The cruel hand of improvement takes a swipe.

I have made a real attempt in this blog to hide my dislike for the word “progressive”—the truth is, I explicitly try to avoid using it whenever possible. When I have let it slide, I nearly always find myself framing the word with those irritating, ironic quotes, as though there’s a current of mockery underlying …Read more…

Pioneering waterfronts: extending the Indianapolis Canal Walk.

Canal northern extension 005

Approaching the end of the month, the blog is due for another photo-centered post, and this one is particularly telling because images are about all there is to offer. An Indianapolis revitalization initiative announced in 2007 had two primary goals: 1) intended to introduce streetscape improvements to the Martin Luther King Drive; 2) it proposed …Read more…

Swimming hazards are amplified.

The emerging waterfront park of Louisville deserves separate attention through a special posting, but until I have explored and researched it more I’ll leave viewers with this bizarre warning sign in the water element, a linear pool that is clearly sequestered from the actual Ohio River: While I’m aware that there are twice as many …Read more…

Waterfronts that fail to make waves.

Rhode Island and Square Comparison 013

For those Indianapolis residents who remain forlorn about the current state of the Canal Walk—or for those who think it stands as an archetype for urban development—I present another waterway below street level that demonstrates similar challenges: the Providence River in downtown Providence, and its man-made tributaries. In some ways the Rhode Island capital has …Read more…

Where the Canal Walk first went wrong.

Up to this point I have generally shied away from design criticism, largely because I think the blogosphere is filled with far more well-versed, better qualified voices (or keyboards) than mine, but also largely because opinions on successful design remains rooted to individual preferences. No matter the erudition or rhetorical gifts of an architecture critic, …Read more…