Biophilic Cities

I live on the edge of a metropolitan area. To the east are a couple of undeveloped mesas, some agricultural lands, and suburbs stretching the twenty miles or so into urban Denver. West, the mountains rise abruptly over two thousand feet in a couple of stages. The mountain face (Front Range) is mostly open, but […]

Made in the Shade

This is how it typically goes with solar arrays: We build them on open space rather than in developed areas. That is, they overwhelmingly occupy croplands, arid lands, and grasslands, not rooftops or parking lots.                                                 ~ Richard Conniff I live in the shadow of Lookout Mountain, part of Colorado’s Front Range, and from the top […]

Evolving

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and […]

Ecological Landscaping

“He was as happy as a 12-year-old, trying to see what Mother Nature does there and then work it into a design … Science has kind of divorced itself from spirituality and emotion, but Darrel cultivates that experiential side of what landscapes evoke in us.”                                 ~ Ulrich Lorimer about landscape architect Darrel Morrison Nature […]

Close to Home

“Cities are the 21st century’s dominant form of civilization — and they’re where humanity’s struggle for survival will take place … Half the planet’s population lives in cities. They are the world’s engines, generating four-fifths of the global GDP … As the economist Ed Glaeser puts it, ‘we are an urban species.’”                                                 ~ Robert Muggah and […]

Roof Deserts

My small town on the outer edge of the Denver metro area is beginning to experience a push for more housing — particularly for affordable housing. This is driving developers to construct dense multi-family apartments and condos on vacant lots and on clusters of what would have been single-family home lots. There is much concern […]

“I Wonder What the Poor People are Doing”

We would sit on the ground or on the pickup tailgate taking a break from following the dogs to hunt quail. Even though it was fall, the Texas heat and humidity were still high, and pushing through the brush and weeds over rough terrain required some effort. Our gear was heavy, and the thick brush-resistant […]

Like Legos

“… it was all about refurbishing and reusing existing buildings. Wainright’s meaning is much more sophisticated; we may not keep every building forever, but if they are designed for deconstruction we can keep using all the parts. That’s the way to truly ban demolition.” ~ Lloyd Alter It was a hard lesson for a young […]

Home, Home in the Mall

Christmas shopping used to be a delight. The decorations, fake snow and Christmas trees, incessant Christmas music, kids lined up to see Santa and his elf and maybe a few reindeer — it was all a pageant of wonderful dreams. The sidewalks were crowded with shoppers loaded with bags and boxes and the ever-present Salvation […]

The Opportunity of The Retail Apocalypse

“They paved paradise And put up a parking lot Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘Till it’s gone” ~ Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi It was basically a 50’s strip mall that occupied two sides of a square block, with room for plenty of parking in the middle […]