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Reading: Made for Walking by Julie Campoli

Every so often I get a book to review that I keep repeating “Yes!” as I go through it, Made for Walking is that sort of book:

Landscape architect and urban designer Julie Campoli challenges our current notions of space and distance and helps us learn to appreciate and cultivate proximity. In this book, developed as a follow-up to Visualizing Density (2007, co-authored with aerial photographer Alex S. MacLean), she illustrates urban neighborhoods throughout North America with hundreds of street-level photographs.

Researchers delving into the question of how urban form affects travel behavior identify specific characteristics of place that boost walking and transit use while reducing VMT. In the 1990s some pinpointed diversity (of land uses), density, and design as the key elements of the built environment that, in specific spatial patterns, enable alternative transportation. After a decade of successive studies on the topic, these “three Ds” were joined by two others deemed equally important—distance to transit and destination accessibility—and together they are now known as the “five Ds.” Added to the list is another key player: parking.

This book should be required reading for everyone involved in neighborhoods, development, transit in the St. Louis region – especially St. Louis aldermen. Camponi articulates why it is beneficial to change land use patterns, accompanied by hundreds of images to make her points.

Cover of Made for Walking: Density and Neighborhood Form by Julie Camponi. Click image for the publisher's page
Cover of Made for Walking: Density and Neighborhood Form by Julie Camponi. Click image for the publisher’s page with free chapter download

One example I recognized immediately, the Coal Harbour area of Vancouver BC. Here the sidewalks in an area of new high rise buildings are pleasant because smaller-scale buildings front onto them, defining them.

ABOVE: The Coal Harbor area of Vancouver in 2003
ABOVE: The Coal Harbour area of Vancouver in 2003. Click image to view neighborhood in Google Maps.

Here is the chapter list:

  • Everything is somewhere else
  • Five Ds and a P
  • Neighborhood Form
  • Twelve places made for walking
  • Low-carbon neighborhoods
  • The shape of things to come
  • Good bones

Highly recommended!

— Steve Patterson


Reading: The Eckert Family Fall Cookbook: Apple, Pumpkin, Squash Recipes, and More

November 10, 2012 Books, Featured Comments Off on Reading: The Eckert Family Fall Cookbook: Apple, Pumpkin, Squash Recipes, and More

Fall is here, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. This year I’m hosting my friends I spend the holiday with. We’ve been together nearly every year for more than a decade now. Even though it’s potluck we all try to find something new and fun to bring to share with others.

This year I’ll likely make one of the recipes in a new local cookbook: The Eckert Family Fall Cookbook: Apple, Pumpkin, Squash Recipes, and More:

For decades, the St. Louis region’s most popular destination for pick-your-own produce has been Eckert’s Orchards. The Eckert family has been preparing delicious meals from foods grown on their farms for seven generations. Eating locally grown foods is a family tradition, and over the years, the family’s collection of delicious fall recipes has grown. From a classic apple butter that has been handed down for generations to a more modern preparation of pork with apple cider reduction, this cookbook has something for everyone. These tried and true family recipes are designed to allow the flavors of the season to shine through. Tips and techniques from the growing fields will ensure successful preparation of fresh ingredients while maximizing flavor. From fall squash to sweet potatoes to apples, these recipes provide inspiration for many memorable meals utilizing the delicious fall harvest. (Reedy Press)

Look for the book in local stores or order online.

— Steve Patterson


UrbanReviewSTL.com Turns Eight Today

October 31, 2012 Books, Featured 2 Comments

Eight years ago today I began writing UrbanReviewSTL.com, St. Louis’ oldest urban blog. The archives in the right sidebar show the entire history dating back to eight years ago today.

It’s hard to believe that eight years has passed? Time really does fly by when you’re having fun! I can’t imagine how I’d spend my time if I wasn’t blogging. Each day I look forward to photographing and writing.

I’ve not researched to see how St. Louis stacks up to other cities, but we’ve got lots of great blog on the built environment (see blogroll in right sidebar). In the poll last week I sought to know where these blogs are read:

Q: Where do you read local blogs? (check all that apply)

  1. At home 78 [47.27%]
  2. At work 48 [29.09%]
  3. On my smartphone/tablet on the go 27 [16.36%]
  4. At school 7 [4.24%]
  5. via users: 3 [1.82%]
  6. “Other” 2 [1.21%]

Home is the top answer but nearly a third read at work. The three answers supplied by readers:

  1. On Metro
  2. Since I have a home office, home and office get mixed.
  3. who cares?

As for the last one, I care that’s why I asked the question!

Since it’s halloween here are two great costumes for kids that use wheelchairs:

Happy Halloween and thank you so much for reading!

— Steve Patterson


Reading: To The Top! A Gateway Arch Story By Amanda E. Doyle, Illustrated By Tony Waters

October 27, 2012 Books, Featured Comments Off on Reading: To The Top! A Gateway Arch Story By Amanda E. Doyle, Illustrated By Tony Waters

Everyone loves the Arch, right? But kids especially seem curious about the monument, now there’s a book to help them understand it:

Take the children in your life on their own journey of discovery: tag along with Ella, her impatient little brother Jake, and their Grandpa as they explore the outside, inside, and very, very top of the Gateway Arch, on the Mississippi riverfront in St. Louis, Missouri. While Jake just wants to get to the top as fast as possible, Ella is intent on impressing Grandpa with everything she has learned about the landmark and its history. Together, the family discovers fascinating artifacts-a bison, a great grizzly bear, a tall statue of Thomas Jefferson-while Grandpa spins tales of his own memories, as a young man, of watching the Arch being built. More than just an architectural feat, the Arch embodies the history, culture, and spirit of westward expansion, exploration, and individual dignity. Don’t worry, they ?nally make it to the top . . . and what Jake wants then will resonate with your own young explorers! Amanda E. Doyle is an ardent St. Louis transplant, writes about the city for visitors and locals, and spends lots of time looking up with her own intrepid family. She is the author of the popular St. Louis title “Finally, a Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis, by and for St. Louisans, Neighborhood by Neighborhood.” (Reedy Press)

The book doesn’t address  the 40 city blocks that were cleared to make room for a monument before a competition was even held. That’s best left for a different book I suppose. This hardcover book is $16.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the final piece of the Arch going into place in 1965.

— Steve Patterson


Poll: Where Do You Read Local Blogs?

October 21, 2012 Books, Sunday Poll 3 Comments

Blogs are now mainstream information sources and St. Louis is fortunate to have blogs on nearly every topic imaginable. Hopefully UrbanReviewSTL.com is among your top St. Louis blogs but even if it isn’t I’m curious where you do your reading of blogs. Is it at work? Home? School? Mobile?

Vote in the weekly poll in the right sidebar, smartphone users switch to the full layout to vote. My guess is most read at work but we will see. results will be presented on Wednesday October 31st.

— Steve Patterson