31 December 2009

Poseidon Adventure New Years

Hope your new year goes better than this:

I saw this as a kid at the drive-in and nightmares about it.

Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and Gene Lodgson

This is a few months away, but think it is pretty significant to get these 3 guys together in one place:

Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson and Gene Logsdon
Sunday, April 11, 2010, 7:00 pm
“An Informal Conversation”
Co-sponsored by the UC's President's Advisory Council on Environment and Sustainability and the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue

Wendell Berry is a Kentucky farmer and writer, described by the New York Review of Books as “perhaps the great moral essayist of our day.” He is the author of more than forty novels, anthologies of essays, and books of poetry that use his intimate knowledge of his Kentucky River farm home as the starting point for eloquent and penetrating critiques of the modern agricultural system and its consequences for communities, families, and politics. Wes Jackson is the President and co-founder of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, a research and demonstration center dedicated to developing polyculture perennial grains as an alternative to our current annual grain monocultures. Gene Logsdon farms in northern Ohio and has written numerous books and magazine articles on the subject of small farms, rural living, cottage farming, homesteading, alternative farming practices, organic gardening, composting, aquaculture, and other types of alternative agriculture.

All lectures are held in the Cintas Center and are free and open to the public.

More Carnage with Cars or Terrorists

Trying to add a little perspective to the terrorist threat:
In 2008 there were 34,017 deaths (and nearly 100,000 major injuries) related to automobile accidents in the United States. Terrorists would have to blow up 113 Boeing 777-200s each year in order to kill that many people! That is, they'd have to blow up all but six of the 777-200's (which hold 301 people in a 3-tier international setup) currently owned by American Airlines, United Airlines and Continental Airlines (together they own 119 777-200s) and would have to do so every single year, which is probably faster than they can be built...

More along this line of reasoning from Yglesias.

30 December 2009

High Cost of Ignoring Beauty

....People need beauty. They need the sense of being at home in their world, and being in communication with other souls. In so many areas of modern life—in pop music, in television and cinema, in language and literature—beauty is being displaced by raucous and attention-grabbing clichés. We are being torn out of ourselves by the loud and insolent gestures of people who want to seize our attention but to give nothing in return for it. Although this is not the place to argue the point it should perhaps be said that this loss of beauty, and contempt for the pursuit of it, is one step on the way to a new form of human life, in which taking replaces giving, and vague lusts replace real loves. -Roger Scruton

29 December 2009

Urban Sketchers

This site Urban Sketchers is so inspirational to me. I hope to do more sketching this next year, so I'm going to stop by Suder's and buy a small watercolor packet.
..Urban Sketchers is...dedicated to raising the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel...

This one by Rene Fijten showing a glowing City hall in Aachen reminded me that I wanted to make a post about how night lighting changes the city, especially at this time of year:

The posted sketches are very good. A couple I particularly noticed were Bill Dennis and Sharon Frost

Sign of the Times

Posted by Picasa

27 December 2009

Mumford Quote of the Day

Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.
-Lewis Mumford

26 December 2009

Cincy Stadium Woes in NY Times

In case you missed the Christmas day article in the NY Times, the financial train wreck over the lopsided Bengal's Stadium was explained:
...the gap between expected and actual sales taxes continues to grow, something the county administration had been warning for years. In August, the administrator predicted not only a $14 million shortfall next year, but also a $94 million gap in 2014, a year after interest payments on the stadium bonds rise 44 percent. By then, the Reds will no longer be paying rent.

Last month, two of the three commissioners voted against cutting the property tax rebate, fearing a voter backlash. Raising the sales tax again was not proposed for the same reason.

“It can’t be 100 percent on the backs of taxpayers,” said Greg Hartmann, the lone Republican commissioner. “We gave away too much to keep the Bengals in Cincinnati. There has to be some middle ground.”

Hartmann and Portune want to introduce a tobacco tax, but lawmakers in Columbus, the state capital, may be unwilling to approve it.

So they have ordered more cuts in basic county administrative services, something that creates a slippery slope, said David Pepper, the commissioner who voted against the proposal.

