Category Archives: Cities & Urban Planning

Only In New York: Capital Mistakes in Density

In the past ten years, even the most idealistic planner has become inured to the rampant densification of already jam-packed areas in cities like New York. It’s been the trend du jour– nay, du décennie, even- to knock down even … Continue reading

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What About Rochester: Toward More Geographical Diversity in a New Year

One of the missions for Handbuilt is to get people to think outside the box. I got into this “career” field accidentally because I was curious about why things were done a certain way– badly, in my opinion- and it … Continue reading

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A Literal Train Wreck Makes A Case For Resilient Infrastructure

A train derailment yesterday morning in Southwest Detroit knocked down a power line, leaving about a thousand residential and commercial DTE Energy customers without electricity and internet for about eight hours. It is unclear what caused the derailment of the … Continue reading

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Lansing Field Trip: Michigan Public Service Commission

Today marked my quarterly pilgrimage to the great center of Mitten-power, that is, Lansing, Michigan. I go up every few months for the Energy Waste Reduction work group meeting. The EWR committee is convened by the Michigan Public Service Commission … Continue reading

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Canada Trip V – Struggles of Canadian Ascendancy

It’s easy to go from the decaying infrastructure of a city like Detroit to a cleaner, more prosperous city like Toronto. One is astonished by the functionality of the city. Storefronts are occupied! Buildings are being built! There are streetcars … Continue reading

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A Mayor Should Create Value, Not Refinance The Lack Of It

Mike Duggan’s latest proposal to “eliminate blight” includes a proposed $250 million bond issue to finance his ongoing demolition program, which has run out of HUD Hardest-Hit funds.  At issue is not the feasibility of the issue itself, but whether … Continue reading

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Sorry, Tim– Pocket Change Can’t Fix Suburbia.

Apple just announced that it’s committing a bunch of money to housing development in the Bay Area. That’s good, right?! The principal element of the $2.5 billion package is a $1 billion line of credit. $1 billion will also be … Continue reading

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Greening Sprawl and The Limits of Incrementalism

Often, when I get excited about a discussion about sustainable urbanism or green building, the projects in question turn out to be, well, lackluster. I joke that New Urbanism is about designing sprawling strip malls where the parking lots are … Continue reading

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Monopolies Kill My Dreams Of Better Things

Today a DTE representative uttered probably the least inspiring words that one can ever hear in a volunteer workgroup meeting. “We looked into that,” Mr. Randazzo said, “and we determined that it would be too expensive.” The place was Walker-Miller … Continue reading

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Canada Trip IV – Toronto’s Vertical Suburbs

There is this old chestnut in the right wing media echo chamber that goes something like this: “Capitalism provides variety! People like variety! Socialism will limit variety!” Making the rounds these past couple of weeks is a photo of a … Continue reading

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