A Tale of Two Cities

Funny about writing styles.  They either inform, entertain, or put up a barrier.  Some styles make a connection between reader and writer.  Others are bloodless. Three new and important books about cities may illustrate this point.  Once in a Great City A Detroit Story is by journalist David Maraniss.  Beyond Rust Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the […]

Read More

An Unsavory Lot

If only I’d known Michelle Daley and Chris Rissel a few years back, I could have saved them some time and money. They studied whether images of cycling promoted or discouraged cycling. They must have stopped the presses at the journal “Transport Policy” in which the researchers’ wrote that “[b]icycle couriers were viewed least favourably.” […]

Read More

Transit blues

“Are you going to cash your welfare check?” asked my dear friends in a western Canadian city when I told them I’d be arriving at their house party by cab. You see cabs are only for the very poor who manage their money and time poorly. But for me, I don’t want to navigate unfamiliar […]

Read More

Sketch Comedy

There is an unresolved debate about how much of urban planning or architecture is sociology and how much is science. What’s lost in this debate is that both may contain a little more sketch comedy and Vaudeville than imagined. In the UK, it’s more Music Hall traditions. Here’s an example. Edinburgh’s tram is hundreds of […]

Read More

The 60’s Then and Now

There were a lot of divides in the 1960s. In fact, the 1960s probably didn’t really begin in 1960. Eisenhower was president until January 20, 1961 and he brought the 50s with him. In Canada Prime Ministers Diefenbaker and Pearson both looked like they were from a bygone era. Dief was a prairie populist, distrusting […]

Read More

Cereal Cafe

I once had long discussions in Berlin with a Trotskyite who had defected during the Cold War from the west to the old Soviet Union because he thought the USSR wasn’t communist enough. Interesting guy. He’d made a fortune by buying up Soviet era movie posted and selling them. This is an extreme version of […]

Read More