“It’s like the movie where the blob keeps growing and eating away at other elements of county government,” Pepper said. “We’re beginning to cross a line in the sand by taking money from the general fund to pay for the stadiums. Once you put that money in jeopardy, you put the whole county at risk.”

23 December 2009

22 December 2009

Don't Call Me a Starchitect

"Urban planning is dead in the US."
-Frank Gehry

21 December 2009

Sheep in OTR

What are sheep, goats and donkeys doing in the heart of OTR? They are part of the live nativity at St Fancis Seraph at the corner of Liberty and Vine. They are open every day until January 6th, 1-7pm:


St Francis started the Nativity Creche tradition in 1220 AD:

20 December 2009

Urban Planning Cartoon 1948

Related to the post last week: documenting the dirty dangerous cities and advocating clean suburbs:

18 December 2009

Model Train Display

Been having a great time this season downtown, especially skating. Here are a couple of shots from the CG&E (Duke Energy) Train display:

model railroad 2 

Know Theater South Mural

I didn't even see this until this week. Probably been up for months. Just don't walk up Jackson Street much I guess.

17 December 2009

Mumford Quote of the Day

Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet.
-Lewis Mumford

16 December 2009

Light Fixtures at SCPA

I wonder if these new light fixtures along the sidewalk of the new SCPA will be durable enough. Seems like someone could damage the polycarbonate part pretty easily. BTW, I think those are permanent security cameras mounted on the brick behind:

Vine Street Print Party Saturday

Our neighbors, Mike and Maya, also known as Visualingual, have produced a print that represents the 1200 block of Vine Street. Sale of this print will benefit the Contact Center, which is located at 1225 Vine (closeup of this building shown above). This Saturday 6-9pm at MiCA 12/v, there is a reception/launch party for the print. I am very fond of this block and think the print is excellent. I will be there, hope to see you.

Some Metropole Residents

The Metropole Is Our Home from Barbara Wolf on Vimeo.

15 December 2009

Lego: "A Different Toy Every Day"

Something to keep in mind during the gift-giving season.

High Tech Composting

Findlay Market just installed these large composting bins. This is some major composting equipment. There is a sign on the side warning people not to stick their arms into the bin as the mixer may chop it off:

Findlay Market Begins Composting Food Waste
To help cut the amount of waste it sends to the landfill by half, Findlay Market has begun composting food waste. The market is using a small “in-vessel” system that contains the compost in an insulated tub that has an air filtration system to control odors. The contents are stirred regularly by turning the lid of the tub, under which an electrically powered auger is mounted. This is the first composting system of its kind in southwest Ohio. The market has two tubs and hopes to be able to compost continuously. Eventually, shredded cardboard that cannot be recycled will be used as a bulking agent for making compost. The finished compost will be used on trees and flowers around the market. A waste stream audit conducted in 2008 suggested that the market produces more than 300 tons of compostable waste annually which, in theory, could produce about forty tons of finished compost each year. Findlay Market’s in-vessel composting equipment was purchased with grant funding from the Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Market Promotional Program. For more information about the Findlay Market food waste composting program, contact info@findlaymarket.org.

Santa Lies

When my five year old looked up at me with big eyes and says sincerely "Daddy, does Santa really come down the chimney?" was I right to answer with a simple "yes"? She is figuring that our fireplace is pretty small, and Santa is pretty big...

14 December 2009

Passage Lounge

601 Main doesn't seem like the most likely spot for a new bar IMO, but coming soon:

13 December 2009

A Film - The City - 1939

I found this old film through James Howard Kunstler's website. The words to the film were apparently written by Lewis Mumford. The first few minutes showing farm life aren't that interesting, but the scenes of the city and the actual living conditions of a city which appears to be Pittsburgh are fascinating, as are the huge traffic jams filmed in the 1930s. These are a pretty interesting demonstration of the way people saw the problem of the American city in the early 20th century.

Clip 1, from bucolic farms complete with basket making and loom weaving to sooty dangerous factories:

Clip 2, The fast city:

Clip 3, cities going crazy, traffic jams and crowds:

Part 4, the planned alternative, the suburbs (with magically no cars):

If you are interested, you can watch these videos overlaid with a running commentary by Jim Kunstler here.

