravelejar: The Art of Neighborhood Branding (4/4)

Art as An Economic Mobilizer in the Carolinas

Arts and culture have become widely accepted instruments for economic development and revitalization. Coming into public consciousness perhaps most recognizably in the work of Richard Florida and his theories of building, or rebuilding, a city around the creative class. Nebulous as they are, arts and culture are the protean intangibles in many urban planning projects, sought after to attract well-educated, mobile citizens. One form of … Continue reading Art as An Economic Mobilizer in the Carolinas

Placemaking, Underground: BART to Revitalize all 44 Stations

This article is adapted from a piece originally published by Rachel Wexler and Rachel Dinno Taylor in San Francisco Planning and Urban Research’s [SPUR] journal The Urbanist, on May 11 2015. Transit hubs are often massive, and massively underutilized, public spaces. Take for example the Bay Area Rapid Transit [BART] and San Francisco Muni Metro systems. Nearly 500,000 riders traipse the drab halls of these transit stations, heads down … Continue reading Placemaking, Underground: BART to Revitalize all 44 Stations

Ravelejar: The Art of Neighborhood Branding (3/4)

Part 3: Balancing Neighborhood Character and Tourism Part 1 of this series (“The Barcelona Model”) was published on this site on September 30, 2015. Part 2  (“Constructing the Mythology of Barrio Chino”) was published  on October 17, 2015. In 2002, several public and private entities in Barcelona came together to form a new community organization called Tot Raval (“all of El Raval”). The formation of Tot Ravel … Continue reading Ravelejar: The Art of Neighborhood Branding (3/4)

Our 22 Mile Thanksgiving Table

This post originally appeared on Ryan Gravel’s Blog on November 26 2014 With the undeniable success of the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail and [last] November’s groundbreaking of the long-anticipated Westside Trail, we have much to be thankful for. Of course behind the smiles, hugs, tweets and posts, and behind our lifting economy and improving quality-of-life, we still have challenges ahead to make sure that everyone … Continue reading Our 22 Mile Thanksgiving Table

Rural “Boomers” Use Design to Support a Multi-Generational Gathering Place

Seniors who live in in rural places face a tension between a desire to age in their original homes and the challenge of accessing continued enrichment and connections to community. However, seniors who live in the small town of Milton, Wisconsin, do not have to choose between their rural lifestyle and social opportunities.  Milton’s The Gathering Place is a non-profit, member-driven senior activity center where … Continue reading Rural “Boomers” Use Design to Support a Multi-Generational Gathering Place

Public Space and Conscious Design: A Case Study

Think of your favorite public space. It could be the park near your childhood home. It might be the waterfront promenade where you run, or walk, or ride your bike at sunset. Perhaps it’s a busy downtown street. Now consider: what is it about this particular space that makes you happy? That makes you feel safe, comfortable, welcome, at home? It is likely that your … Continue reading Public Space and Conscious Design: A Case Study

Say No to Style: Community Oriented Architecture

Consider Roman arches. Arches were used in the Roman Empire because the form allowed structures to pass weight from above to below using fewer materials. The arch was so efficient that it spread throughout the Empire and became a defining characteristic of the Imperial style. Its use was, as a result, a reflection of the empire’s technical prowess and cultural values. In contrast, medieval Romanesque architecture … Continue reading Say No to Style: Community Oriented Architecture