Category Archives: Cities

The Architecture of Urbanism: Windows

I enjoyed presenting this brief lecture at the 24th Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) on the panel discussion “Architecture of Urbanism,” along with panelists Vinayak Bharne, Gary Brewer, Ellen Dunham-Jones, John Massengale, Steve Mouzon, Stefanos Polyzoides, Dan Solomon, Paddy Steinschneider, Galina Tachieva, and Samir Younés.

The panelists examined the specific means by which architecture, one building at a time, forms the urbanism of a place. The issue of the role of architecture and architectural style and character has been a long-running debate in the CNU.

The Congress for the New Urbanism is an international nonprofit organization working to build vibrant communities where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, and get around. For more information see


Place Matters: Tradition in the American West

Next week, I am honored to be presenting a lecture at the Seminario Internacional Arquitectura y Humanismo being held at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in conjunction with the Premio Rafael Manzano Martos. I will be presenting the rationale and work of our new center, CARTA, and my thoughts on the role of place, particularly in the American West. An excerpt from the catalog accompanying the symposium follows the break below, the full text of which may be downloaded by clicking HERE.

Denver's Larimer Square.

Denver’s Larimer Square.

As America rebounds from the Great Recession of 2008, cities such as Denver, Seattle, and Portland are experiencing rapid growth, in both city-center infill projects and expanding suburban development. This building boom, driven as much by demand for new housing and commercial space as it is by capitalism, is unfortunately characterized by buildings that all too often lack durability, sustainability, and beauty. Many of the buildings being built, especially in historic neighborhoods, have nothing in common with their contexts.

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What Can You Do About Gehry’s Ike Memorial?

In early April, the National Capital Planning Commission will likely review Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial to be built in Washington, D.C. Criticism after criticism has been leveled at the design, its urban impact, durability, and symbolism. There are few things we build of greater import than our civic memorials, for they record our history and values and transmit them to future generations. With this in mind, please review the information below and make your opinion known by writing to the following agencies.


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Calgary: A City Imagined and Real

Sometimes the best way to measure a city is to set out without destination and see how the city reveals itself to you. I did just this recently on my first trip to Calgary. Having studied a map of the city prior to my trip, and finding a neatly gridded, compact plan, snuggled in the arc of two rivers between the flat prairies and the rolling foothills of the Canadian Rockies, I imagined in my traditional urbanist’s mind’s eye, a beautiful city in the clear Canadian air. While exploring Calgary I was at turns disappointed and delighted.

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Walking to FedEx

Thirteen years now I have lived without a car. On my own two feet, or by subway, bus, taxi, or ferry, I’ve easily navigated nearly every corner of New York, from the tip of Manhattan to the Bronx. So, I thought, walking from my temporary residence at Notre Dame, where I am a visiting professor in the School of Architecture this semester, a mile or so to FedEx/Kinko’s would be a nice Saturday morning stroll.

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