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Urban Planning

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Cool Firehouse Fence

Becky

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The title says it all. Check out this awesome custom iron fence in Boston’s Dudley Square neighborhood, outside the firehouse. Details on the firemen, such as their helmets, are historically accurate .While it doesn’t look too hard to breach this thing, it sure if fun to look at!

Learn more about the Dudley Square improvements.

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Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Art on Atlanta’s Beltline

Becky

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I have plans to take a little artwalk with a friend today on Atlanta’s Beltline. I was planning on bringing my camera, but it seems better photogs than I have been sharing their work so I thought I’d direct you to it as well. Here’s just a little sample of what’s going on during this early phase of Beltline construction:

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Thursday, August 11th, 2011

An Upside-Down High Line?

Becky

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I was cruising ASLA.org today, as I often do, and I was really interested in this article about the new esplanade underneath the elevated FDR Drive. They make the analogy to The High Line (one of my favorite projects/parks in the whole wide world), describing the way the new project uses the space beneath the elevated highway. All of this makes me wonder, as I always have, how different the results (and preceding hellish construction that went on for what seemed like forever) of Boston’s Big Dig could have been if this precedent in NYC had already existed, or if the planners and politicians had simply looked at the project differently. The main excuse for The Big Dig (which tied up most of the country’s federal highway funds for years) was that Boston was cut off from its waterfront due to the elevated highway. However, anyone who ever walked from Faneuil Hall to Rowe’s Wharf back in the day knows, the waterfront clearly was not cut off by the highway at all; in fact, it was very easy to walk beneath it. The waterfront area had already revitalized itself long before The Big Dig came along. And you know what? I miss driving through buildings on an elevated highway at 50 m.p.h. – it was pretty awesome. Now we have to drive through this thing, where we hold our collective breath and hope no concrete slabs fall from the ceiling and crush us:

Anyway, this Manhattan promenade looks like a cool project. I always tend to like any project that involves Ken Smith, who had my class over to his office, gave us beers, and strolled across the Brooklyn Bridge with us in 1999. I’ll never forget that the walls of the office were covered in bubble wrap, and wondered how his employees could resist popping them all day. I’ll also never forget that he was playing some kind of weird gong music, and my friend Lucia whispered to me “this is my favorite song” and I got an uncontrollable case of the giggles (the laughing in church, wet your pants kind of giggles). But I digress. In fact, I just had deja-blog, which means I think I write that story every time I mention Ken Smith’s name. Click on that link above and check out the article; there are some great images there. And let me know what you think of The Big Dig, the East River promenade, and The High Line if you have a second. I’d love to hear from you.

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Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Oh, You Know I’m Kinda Obsessed with Detroit…LOVE THIS!

Becky

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Message Received Detroit. I love to keep track of what’s going on there, but the commercial is right, I don’t know Detroit. I haven’t been there since my 7th grade field trip to Greenfield Village, well, unless you count flying in and immediately jumping in a rental car and going to  Ann Arbor thirteen years ago, which I don’t. This commercial gives me so many goosebumps it actually almost makes me want to buy a Chrysler, and ahhh, tell ‘em Lee Iaccoca sent me. At the very least, it made me put 8 Mile in my Netflix queue, put on some Eminem (hope the city comes back like he has), and oh, it also makes me want to pull out my Chapelle DVDs and watch the one where he raps “Jokes and jokes and jokes and spaghetti…8 MILE!”

P.S. Does anyone know if the murals they show during the beginning are by the same artist who did the murals in Cincinnati’s amazing Art Deco Union Terminal (some of which are now in the Cincinnati airport)?

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Saturday, August 7th, 2010

More Detroit Developments

Becky

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Am I boring you with my current fascination with Detroit? I just think it’s going to be such an interesting city to follow, and I’ve been soaking in every article I come across about what people are doing to redesign it and help its recovery. The latest article I read was in The New York Times this week, and it chronicled what a community of artists are doing to help the city, including selling off square inches of property to help create a feeling of ownership, however small. When artists start to flock to an area, it’s always the first sign of improvement. There’s a sense of a new wave of Robert Smithson types with a penchant for industrial landscapes. Is the next step for Christo to wrap it all up in a bright color? Will Todd Selby* be heading there to photograph these artists at home? It’s going to be really fun to watch. Check out the article here.

*Speaking of The Times and Todd Selby, there was a great feature on him this week. Check it out here.

Image by Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times. There’s a great slideshow of ten of his photographs here. The caption for the image above reads “Ms. Michael bought her house, left, with green trim, for $10,000. Artists and activists have rescued this leafy block from blight.” In addition, Ms. Bridget Michael is hoping to turn her second floor into a long term visiting artists’ residence, and it’s currently occupied.

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