Passive Aggressive

April 5, 2017 Economics, Sustainability, Vision and Style Comments (1) 781

Passive Aggressive behavior is a terrible character failing.  It is a sign of immaturity or stunted development.  I know something of this and work to avoid it.

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The Value of Heritage

February 4, 2017 Economics, Sustainability, Texas Comments (0) 496

When a lover of history, architecture, or neighborhoods sees an historic building or district, they value it.  They want to save it, to preserve that value. Continue Reading

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Real Estate 2017

January 27, 2017 Blog, Economics, Historic Districts, Technology Comments (1) 432

I attended a recent ULI event here in San Antonio that outlined emerging trends in  real estate.  I was struck by how much the factors they identified tracked with my own prognostications in November during my Partners speech in Houston at the National Trust conference.

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Concrete Culture and the One-Trick Pony

May 15, 2016 Blog, Chicago Buildings, Economics Comments (0) 253

Everyone in every borough goes to the Met, right?

I was going to write a blog about the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, now that I have been on hand to witness its demise on two waterfronts, one saltwater, one freshwater.  I spoke to fierce advocates, including a friend who was on the committee that selected the Chicago site south of Soldier Field.  I wondered why advocates had not developed a clear vision of what the museum was supposed to be, and I wondered whether lakefront museums designed for international tourists ever really serve the local population. Continue Reading

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The Vacant Stare

April 26, 2016 Blog, Chicago Buildings, Economics Comments (0) 230

Nothing to see here, move along, please.

In my last blog, I took the new leaders of historic Oak Park to task for forgetting why the Village is an attractive place and proposing the demolition of three nice old buildings (one of which definitely rates as a landmark) on Madison Street.  The proposed demolition is part of a road-bending plan that completely redeveloped several blocks. Continue Reading

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Oak Park Amnesia

April 20, 2016 Blog, Chicago Buildings, Economics Comments (4) 355

Oak Park Avenue in the 1970s

Well I have been back in Oak Park for over half a year now, and it just got listed as the coolest suburb in the Chicago area, in large part for its incredible historic architecture (over two dozen buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright – more than ANYWHERE, and tons more by other Prairie architects) and a rising restaurant and nightlife scene.

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Panama Papers and Preservation

April 5, 2016 Blog, Economics Comments (1) 292

A home last summer in my former hometown of Los Gatos.  $3 million.  That is normal in Silicon Valley.  In fact, in Palo Alto, the median home price is well over $2 million.

I am going to jump on current events, namely the release of terabytes of data from Panama implicating an international host of politicians and businesspeople and celebrities in whacking great amounts of money laundering.  These range from the obvious beneficiaries of oligarchy like the Russian and Pakistani leadership to the unexpected (Iceland?) and I am sure the contortionist rhetoricians of our endless political winter will try to tie in some of our own candidates and their corporate backers.  I of course will focus on preservation. Continue Reading

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Main Street and Community Preservation

February 13, 2016 Economics, Historic Districts, Sustainability Comments (0) 204

This coming week I will be lecturing about Main Street, a National Trust for Historic Preservation initiative that began in the 1970s as a way to help preserve historic downtowns throughout America in communities of every size.  This was in the era when suburban shopping malls had become the centerpiece of American life, drawing attention and dollars away from the smaller shops and services of the old downtowns. Continue Reading

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Historic Districts, Economics and Misconceptions

January 30, 2016 Blog, Economics, Historic Districts Comments (6) 241

Everybody loves them some locktender’s houses

One of the interesting facts about the heritage conservation field is that it does not track neatly with political persuasions.  My first day of work in 1983 saw the legislation creating the first national heritage area co-sponsored by every single member of the Illinois Congressional delegation, bar none.  Imagine. Continue Reading

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Chautauqua: Where America spoke

November 12, 2015 Economics, Sustainability, Technology Comments (1) 230

“I must protest against the dismemberment of Chautauqua.”

  • Letter to William Rainey Harper from John Heyl Vincent, 4 July 1899.

I stumbled across this nugget while researching other matters regarding George Vincent and William Rainey Harper, the first President of the University of Chicago.  Vincent’s father John Heyl Vincent was a founder of Chautauqua, which as you may know, is a place in New York state that evolved from a Sunday School into a nationwide educational movement. Continue Reading

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