Posts Tagged ‘city planning’


Last week we had a new sidewalk poured out front of our house… and in it we spontaneously placed a little “love note”.  It almost didn’t happen though… as the concrete was setting pretty fast.    I expect this little gesture will last a few decades or more.    They city guys said it would be ok if we wanted to put our initials in the concrete…  but we thought this might be more fun.  Cynthia had a cookie cutter laying around… and I had the extra chain ring from bike I’d taken apart.  After this photo was taken we dyed the heart red…

What is it that gives a place charm?  Why are some cities memorable and others forgettable?   I think it has something to do with the tiniest of details.  This little art project would have never happened in a condominium development.  The CCandR’s would never allow it.  I would only happen in a place where the city officials and workers are allowed a bit of freedom to make a random decision.  The city guys in our case… made sure it was below the sidewalk such that folks won’t trip on it… and the bolts in it are sunk in about 4 inches… so it won’t come out.

I believe cities need policies written… to allow their workers to be creative like this every now and then.  To allow the citizens to make their own tiny little secret spontaneous art projects.  These things won’t happen if we involve the city leaders in every single one… that would only homogenize the end results.  It needs to be random… perhaps slightly controversial every now and then.

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My friend John Cutter, a bicycle designer and builder here in San Luis Obispo, sent me this link this am… about a new city being built in South Carolina… called Riverwalk.  It includes a huge outdoor velodrome, a very large BMX area, permanent criterium track, and all sorts of other outdoor activity related areas for the citizens to enjoy…

here is the blog post John sent…. from a blog called redkiteprayer.com

here is the link to the community website itself

It is a community built around outdoor activities… specifically cycling… but not exclusively.

Interesting stuff… dig in a bit.


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“Walkable City” is a fantastic new book by Jeff Speck on creating great cities and overcoming dated planning ideas.  For anyone interested in making more pedestrian, bicycle and transit oriented spaces it is a must read.  It is also a must read for anyone interested in what it takes to make your city “feel” better… or making places a better place to live.  Jeff Speck was a co-author of “suburban Nation” a few years back… also a great book.  I recommend this book to city council’s, bike/ped advocates, and city planners.

For more info:  http://jeffspeck.com

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This Streetfilms video makes a great case for physically separated Bike Lanes.

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