So a few days of slacking and travel have added up to me being a bit behind on my e-reading and blogging. To remedy this situation, today's post will be a few bite-sized nuggets of info and links to a number of unconnected articles.
First item: I've heard about the Memphis riverfront redevelopment that the guys over at Project for Public Spaces are working on...several times, actually. And forgive me for criticizing a technically good project, but the whole thing just seems really tired. Like, "fountains, playgrounds, street vendors" is kind of...just...bleh. It's the same old stuff, rearranged on a new lot. It seems like the banks of the Mississipi deserve something more innovative. Perhaps an experiential playground like Chicago's Millennium Park?
Perhaps I'm just antsy after reading Josh Stephens' most recent post over at Interchange, the Planetizen blog. Stephens talks about a survey by Mercer Consulting in which the US's cities faired quite poorly in terms of quality of life, with none of our many, many cities breaking the top 25. I'm always very wary of rankings and statistics, but as Stephens points out, it's not the rankings but the fact "that hundreds of millions of Americans live, grow up, and toil in places that are less clean, less safe, less pleasant, less sociable, and less inspiring than counterparts around the globe" that's really disturbing.
Interchange has been lively lately, and another great post comes from Lance Freeman. Freeman saved me the trouble of writing a post I was planning for this coming week on congestion pricing by saying exactly what I was going to say (and he did a better job than I probably would have.) The argument: congestion pricing is bad for poor people. Go read it.
John over at A Daily Dose of Architecture has started a cool new thingy where he'll be quoting relevant pieces from his personal readings on architecture, urbanism, and the like. The first features this kind of amazing excerpt from Bill McKibbin's The Age of Missing Information about the role of the natural landscape as context for buildings and communities.
Finally, a quick shout-out for what I think is one of the best urbanism sites on the web. CEOs For Cities is a very cool organization whose membership list includes some very important people. Everything they do is fascinating, and the blog is a great read. Bookmark it, add it to your RSS, or do whatever it is that you crazy kids do these days. Just keep it on your radar. (I'm sure they'll be popping up again in this blog.) There are two recent posts on gentrification and urban immigration that are more than worth the time it takes to read them.
Ideas for riverfront flow at workshop (commercialappeal.com)
So Many Cities, So Much Mediocrity (Interchange)
The equity considerations of Congestion Pricing (Interchange)
Literary Dose #1 (Daily Dose of Architecture)
CEOs for Cities Blog