Monday, October 30, 2006

Barreling ahead

Just back from Denver (Urban Land Institute, Placematters conferences), a city that never fails to impress in the reinvention of urban infill spaces, whether Stapleton, failed shopping centers like Bel-Mar, or the Brownfields slated to become transit-oriented development sites for the expanded light rail system. USA Today's Haya El Nasser has an oustanding piece on how this kind of development will be needed in the years ahead as the country grows to 400 million Off again for Las Vegas and the Land Development West conference, talking about how we've got to change our physical arrangements to make a dent in the global warming crisis and for energy independence -- but the good news is, the American consumer is already starting to demand urbanism, for its energy efficiency and its amenities. Finally, Keith Schneider writes for the New York Times on cities tearing down freeways and replacing them with a regular street grid which leads me, seamlessly, to what in journalism is the sin known as "burying the lede": I sold my next book proposal. It's on Jane Jacobs taking on Robert Moses in Greenwich Village and SoHo during the 1960s, including her successful fight against the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway along Broome Street. My wife, just back from her 10-city book tour ( and I walked through the Village just this past weekend, through Washington Square Park and along Hudson Street where Jacobs lived. We also ducked into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority museum in Brooklyn, where a mostly positive exhibit on Robert Moses and the construction of the Triboro Bridge is still running. The book will trace this David and Goliath story in rich detail; it will be published by Random House in 2008.