07 December 2009

Silky Slim

I see this sign in a window on upper Race often. I have no idea what it is. I don't interpret, I just report:

I can see her fishing with the guys plus ...

"She's a down to earth person who will fight against the government," Millage said. "I can see her out there fishing with the guys. Plus, she's hot."

AP Report on Palin in Iowa

Family Enrichment Center December

All classes held at the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center, located at 4244 Hamilton Ave., Cinti. OH 45223. To register, visit website or call 513-591-2332.
The Flu and You - Fight the Flu thru Natural Immunity
Seasonal flu got you down? H1N1 giving you fears? How are vaccines made? Are there side effects? How can I build up my immunity naturally? What can I add to my current routine to make me stronger? Dr. Michael Nichols will answer all your questions about the flu and what you have the ability to do about it.
Saturday, December 12th @ 12:15

Fund Raiser for the CFEC
Baked goods, arts and crafts and a good ol time with the family. Donations accepted
December 12th @ 10:00am

You’ve made it through the birth - now what?! Where can you turn to for support, encouragement, understanding, and answers to your “new mom” questions? The CFEC! We’re here for you. Join us monthly for as long as you need the companionship of other new parents struggling with the same issues as you. We understand; we’ve been there. Free!
Thursdays (Dec. 3rd-17th) @ 10:30 & Sat., Dec. 19th @ 11:30

Happiest Baby on the Block!
Learn how to turn on your newborn’s Calming Reflex – the extraordinary “off-switch” for crying all babies are born with!
New babies are such a blessing, but they can also bring with them sleepless nights, crying, & sometimes quite a bit of stress! In this 2-hour innovative workshop you will be taught step-by-step how to help your newborn sleep better & how to soothe even the fussiest baby in minutes! Magic? A miracle? No, it’s a reflex!
The Dec. 14th, 6:45pm workshop, is held at Good Sam Hospital, 375 Dixmyth Ave.,45220
Fee is $50.00, which includes a Parent Kit containing the HBOB dvd.
To register, please call TriHealth at 475-4500. Class is from 6:45-8:45pm.

Circle of Life - Belly Dancing
Belly dancing has a long history of exercising the muscles that are used during childbirth and to strengthen and maintain muscle tone as we mature. Taking cues from Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, a combination of Middle Eastern Belly Dance, Flamenco, Classical Indian dances, North African and Salsa dances, this fun alternative exercise option teaches how to connect to the feminine aspects of strength, power and confidence along with connecting to a child that grows inside you. Join us as we prepare our bodies for the journey of childbirth and revel in our motherhood! Women at all stages of life welcomed
Saturdays (Dec. 5, 12 & 19) 11:30-12:15pm. $50/5-class package or $13/class.

Strange Car Seen Around Town


06 December 2009

Face Fountain

Interactive public art in Chicago:

05 December 2009

Buddy Guy - First Time I Met The Blues

I was thinking as I watched this video how the things in this video were once common in Cincinnati too (blues music, and the general scene).

A friend of mine sent me this video because of the 1970's shots of Chicago's South Side, especially the "Wall of Respect" which was a public art project that people he knows contributed too. Plus the music rocks:

04 December 2009


I did not play sports much growing up. Well, that's not entirely true, as we played lots of neighborhood baseball and stuff like that. There was a summer or two where we played baseball almost every day. But as far as organized sports I only endured soccer for a couple years, and no other sports. It just didn't interest me, and my parents gave me the choice. Plus I wasn't very good.

But despite my lack of athletic abilities, I remember fondly my two soccer coaches. One was Mr E. I don't think he knew much about soccer, but he was a good man, who gave a lot of his time. He wore cut-off jeans and his son played with us. The other coach, Mr V, was an immigrant who obviously knew the sport well. He had a mentally handicapped son, who was about my age, and the son would help with the equipment etc.. Mr. V was an exceptionally kind man. I remember one particular instance, in which one kid on our team who was overweight was being harangued by the rest of us for taking so long to do his laps, and Mr. V had a talk with us about it. And I am sure that he wanted to be coaching his son, not a bunch of stranger's kids, but his son was not able to play, so he treated us as his own.

