‘Longing for the City’

Hello! If you’re here because of being invited at the “Longing for the City” talk Wednesday night, welcome!

I’ll post lists of recommended books and resources on this Web site as time permits. Plus, if you have recommendations, please leave a comment here.

Thanks for coming!


  1. That was an excellent presentation last night, Jon. I was pleased to see so much reaction, discussion and discovery from the audience as they would look at a photo and share what they remembered about it. What a fantastic topic for discussion.

    I have to say that I’m very, very lucky to reside in a neighborhood where the “old Fort Wayne” is returning–the East State Village. There, residents and businesses have come together to create a neighborhood where people can walk just down the street to access a lot of their favorite things. I feel concerned that the Acme and the bank building are sitting empty and I would be thrilled to see a business that I would use every day–such as a video store–set up shop right next to the sidewalk. My fiance and I regularly walk down to the library, Pio’s, the liquor store (well, not that often), etc. It’s just more fun to walk!

    Thank you for sharing your vision of what we were and what we could yet again become. As the writer George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”


  2. I also enjoyed the photos and the discussion very much. I wasn’t sure I really was tracking with you on the ‘why’s and ‘wherefore’s – but the book is beautiful and the pictures are evocative, and the work that was put into it is apparent.

    If I was going to ask a question – it would have been what you thought of the old Fort Wayne’s massive mistake of NOT adding an expressway along with the railway elevation project, back in the day. My dad (who grew up in Fort Wayne in the ’30’s and 40’s, and came of age in the ’50’s) always used to express mortification at our city’s decision to skip the expressway – and the reasons for that rejection.

    Indeed, the News-Sentinel ran a very big and informative feature series on just that subject something like 10 or 15 years ago (written, in whole or in part, by Alan Derringer, as I recall) which confirmed all the things my dad always used to say.

    If the expressway had existed, the bypasses wouldn’t have the glitter (and the concurrent developement) that they attained, and the city would be all the more vibrant – in my opinion.

    Which begs the question – why WOULD we really “miss” (at least the attitudes) of old Fort Wayne? They certainly had consequences


  3. @Melissa: Thanks! Yes, urbanism or a good neighborhood doesn’t have to be downtown. East State Village is a wonderful example. My wife and I had a date over there one day and really enjoyed Pio’s.

    @Scott: Thanks for the link, I’ll have to check it out over the weekend.

    @Brian: Yeah, I admit that I felt like I jolted ahead during the modernity portion of the discussion, and didn’t really connect the dots as well as I wanted to. Thank you for the constructive criticism! That part will be improved for later talks. I will take your points about the expressway and create a new post about that. It’s an excellent topic to explore more fully.


  4. I liked your point that modernity and individualism tends to make a downtown less friendly, especially to pedestrians. Our downtown reflects what we think and feel, and it is not always a good thing. It is like the new trend in putting up wooden backyard fences so that the framework shows to the neighbors instead of to oneself. Not to mention that those big, solid fences cut us off from one another. Maybe neighbors need to be kinder to each other so the guy next door won’t feel the need to build such a fence, and to put the butt side of it toward his neighbors.


  5. Jon:

    Having grown up in Fort Wayne in the 50’s, I ordered your book on-line. It could have been a link off of the Allen County Library Website although I am not certain. I know this was done back in early November, about the time that you made your presentation. I have not received the book and I am not certain who to contact.
    Can you help?

    Terry Stocks
    Chicago Area Resident


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