What Makes a Place Urban?

The word “urbanism” describes how people interact with the built environment, and people enthusiastic about cities, architecture, local policy and the like often describe themselves as “urbanists”, though this term is more nebulous. According to Wikipedia, urbanism is “the study of how inhabitants of urban areas, such as towns and cities, interact with the built…

Public Markets: Lower Midwest Edition

If you live in a mid-sized to major city or even a small town or suburb there’s probably a public market near where you live. They are often “farmer’s markets” where people buy local produce and meat, or wholesale goods cheaper than the grocery store, as well as other wares like clothing and handmade soaps….

Median Building Development on Laclede Ave

Pedestrian streets are common in traditional cities and villages across the world because they were already narrow and human-scaled enough for them to stay that way even after the automobile. Cars would have to move through them slowly, and buildings were close enough that people didn’t need much transportation outside of walking anyway. Street in…

Plazas, Cincinnati, and St. Louis

A good city park or plaza is a specific place that people go to instead of some green throwaway space. After that the main obstacle to park or plaza usage would be accessibility. Typically people wouldn’t go to a park if it were difficult to get there. In cities, that means if it was too…

Green Throwaway Space

Green spaces and greenery generally get too much of a pass in what constitutes a public good in American urban settings. In the case of parks and plazas they are politically uncontroversial, and in the case of landscaping and buffer space they are common enough to be practically invisible. Most people would agree that public…

Pedestrian Streets: Destinations and Non-Destinations

Pedestrian streets, or pedestrian malls, are a novelty in the United States. Wikipedia even has a page that lists them out. They are typically relatively narrow, ban or severely limit vehicular traffic, and have plenty of storefronts or residences on both sides. Though rare in the United States, these streets are commonplace practically everywhere else….

Leveraging the Delmar Loop Trolley

There has been a lot of negativity regarding the Delmar Loop Trolley in St. Louis over the past months and years, like how it’s a totally unnecessary replication of existing mass transit, how it made the street a deathtrap for cyclists, et cetera. It was constructed largely to serve as a development tool and tourist…