I am remembering all this as I sit and watch my son being coached at wrestling. Now this is a sport that until last month, I had never even seen, much less participated in. But my son is much more into this stuff than I ever was, and he asked about wrestling, and it seemed like a good fit. But I sit here and watch these men come in 3 nights a week and organize a whole wrestling program completely as volunteers including Sunday tournaments. And what reminded me of my childhood coaches was when I saw one of the wrestling coaches coming into practice holding a daughter with Down's Syndrome. And he started the coaching session holding her until his wife could get there. And I remembered my soccer coach from 30 years ago, kindly holding his son's hand while he coached other parent's kids.

Why do they do it? They seem to take the responsibility as a fact of life. Whatever the reasons, I really appreciate it. Thanks guys.

03 December 2009

Schwartz's Point New Website

Check out their new website. This is a great place to go when it gets cold...

The Way We Were

Here was a great find. The grandson of photographer Nelson Ronsheim revisited a dozen of his grandfather's pictures taken between 1939 and 1941 and replicated the shots. He has put the set of pictures up in a Flickr set called 70 Years Later. Thanks to drew-o-rama at design cincinnati for the heads up.

Here is one sample taken on Eggleston:

I spent quite a bit of time last night wandering through some of the other sets. He has 94 shots in his Nelson Ronsheim - Favorites set, there is a Planes and Trains set, some pictures from the Cincinnati Flood of 1937, and also a set of Nelson Ronsheim - other Cincinnati Photos.

It's a great collection of old (and new) pictures. Many of the pictures have some great background comments on the photos and locations.

01 December 2009

Take the Cake

OK, posts are slowing to a trickle here at CityKin for the holidays, but I had to make a post about Take the Cake. I had a post a few months ago about their new diggs in Northside.

Take the Cake started on Main Street many years ago, up near Liberty Street. They moved to Northside and now moved again, closer to Knowlton's Corner, into their own, larger space at 4035 Hamilton Avenue. Frankly, I had never visited the place before, because it is not that often that I need a cake, and I never even thought about entering. However I learned through Twitter, that last month, they began serving lunches and brunches. On a whim, I took the family to visit Sunday, and we were served this:


I'll let my wife describe:

Everything was quite delicious and well done. The biscuits and gravy had a spicy little kick to it. The fritatta was unbelievably creamy and fluffy and the potatoes were excellent. The French toast bread pudding was not at all dense and heavy as many tend to be and it was topped with lots of berries and whipped cream. The only thing I didn't try was the steak and eggs cuz I was stuffed but it looked great. Best brunch I've been to in the city!

Now, my wife is a very tough restaurant critic. When she says best brunch, you better believe it. The entrees were priced at about $7, and there are two large communal tables and counter seating. The items are listed on a blackboard and erased as they sell out. The value and quality are unsurpassed. The chefs here are the owners, and they are truly talented. You gotta try this.

30 November 2009

Strange Vacant New City in China

Vine and Sixth OMI to Terrace Plaza

I had to visit the old Edgecliff College in Walnut Hills for business last month. It is currently the home of UC's College of Applied Sciences (OCAS). But since OCAS has merged with the College of Engineering, OCAS may move to UC's main campus sometime in the next few years, (at least that is the scuttlebut). The site, overlooking the Ohio River from Victory Parkway is dramatic, but the Edgecliff buildings are pretty blah, and remind me of a 1960 Catholic School (which it was).

Anyway, OCAS has had a notable history in Cincinnati. Starting in 1828 as the Ohio Mechanic's Institute, or OMI, it was a significant place of learning during the industrial revolution. A young Thomas Edison studied in their library, and OMI hosted fabulous Industrial Exhibitions every year during the last decades of the nineteenth century. Some of the old posters from the exhibitions are hanging in the hallway, and I would love to get a full copy of one of them.

