Seven Elements/Four Topics

The following few thousand words seek a new value system for the professions of city and regional planning, architecture, and engineering. Your bones tell you, you smell it, there is the challenge of unclear change on the tongues of the public speakers. The sticky multiple versions of the truth offered in the political-speech of our … Continue reading Seven Elements/Four Topics

Remember Muir

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1911, pg. 110)
Sierra Club Books 1988 ed. See all of Chapter 6 on the Sierra Club website.

At the close of the century, the World Watch Institute’s call to “minimize consumption” and “maximize well-being” set the best tone with the fewest words. Dense environments can reduce consumption — per cap/per km/per day –24/7/365. The dense city alters the structure of consumption on many levels. So how do we create a renewed sense of abundance in life using these constraints? Remember John Muir.

Urbanization takes about a third of the earth’s surface and about forty percent for food. The remaining twenty-plus percent is the trickiest as a hodgepodge of fragmented spatial leftovers, it is a “slap” in the face to everyone from John Muir to those who walk in his footsteps.[i]

Beyond deserts and high mountain ranges, there are seeds for change, thousands of accessible places, the wild glory of Alaska, and “parks” from New York City’s Central Park all the way up to Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks. Our land use policy tends to give “the wilderness” a boundary and most vexing of all nearly ignores the simplicity of our need for it as a thing separate and untouched.

Photo: Carleton Watkins – University of the Pacific digital collections,.

The name John Muir is synonymous with the importance of wilderness.  The tool was to be conservation, but today the river that cut the Grand Canal no longer reaches the ocean. Muir put it this way in my head, the wilderness is the only way to look directly into the face God and like it. He could not have imagined we would turn that privilege into our weakest link in an ineffectual use of land.


[i] SLAP = space leftover after planning

Global Density

Add fees on Amazon books below will be assigned to our effort. This one brings the lessons of the explosive structure of density from observers along the Pacific Rim. Comments regarding content are appreciated. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1138849863/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=communitydesignc&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1138849863&linkId=c54005f93852711f637d9d0ded976d3e

The Unlimited Inside

Unrestrained Outside & Unlimited Insides. How does density save the wilderness, support sustainable agriculture and a do no harm purpose?  If the problem is defined within the global colonization and destruction narrative then the promotion of investment in every technical solution required to sustain centuries of powerful economic growth is driven by population, but not … Continue reading The Unlimited Inside

One Bryant Park

In thoughtful research reporting the requirement to sum up should become a responsibility of participation.  In Skyscrapers and the World of Tomorrow posted to Planetizen on September, 1 2011 by editors Jeff Jamawat, Kris Fortin, Tim Halbur and Victor Negrete, the questions sought to define the place for very big buildings, but the article ends by … Continue reading One Bryant Park

Go to Chicago

Be in Chicago on Monday, April 27 beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the UIC campus 725 W. Roosevelt Rd. It is open to the public for $25 with tickets via the Forum's website: www.RJDUrbanForum.uic.edu. Two ways to look at it -- cities are crucial to “recovery†from crisis or urbanism itself is a discursive human … Continue reading Go to Chicago