Travel, as I have often said to my colleagues, is an excellent means to explore and understand architecture, especially if that has to do with regional values. Last year, after having missed many earlier opportunities to do so, I finally visited the sites of great architectural works of the Mughal Dynasty in India. For most people, the Taj Mahal is a household word. For me it had always been the fore-runner of an argument that mosques and mausoleums are not the same and hence their formal structures cannot share in the semiology employed by modern day designers of religious buildings in the light of Bob Venturi’s “decorated shed” paradigm. [Read more…] about A peek into the timeless past of Mughal architecture in India
I recently returned from Asia, where I noticed, as always, numerous people wearing face masks on the street. In Mainland China, I have always assumed this was because of the rampant air pollution in major cities. But I also observed masks in other cities such as Hong Kong and Taipei, where industrial and automotive pollution appears, at least to the unscientific observer, to be much less. And we Californians are also used to seeing some of our Asian neighbors wearing masks in American cities. I have wondered, is this a holdover from life in Beijing or Shenzhen or other cities in Mainland China, where the color of air can be as dull as a grey goose? (And I’m not thinking of vodka.) Or is it something else? [Read more…] about Why we had Urban Renewal
Having invested a billion and a half dollars of public funds in downtown redevelopment, it is worth asking if it helped or hindered in solving the affordable housing crisis that San Diego faces. From the catalytic start of downtown’s boom with the construction of the ballpark to the unceremonious demise of tax increment financing under Governor Brown, there has been a lot of change. [Read more…] about How San Diego’s downtown housing supply boom is making rent less affordable
In my last post, I mentioned a couple of tips and things to think about when getting ready to cycle down the Pacific Coast Highway – [Read more…] about The Pacific Coast for the Everyday Explorer: A Cyclist’s Packing Guide (Part II)
The future is urban. Per the World Bank, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. A vision of and plan for housing this mind-boggling percentage is crucial. And that was precisely the task undertaken at the October 2016 meeting of the UN-Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador. The conference produced what will surely be a crucial document, the New Urban Agenda (the complete text can be found in PDF here). [Read more…] about UN advocates a more disorderly urban form in New Urban Agenda document and Quito Papers film
We all need parks. Specifically, the availability of parks, trails, and other recreational facilities is an important factor in creating healthy communities and providing a high quality of life for residents. These amenities offer opportunities to encourage active living, to exercise, to access open space, and to connect with others and the natural environment.