The Greenwood Building, named for Miles Greenwood, president of the OMI Board from 1847-1854 was the owner of Eagle Iron Works. This building was the home of OMI from 1850 to 1911. It was originally 4 stories tall. In 1900, 2 stories were added as shown in this crummy model. This stood at the SW corner of Sixth and Vine until 1945 when it was demolished to build the Terrace Plaza.:

SW Cor 6th and Vine when it was OMI:

They also had a model of the Emery Building, which was the OMI/OCAS home from 1911 to

Francis Trollope Bazaar building. Apparently this was the first home of OMI:

26 November 2009

Equality is Our Nation's First Principle

Lincoln quote, from an 1855 letter to Joshua Speed:
"I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

25 November 2009

Organic Walking Paths of Brasilia

It is amazing how many people are using Google Maps to make interesting studies or articles, and how many artists are using Google Streetview for photography projects. Here, a blogger notices the footpaths that have evolved in a city designed to have no pedestrians:


previous post on Brasilia.

24 November 2009

More Balluminaria

We went to Balluminaria again this year, and the weather was better, so the crowd was bigger. How do I know this? By the very scientific observation that we arrived sooner this year, and parked farther away.

The event involves the lighting of Hot Air Balloons around Mirror Lake in Eden Park. It lasts from 4 pm to 6 pm with the sun setting around 5:30 pm.

When we arrived not all the balloons were up. The only concession stand I saw was totally slammed (for a veteran move, bring your own food). They also had a brass band playing just north of the lake:

For a while there was a nice Toddler mosh pit around the brass band.

This is the event where I came up with a new term. Photog Widow, this is the spouse of someone who deserts the family to get pictures of an event, and it described my poor wife. She however didn't seem to mind (and I did ask permission first). The event is kind of one big photo opportunity, and they give you a countdown to when all the balloons fire up. Luckily this happens multiple times. Here was my best shot this year:

I really like this event, but getting there is always an exercise in frustration. It's a shame the rails hidden under the median on Gilbert don't still carry streetcars, it would be a great way to get there. I hope they add additional concession stands in the future, though my take-away is to bring your own food or, gosh, go a whole 2 hours without eating!

A local photographer put together a really nice time-lapse video of the event, focused on the balloons. It is a testament to the fabulous visuals that I didn't even mind the way overused soundtrack. I'd even go so far to say it worked really well with the video.

Mumford Quote of the Day

Without fullness of experience, length of days is nothing. When fullness of life has been achieved, shortness of days is nothing. That is perhaps why the young have usually so little fear of death; they live by intensities that the elderly have forgotten.

-Lewis Mumford

21 November 2009


The kids liked this event more than I thought they would:

Totalitarian Modernists

"Le Corbusier wanted to be to the city what pasteurization is to cheese."

-Theodore Dalrymple, The Architect as Totalitarian
Le Corbusier’s baleful influence, The City Journal

Mumford Quote of the Day

Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf.

-Lewis Mumford

20 November 2009

Evolution of a Block

When I was looking through the Sanford Insurance maps of the Washington Park area, I was struck by the fact that there is a tendency to remove whole blocks of smaller, diverse buildings and replace them with much larger, single use structures. Then it would just so happen that I came across a student who documented the history of a single block in NYC:

I decided to try a more mammoth task, compiling a complete record of the life cycle of a single city block. That's what I've presented here. Beginning in the 1780s with James Delancey's farm, and ending with the present public housing structures, erected in 1985, this is a record of eight generations of buildings on two-thirds of an acre.:
In the Youtube video, it is sped up a bit too much. Better to go to his site and watch it.

It is fascinating, and unfortunately the end result is this:

The location in Google Maps.

18 November 2009

Balluminaria This Saturday

This year's Balluminaria is scheduled for this Saturday at Eden Park. The event runs from 4 to 6 pm and includes the hot air balloons and holiday music.

You can see more details at the CincinnatiUSA web site.

Emmert Grains Sign

Still here in OTR, drying spent hops and selliing them as cattle feed:

17 November 2009

Maps from 1904

This is a really cool find, thanks to @GeekJames on Twitter (who also tweets as @TakeTheCakeCafe). It is the two volume set Insurance Maps of Cincinnati, Ohio.

