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For a variety of reasons, I have decided to self host this blog. The new url is:  Please update your bookmarks and any blogroll you have that uses the old link.

Sorry for any inconvenience, but self-hosting allows me several enhancements that will significantly enhance the blog.


Recent Readings: October 24-29

From my personal site

A curation of what’s caught my attention over the past week:

  • Bad Example (or why we fail to adapt good examples): Attempts to answer the question “Why do so many places seem unable to learn even from their own successes, much less others?”  Key quote: “The mark of a great city is in how it treats its ordinary spaces, not its special ones.”
  • Gary Vaynerchuk Live on Crush It Tour (Video): A link to a video recording of a special Gary Vee’s presentation hosted by Doug Sutton with Keller Williams Realty East Valley. I admit that I was skeptical at first, but seeing him speak in front of two different audiences on Tuesday night made me a believer. Though his message was largely the same, he carefully tailored it to the different audience, keeping it fresh and interesting (if anything I though the second time was better suited to me personally, even with the lack of his trademark  ‘colorful language’.)  Gary is truly somebody who gets it. Not just business, or social media, or family, or community, but ALL of it.  If you follow the link to my friend Jay Thompson’s site and leave a comment on Jay’s original post, you can win a copy off Gary’s bestselling book Crush It!.
  • What Jane Jacobs Can Teach Us About the Economy: Jane Jacobs is well known for her contribution to urban thought.  After all, she recently led Planetizen’s recent Top 100 Urban Thinkers poll.   She is less well-known for her insights into economics, although that is quickly changing.  Here ‘s an overview of some of Jane’s economic notions and how they resonate during this recession.
  • Halloween Costumes for Urban Planners: And for a bit of fun to mark the end of October, here are some Halloween costume ideas from Planetizen’s Nate Berg for the incurable urbanist.

Jane Jacobs, Economist

“What Jane Jacobs Can Teach Us About the Economy” (full article here)

Most know Jane Jacobs as the ultimate champion of cities, who stood up against neighborhood demolition and saw a vibrant ballet where others saw urban squalor. But three years since her death — and a year into a downturn marked by bailouts, foreclosures and sky-high unemployment — her economic vision has come into the spotlight.

From Miller–McCune Online Magainze.

More Jane’s Walk Phoenix Photos

Here are some more pictures from Jane’s Walk Phoenix on May 2, 2009.  Thanks again to Jack London, Nick Bastien (Rail Life), and David Bickford (PHXRailFood) for sharing their photos.

At Roosevelt Park

At Roosevelt Historic Park



'Celebrities' mural on 5th Ave in Roosevelt neighborhood

'Celebrities' mural on 5th Ave in Roosevelt neighborhood

Cibo Urban Pizzeria: great example of adaptive (and mixed) use.

Cibo Urban Pizzeria: great example of adaptive (and mixed) use

A victim of the economic downturn?

A victim of the economic downturn?

The Moeller Building was converted in 2000 into Phoenix first ever loft condominiums.

The Moeller Building was converted in 2000 into Phoenix first ever loft condos

A sideways view of the Echelman sculpture at Phoenix Civic Spac

A sideways view of the Echelman sculpture at Phoenix Civic Spac

ASU's Cronkite School of Journalism

ASU's Cronkite School of Journalism

Kimber Lanning talks about the 'dark days of downtown'.  The Westward Ho is in the background

Kimber Lanning talks about the 'dark days of downtown.' The Westward Ho is in the background

215 E McKinley. A recent example of mixed use (Moira Sushi is on ground floor)and mixed income living

215 E McKinley. A recent example of mixed use (Moira Sushi is on ground floor) and mixed income living

Jane’s Walk Phoenix Recap


Gathering at Portland Park

  The inaugural Jane’s Walk Phoenix was a huge success.   Over thirty people took advantage of the nice weather to come out and celebrate Jane Jacobs and learn more about the neighborhoods of downtown phoenix.  The intimate size of the group allowed people to meet one another and share stories, history and gossip about the streets, parks and building that we passed during the walk.  Special thanks goes to Cartina Knoebl, Greg Esser and Kimber Lanning for sharing their knowledge and insights along the route, as well as all the participants for  their great questions and observations., As I’ve said from the beginning, it’s the participants who are the true guides of the walk.  Special thanks also to Jack London, Nick Bastien (Rail Life), and David Bickford (PHXRailFood) for taking photos along the way.


Let's "Get out and Walk!"


During the walk we learned about the good (adaptive use sites like Morin House and Modified Arts),  saw some of the bad (boarded up buildings and deserted streets) and heard about some of the ugly truths (land-banking) about the Roosevelt and Churchill neighborhoods.. We also talked about the responsibilities each one of us has to make sure that downtown Phoenix (or any neighborhood) is the type of place YOU want to live. I think each person who took part learned something new, even those who have spent years living downtown.  Moreover, and more important, everybody got the opportunity to meet somebody new, building and strengthening the downtown community.  After all, the strength of any neighborhood is the connections between the people who live, work and play in it.



Roosevelt Park



Morin House, recently moved from Evans Neighborhood and restored. Now the new home of a small business.


'1895' House (built in 1897!) Patiently waiting for the next chapter of it's life (hopefully one that doesn't involve a wrecking ball!)


Catrina shares her knowledge with a Light Rail station in background


Seeking shade in the new Civic Space Park, under the watchful eye of Janet Echelman's 'Her Secret is Pateince'


Crossing the street


Mural (in progress) celebrating Valley Youth Theater



In front of adaptive use project (and new HQ of Patry Residential LLC)


Neighborhood garden

Neighborhood garden and community scarecrow



Yuri, Kimber, Nick, Catrina and David in front of Modified Arts (another great adaptive use project)

Tips for Jane’s Walkers

From our SF counterpart  Jane’s Walk: 94117, Nancy McClure:

1. Wear comfortable shoes! Please plan for your foot comfort accordingly!

2. Bring your A Game! We want this to be a discussion, NOT a ‘tour’! We’ve dug up juicy facts about the ‘hood, and will be armed with Jane Jacob’s insight, but the REAL focus of the walk is in the EXPERIENCE. We expect different perspectives and opinions from everyone who participates, and hope that you’ll share ‘em as we stroll along!

3. Bring water and a sweater! [no sweater needed in Phoenix but a hat would be a good idea!]

Phoenix New Times: See Jane Walk

Jane’s Walk has been profield in the New Times.  

See Jane Walk

Urban trek puts community in motion

By Jose Gonzalez

See Jane Walk

You’re melting in traffic and you know that there must be a better way. There’s just gotta be. Jane Jacobs felt your pain, too, and her ideas will be brought to life with the inaugural Jane’s Walk Phoenix. The Pennsylvania-born urbanist/activist, who died in 2006, wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities, a 1961 book that remains one of the most influential tomes on urban planning. The informal walking tour will be fueled by locals sharing observations and neighborhood history in one of the most walkable parts of downtown, while at the same time emphasizing people and their interactions as a community as the basis of great cities. Jane’s Walk Phoenix leaves at 9 a.m. from Portland Park and will pass by supercool sites like the Roosevelt Arts District, the Westward Ho, and the new Downtown Civic Space Park.

Thanks Jose!