You can look at commercial district revitalization in two ways: The first way, which is the common way, and unfortunately not the best way, is to hatch a scheme to get rid of everything that is under-performing and replace it with something else. Bulldoze it, and start over with a blank slate. This approach to economic revitalization is the cornerstone of many well-intentioned plans — the wholesale replacement of entire existing commercial ecosystems. It is also an approach that values typical male attributes: valuing big, valuing new, valuing the deal. This is truly a shame since these districts often have wonderful businesses, owned by locals, which serve as non-traditional anchors pulling from wide trade areas. [Read more…] about What’s so feminine about good revitalization of a commercial district?
This nondescript building in downtown Astoria, OR was hiding a surprise: a breathtaking expanse of clear span space with a rare domed lamella roof system. As unlikely as it appears on the exterior, this warehouse-like building was actually an Armory, constructed to provide entertainment for military personnel during World War II headquartered in this lovely Pacific Northwest spot — the gateway to the mighty Columbia River. [Read more…] about Oh the Stories They Could Tell…Astoria Armory Edition
My election day began with a meeting of a group I was recently asked to join, the NE STEM/STEAM coalition in Portland, Oregon. The group’s mission (I paraphrase) is to help students from communities of color gain access to careers and education in science, technology, and the arts. [Read more…] about On Nov 8th Morn…I Experienced Everything Great about America
Who knew that competition was so fierce and cutthroat in the world of architectural boat tours in Chicago? According to our guide, who was a docent volunteer on the official Chicago Architectural Foundation tour, CAF has turned their river meanderings into one of the top visitor draws in the city, which, of course, has spawned a lot of copycats. Damn tour counterfeiters. [Read more…] about My What a Quaint Bridge Tender House You Have Chicago
There is a unique joy in walking through a building and experiencing what it was, understanding what it is now, and contemplating what it can be in the future. [Read more…] about Oh the Stories They Could Tell… “Is That a Beluga Whale?”
Working away in a coffee shop one day (I know, how very Portland of me), I couldn’t help but overhear the phone conversation of the young woman sitting to my left. (Why are cell conversations in coffee shops always so loud? #unavoidableeavesdropping)
Anyway, she was chatting with someone about how long it had been since they had seen each other, and that she couldn’t wait until they were reunited at the coffee shop.
(I know, you may be wondering, “What the heck does this have to do with one-way streets?” Be patient, it’s coming!) [Read more…] about One-Way Streets, A Coffee Shop, and a Reunion
During the summer of 2013, my husband and I took a very uncharacteristic vacation to a spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. I say “uncharacteristic” because a spa in the desert at the height of summer would not normally be at the top of our list of vacation destinations. [Read more…] about A Wall, No Matter How Pretty, Is Still…a Wall
Can you tell what it is?
I was speaking at a Society for College and University Planning event in Denver this spring, [Read more…] about I Bet You Can’t Guess What this Is!
Yes, this is my autographed copy of the High Cost of Free Parking!
I had the pleasure of serving on a panel with one of my professional crushes, Donald Shoup, [Read more…] about It’s Official, I’m a Parking Groupie!
Since the 1990s, Portland has not had parking minimums in much of the city, from the downtown core to more traditional neighborhoods with single family housing. Portland has been very proud of their no parking minimum. Portland has trumpeted this zoning policy as a shining example of why Portland is the City That Works!
Up until recently, it was very rare for a residential developer to build anything without off-street parking. Finally though, that is changing. [Read more…] about Portlandia: Milquetoast Bureau of Planning Edition