First off, I love the cover design. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County offers both volumes in their Virtual Library. This was printed in 1904. But looks like it was updated through about 1930. They are very high-resolution scans, therefore each page is a separate PDF (2-4 MB in size). Both volumes have indexes, and it is easy to find the correct plate from those.

Here is plate 100 from Volume 2, which is a guide to volume 2:

I also loved the plate that had the old Fountain Square. You can also see the Albee Theatre and the Hotel Gibson. It is Volume 2, plate 115:
I forsee lots of time spent looking through these old maps. Be sure to check out the full-sized PDFs of these plates. I resisted the temptation to link directly to the PDFs, but you can find them easily starting at the link above.

The Poor Must be Included

You cannot have a great city without rich and poor living downtown. This is the first requirement of healthy cities. - Jacquein Robertson, 1995

A 10 minute video, probably too long for general readers, but some of you in the planning field will find it interesting:
The Way We Live - A Modern Architecture Conversation

16 November 2009

White Flight Still Happening

I thought this was the 21st century?! The article in the Enquirer today about new growth in Harrison has generated the typical nonsense commentary, but commentary that nonetheless is telling:

mustbGWBsfault wrote:
i grew up in covedale, moved to delhi. then the metro moved in and now there are shopping carts turned on their sides at the bus stops, trash in the streets, the businesses are getting robbed (krogers, walgreens). is it a coincidence that crime has gone up since the metro came through? i think not. will the metro ever make it to harrison? possibly (i hope harrison fights to keep it out). either way, i know it won't go into indiana! hoosiers, here we come!

nasdadjr wrote:
I have had multiple friends move to Harrison, and you want to know why they do it? They don't allow the Cincinnati metro to go out there which means no section 8 housing. That means less crime and less sorry to say it but ghetto people from going out there. Not trying to be racist or economicist or whatever you call it, but take an honest census of the people who live or have moved out there and that is one of the big reasons why they move or stay there cause the cost of living there isn't as high as Blue Ash, Mason, or other high priced areas, and they don't have those people.

UncleRando wrote:
Harrison is not actually growing. The increase in population is just a relocation of westsiders from communities like Green Township, Delhi Township, Price Hill and Westwood. Overall the population trend for the westside as a whole is probably very small when looked at comprehensively.

dlacey31 wrote:
This is happening because the lower west side has become so nasty and ghetto the middle class as usual have to find different neighborhoods to move to . The housing authority should have never switched to section 8 vouchers they should have kept all the ghetto in one area. now they can live anywhere they want almost for free right next door to hard working middle class families. and trash the neighborhoods and lower property value . Thanks cincinnati housing authority

Camping Out for 48hrs

Parents began a line/campground Sunday evening at Fairview and other CPS schools. Fairview will begin accepting applications Tuesday night at midnight. During dinner with a good friend Sunday he recieved a text message that the line had started to form. He left the supper immediately and is about #40 in line. Unfortunately he must miss 2 days of work to make this happen. There musst be a better way:

City Should Delay the Comprehensive Plan

City Council has shrunk the size of many departments. The new Council has a majority of members that will refuse to cut anything from Police and Fire. Since Police and Fire are the biggest part of the budget, that means that the other departments will suffer devastating cuts.

The existing Planning Department only has a few planners on staff. The Historic Conservation Office is down to one employee and one interim director. These people do not have the resources to continue to develop a New Comprehensive Plan. It is time to put the Comprehensive Plan on hold until the budget crisis is averted. A truly comprehensive Comprehensive Plan will require tons of staff time, and money for planning consultants etc.. I would like to see the plan get more aggressive on wholistic street design and form-based codes. But these are not small easy issues. Quite the opposite. As it is, the staff barely has time to review permit applications and man the office.

The Comprehensive Plan is important, but to be done correctly, it requires more resources. Am I wrong?

