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City Beautiful 21 » About


Why start another urbanist blog? Aren’t there enough of them already? Maybe. Or perhaps we don’t have nearly enough.

Tanner Springs Park, PortlandThe truth is that every community has its own challenges and opportunities in becoming a better city, town, village, neighborhood or hamlet, and as much as there are several outstanding national blogs (check my blogroll) covering urban issues and many other terrific big-city-specific blogs, there are a finite number of lessons that large American cities can offer to places that are smaller. The problems on the ground are different, the scale of possible solutions is different, and the size of the resources available to get things done is different.

Carrboro Music FestivalWith that in mind, this blog is going to be first and foremost, an urbanist perspective on Carrboro, NC. It’s sometimes hard to talk about Carrboro without talking about Chapel Hill and Orange County more broadly, so expect to hear about them occasionally as well. Whenever possible, I will try to explain, gather or create new data sources that help people grapple with urban planning issues.

One of my key principles is a belief that better town-building and city-building outcomes reveal themselves when we discuss what we think we SHOULD do, rather than only identify and agree upon what we SHOULDN’T do. In that spirit, wherever I identify a concern or problem, I will try my best to identify an actionable proposal to address it in some fashion.

As to the blog title, I’ve always admired the City Beautiful movement of the earliest twentieth century for its big goals and unapologetic view that building cities and towns could better humankind while being beautiful, attractive, inspiring places, and I hope these pages become a place to discuss big goals for cities and towns in the 21st century.

Finally, let me emphasize that everything written by me here reflects only my own views, and not those of any other person, organization or institution.

Thanks for reading!


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