Friday, August 28th, 2009

Midwest Miscellany

Fast Food and the Midwest

Buffalo Rising pointed us at a Men’s Health magazine survey of cities that eat the most and least fast food.

Eats the Most Fast Food:

  • #6 Indianapolis

Eats the Least Fast Food:

  • #1 Buffalo
  • #3 Pittsburgh
  • #9 Louisville
  • #10 Cleveland

Time Magazine Camps Out in Detroit

Time Magazine has purchased a house in Detroit and is planning to have some of its reporters live there as a sort of Detroit Bureau to write about the city’s challenges and efforts to reinvent itself. Reporters could be based there for a couple of years or more.

It will be interesting to see whether this leads to great depth and sophistication of reporting about the city. A lot of times people like to parachute in, take some pictures of Michigan Central Station, and head out. An article in Vice Magazine (h/t @MWEditor) subtitled “Lazy Journalists Love Pictures of Abandoned Stuff” (warning: this article is fine, but can be NSFW) complains about how people come to Detroit only to validate a pre-conceived narrative and ignore anything that doesn’t fit with it.

Of course, there are many legitimate problems in Detroit, such as the 48 vacant buildings “blighted” downtown. Vacant buildings are a problem to be sure, but I’m not sure I’d use the word blighted. Detroit has a treasure trove of pre-war high rises and other great buildings that could, if developed, be a big asset. The pressure to “do something” often leads to pressure to demolish, which in fact simply leaving the building vacant with minor repairs might be a better way to bank the asset.

And the Toronto Globe and Mail reports that Detroit is down but not out.

Lastly, I can’t resist falling prey a bit to the Vice critique by posting this amazing slide show from James D. Griffioen called “The Feral Houses of Detroit“. Here’s a sample:

A Contrary Take on Pittsburgh

American Dirt asks some interesting questions about the Pittsburgh renaissance. This photo sums it up:

This house is in a neighborhood with dramatic views of downtown Pittsburgh from nearby hills, yet appears to struggle. The author contrasts with San Francisco or other places where such dramatic views would command premium pricing.

Vision for Kiener Plaza in St. Louis

Architecture firm HOK did a pro-bono conceptual design for Kiener Plaza on the Gateway Mall in St. Louis. I believe this site is adjacent to the City Garden.

Click for a slide show.

I think it looks cool at first look. Via StL Urban Workshop.

Enrique Peñalosa and the New American City

Here’s a video from the always entertaining Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogota, Columbia (famous for busways and bike paths), talking about the American city. If you don’t see the video, click here.

Building a Better Think Tank had an amusing graphic about Richard Florida’s think tank in Toronto:

National and International Roundup

Joel Kotkin says we need “new radicals” in America.

Some thoughts on creative cities in the 21st century. (via @commers)

Transport for America has a map showing all the transit cuts and fare hikes in America. On a more positive note, here are some interesting subway maps. And states seek a slice of high speed rail stimulus money.

The winner of the People’s Choice award in the Re-burbia competition was the “Urban Sprawl Repair Kit“.

Ed Morrison has an interesting graph of the strategic process.

The New York Times has more on the Lake Lanier situation in “Atlanta Pitted Against Neighbors in Battle Over Water“.

And the New York Fed has some great charts of county by county credit conditions in America. (via @jwalkersmith)

More Midwest

A user named “scutter” has a great Indianapolis photo series over at flickr.

Funds filling potholes and repaving roads (John Hilkevitch @ Chicago Tribune)
Group ok’s downtown changes through 2020 (Sun Times)
Artists courted for ideas factory (Tribune)

Cleveland Museum of Art’s new director brings impressive resume (Plain Dealer)
Mayor Frank Jackson believes citizens think city is heading the right direction (Plain Dealer)

Urban farmer uniquely brings life to Detroit (Laura Berman @ Detroit News)
Bing targets Detroit city workers perks (Detroit News)

Costs grow for I-69 extension project (Indy Star)
Historic US 40 gets a polish (Indy Star)
Where the canal walk first went wrong (American Dirt) – excellent piece

Bridges delay risks flexibility for smaller projects (C-J)
Jeffersonville considers innovative canal district (Broken Sidewalk)
Students propose a Shippingport renaissance (Broken Sidewalk)
Smoketown to be transformed by $200 million Hope VI grant (Broken Sidewalk)

Trucks to be diverted from some Zoo interchange ramps (Journal-Sentinel)

A peak at Pittsburgh’s post-industrial peers (Post-Gazette)

Twin Cities
Towns rethink plans to enhance communities (Star Tribune)

Topics: Architecture and Design
Cities: Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Louis

4 Responses to “Midwest Miscellany”

  1. Randy Simes says:

    Not much Cincinnati coverage on here recently. That's too bad because a lot has been going on:

    UC landscape architect becomes one of first accredited green roof professionals in the world

    Brandt Retail Group opening downtown office, creating urban focus

    Cincinnati to begin work on first city-wide comprehensive plan in nearly three decades

    City of Cincinnati intends to be fully counted for 2010 Census with new task-force group

    Cincinnati arts groups land piece of the pie

    Wagner piece to push Cincinnati Opera’s skill, strategy

    Eatery Senate to preside over Cincinnati's Gateway Quarter

    Housing for homeless addicts could set Cincinnati precedent

  2. AmericanDirt says:

    Thanks for the link to my post! The picture of the feral house in Detroit is gorgeous. I don't know if that's kudzu; it doesn't quite look like it. I wouldn't think it would grow that far north, but it almost reminds of me of some of the houses in New Orleans that succumbed to Katrina, only this Detroit photo is far, far more advanced.

  3. Lynn Stevens says:

    Thanks for the great links. Although I had seen some, the the Feral Houses of Detroit (BTW, readers should look at the whole slide show), most I had not.

    Particularly enjoyed the Florida think tank graphic and the strategic planning one, which I will return to to read more of the discussion there.

  4. Anonymous says:

    That Pittsburgh house that "sums it up" isn't even around anymore… it has been replaced by a condo building.

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