Last year, Council gave the administration the go-ahead to develop the first comprehensive plan for the city since 1980. The Comprehensive Plan will address a wide range of recommendations relating to land use, transportation, parks, health, environment and open space, community facilities, utilities and infrastructure, institutions, urban design, historic preservation, community character and identity, housing and neighborhoods, and economic development, among others. The plan sets the foundation for all land use decisions over the next 20-30 years from broad policy to detailed site design and development.

15 November 2009

A Crack in the Pavement

The Enquirer had an article about this documentary, and I also happened to see it the following week. It is interesting because it uses two older Cincinnati suburbs as examples of the problem: Elmwood Place and Madeira. Before watching this film, I knew Elmwood Place was down on its' luck, but I wouldn't have thought that Madeira had any real problems. Worth watching.

Watch the film Sunday (tomorrow) at 6pm on WCET, channel 48.
The film looks at the precarious state of many older, first-ring suburbs by profiling two small town officials from Ohio. They take viewers on a tour of the challenges their communities are now facing. The federal and state money that helped establish these communities is gone – redirected toward new development in ever-expanding suburban rings. Like many parts of the Midwest, their hometowns are strapped for cash. Their roads, sewers and bridges built years ago now need to be replaced or repaired. Residents and businesses are leaving, and schools are emptying. Government programs to help these communities maintain and revitalize themselves are virtually nonexistent. Yet just a few miles away, a new ring of suburbs is growing and prospering.

14 November 2009

Lego Advent

This is a calendar with a little perforated doors in the cardboard. Your kid opens one door every day for 24 days, and inside are small Lego assemblies, like an evergreen tree, a sled, a boy with snowballs, a snowman. Great alternative to the traditional chocolates or candy canes:

Index of Cities with Dangerous Streets

In the last 15 years, more than 76,000 Americans have been killed while crossing or walking along a street in their community. More than 43,000 Americans – including 3,906 children under 16 – have been killed this decade alone. This is the equivalent of a jumbo jet going down roughly every month, yet it receives nothing like the kind of attention that would surely follow such a disaster.

... These deaths typically are labeled “accidents,” and attributed to error on the part of motorist or pedestrian. In fact, however, an overwhelming proportion share a similar factor: They occurred along roadways that were dangerous by design, streets that were engineered for speeding cars and made little or no provision for people on foot, in wheelchairs or on a bicycle.

... The forthcoming rewrite of the nation’s transportation policy presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create safer streets that will be critical to keeping our neighborhoods livable, our population more fit and our nation less dependent on foreign oil...

...Congress is currently considering the goals and objectives for a federal transportation bill that will send transportation money to states and cities and guide their spending priorities. The continued high fatality rate shows a clear need for strong leadership and greater resources to end preventable pedestrian deaths and require more accountability from states on how those funds are spent....

13 November 2009

Green Dog Cafe in Columbia Tusculum

I went here in the fall, when it first opened. When we were there, we were just about the only customers. I think it will have a hard time making money. My gut tells me that the overhead is too high here to support this kind of restaurant. The location may be it's savior, as it certainly would never survive on the westside of town. The Yelp reviews concur with me. Quality is high, but the prices are too high for the lunch-type of food offered.


Interior finishes:

Anytime Fitness is next door:

11 November 2009

2 Paramedics and 4 Firemen

2 paramedics in an EMS vehicle and 4 men on a fire truck respond every time someone is reported passed out in the park. Doesn't this seem like overkill? Why not just send the paramedic?

Wall or Connection

For Veteran's day, and 20yrs after the fall of the wall:

Berlin's Bernauer Strasse one with the Berlin Wall in June 1968, and the same view on October 20, 2009 without the wall and with a streetcar track and wires.

Pictures found here (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

10 November 2009

Mumford Quote of the Day

A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.
-Lewis Mumford

09 November 2009

Nature Photos

Indulge me for a few non-urban photos. The bright sunlight made for beautiful pattern photos of rocks, water and leaves:

grass in crack

12" waterfall

wet grass flat rock

algae making bubbles of O2?

leaves in water

oak leaves

Sycamore with Honeysuckle

kids like trees with holes

ripples in water