At a large common table at a fave coffee shop early last year, I spied a man alternating between working intensely on his computer, and furiously sketching on a pair of canvas Vans. (Okay, spied is a bit dramatic, he was sitting right across from me!) Honestly, I was mesmerized by his drawings… their color, abstraction and dimension. His focus. His switching between computer work and sketching. I was desperately trying to figure out how to surreptitiously take a photo of the whole thing… but I’m not so good at that. (I always forget the sound is on when I try to take a secret picture… busted!)Continue Reading Cool Freaking Shoes, Publishing, & Third Places
I find it fascinating that in response to an article about economic development, a male planner felt entirely comfortable telling me that the only thing of value about me is how developed my breasts and vagina are. In fact, he seemed downright proud about that observation, so much so that he signed his email to me with his company logo, telephone number and web address. What precipitated this completely unprofessional sexist email outrage that I quoted exactly in the headline?Continue Reading The only feminist development I’d like to see is on your chest and between your legs…
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.Continue Reading 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.Continue Reading 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.Continue Reading 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.Continue Reading 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.Continue Reading Oh the Stories They Could Tell… “Is That a Beluga Whale?”
Portland is a planner’s mecca. Or is it? Visitors to the city are treated to postcard worthy scenes of light rail trains, streetcars and even an aerial tram gliding past renovated brick warehouses and gleaming glass towers. But at the regional level the picture is not so perfect.Continue Reading The Commons Concept – A Strategy to Restore Balance to the Portland Region
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!)Continue Reading One-Way Streets, A Coffee Shop, and a Reunion
This past weekend I attended the 4th annual TEDx Portland. Over 2,500 people converged on Keller Auditorium to hear some ideas worth spreading. Continue Reading Get it done! Top 5 Action Items from TEDx Portland 2014