Durable Growth

The Planners: Preserving English heritage

London street

I’ve previous written thrice about the BBC show “The Planners”, here, here, and here. With today being Boxing Day, with the afterglow of Christmas still lingering, and with further family activities perhaps still planned, it seems a good day to return to “The Planners”. At least, it seems like a better idea […]

Durable Growth, Government

Saving the good stuff

Historic building in Saratoga Springs, New York

A few months back, the Petaluma Planning Commission was forced to make a regrettable decision about a building for which the community had great fondness. The French Laundry was a well-known and photogenic landmark on the west side of town, with a history that extended far back […]

Durable Growth

Historic preservation versus demolition: Insights from case histories

Scerri House

Three months ago, I offered my thoughts about historic preservation in urban settings. I’m generally supportive of preservation as long as the structures or places being preserved are consistent with a coherent vision of urban vitality. Spending a few days in Buffalo at CNU 22, surrounded by outstanding buildings from an earlier […]

Durable Growth

Thoughtful balancing better than rigid rules

Building in downtown Saratoga Springs, New York

My last three posts might have projected a curmudgeonly air. I didn’t feel curmudgeonly when writing them. But when I read back over them, I realize that I may have come across as grumpy by challenging the civic value of some parks, by suggesting that the environmental […]

Durable Growth

Historic preservation in a 21st century city

Alder Grove

As someone who cherishes the feel and walkability of a historic downtown, it’s reasonable to expect that I also embrace historic preservation. To a large extent, that expectation is correct. But there are times when I find that historic preservation goes awry.

The Marina Vista and Alder Grove public housing projects are […]

Durable Growth

Finding ways for history to accommodate urbanism

Arc Light Building

I love a good historical building. I enjoy looking at the craftsmanship and building materials from a long-ago time. I delight in contemplating the human events that have transpired since a building was constructed. There’s something thrilling about resting a hand on a brick that was mortared into place when Chester […]

Durable Growth

Historic downtowns needn’t be museums

Historic Lodi Gateway

Perhaps the most surprising discovery during my peripatetic spring was downtown Lodi. I’d heard rumors that Lodi had a historical downtown with a good sprinkling of retail and restaurant activity, but I hadn’t expected to feel as immediately comfortable as I did.

The downtown is approximately two blocks wide by five […]