Bacteria that eat waste and poop petroleum

What in the world? We’re talking about the genetic alteration of bugs — very, very small ones — so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil. Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug […]

Philip Bess: Cities shaped by love

In an essay with the provocative title, “Bring me my arrows of desire: cities shaped by love,” Gayle Doornbos writes a review of Philip Bess’s book, “Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Sacred.” For those who are unaware, Bess is a Notre Dame architecture professor who spoke to a Fort Wayne audience […]

Is highway spending “conservative”?

(Jon) And is public transit spending “liberal”? I’ve been working my way through “Suburban Nation,” and although I consider myself politically conservative, I find this pro-city, anti-sprawl book conversational and convincing. But I might be in the minority among my conservative brethren. Critical reviews of “Suburban Nation” at Amazon.com call the authors “socialists,” “elitist” and […]

Quotes on sprawl from ‘Suburban Nation’

(Jon) I’ve been reading “Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream,” and have been appreciating the authors’ analysis of suburban planning. Who knows if I’ll agree with their solutions. Here are some quotes from the beginning of the book: Since each piece of suburbia serves only one type of […]

New Urbanism lecture on YouTube

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwd4Lq0Xvgc] (Jon) Here’s a well-thought-out lecture on New Urbanism by Andres Duany, author of Suburban Nation, The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream — a book I happen to be reading right now and enjoying very much. This lecture is posted in nine parts (often chopped up in the middle of […]

A suburban Subway on an urban street

“Urbanism starts with the location of the parking lot.” — David Sucher (Jon) When the downtown Fort Wayne Subway shop was torn down to make way for Harrison Square, it was a safe bet that it would rebuilt nearby. And with the recent emphasis on downtown renewal, this property at the southeast corner of Jefferson […]

The house of the past’s future

(Jon) While we await some architects to respond to the last post and show off some neighbor-friendly modern housing that’s isn’t a throwback to the Victorian era, here’s an idea from the past — the 1971 fab prefab Venturo: The advertising pitch, from Treehugger.com: “A lake, land and sea, a beautiful valley, incomparably compatible settings […]

Must New Urbanism look old?

(Jon) Neal makes a valid point regarding my post, “New Urbanism blooming in Bloomington”: A neat development in a neat town, but the main problem is that the new houses are old-fashioned looking. What part of “New Urbanism” says it has to look like the thirties? I know the looks are a response to what […]

New Urbanism blooms in Bloomington

(Jon) A big hat tip to Urban Indy for this: As a new development in central Bloomington shows, New Urbanism in many ways is just the old urbanism. This is from a story in the Indianapolis Business Journal about how new housing is being built to blend in with the existing neighborhood around it: “The […]

Ye Olde Urbanism gets boot in britches

(Jon) A proposal to build a Medieval European village has gotten hogtied by modern Indiana regulations. The people behind Simpler Times Village want to build a rural community with old-fashioned ideals — really olde — in green space in Madison County. From its Web site: Can you imagine a storybook village in old world Europe? […]