Reading and Writing

I haven’t had much time lately that I could use for focused reading and writing. I’ve been collecting articles, magazines, essays, papers, quotes, etc. in the hopes of having time to actually read them and write down some of my thoughts. I finally have some of that time whilst working here in El Paso for a week. I’ve just started getting into my backlog, and I want to share at least two great things I’ve already bookmarked.

The first is a comment from Steve Mouzon (@stevemouzon) from a wrap-up of CNU20 (Congress for the New Urbanism 20 – I am a member of CNU):

“The problem is that we feel pressure to design sexy plans. We need to detach ourselves from the romance of the plan, and care about the romance of place.” I really agree with his sentiment. The romance of place is what always encourages me to go back to a city, town, neighborhood, etc. We planners tend to want to create grand plans that become very prescriptive. Instead, we need to focus on the bare-bones and allow encourage people to create places that entice people back, again and again.

The second comment is from Jim Wrinn, Editor of Trains Magazine, in his “From the Editor” section in the March 2013 issue:

“I’d love to see more food choices and more retail stores in and around U.S. railway stations, but I know that isn’t going to happen without thousands of more customers: Passenger counts at most American stations for an entire calendar year are only a fraction of what most commercial airports see in a day or two.

“Some American railway stations, like Richmond, Va., and Minneapolis-St. Paul, are located in industrial zones miles from downtown areas. Maybe increasingly popular (and good quality) food trucks could visit close to train time?”

I’ve never felt that my loves of urban planning and railroad transportation were all that far apart, but it makes me even happier when my interests directly interact. Railway station design and location are directly related to physical planning, and the amenities that are part of or around them, are certainly related to economic development and the softer side of planning.

That’s all I have for now – I need to get back to reading 4 more issues of Trains, two issues of JAPA (Journal of the American Planning Association), one issue of TME (The Military Engineer), two issues of APWA (American Public Works Association) Reporter, the Midtown Urban Renewal Plan, the OKC Streetcar route proposals, final draft of the OKC Vacant and Abandoned buildings study, the and a summary of the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) report on the Joplin tornado. Tons of fun!

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