Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thus begins...

Having moved to the remarkable city of Hudson, New York two months ago, I will be using this blog to provide graphic and written commentary on the physical design and planning of my new home town. I am a practicing architect and urban designer, so I will aim to provide a professional perspective on topics from specific buildings or details (e.g., suggestions on improving an unattractive or underperforming storefront) to major projects and sites (e.g. Bliss Tower) to large-scale planning issues (the LWRP, truck route, open space, hospital growth, etc.). At other times I will offer a more general commentary on American urbanism, or I might discuss how architects and planners think about urban design problems. Along the way, I will be trying to get up to speed on Hudson's social and political terrain; I hope a few readers will show up and help me get this on straight.

My commentary won't be neutral, which no one in this city really seems to expect of those around them anyway. I like urbanism that is truly alive, and I err toward messiness over tidiness if it helps a city become a richer, more inclusive place. I love historic buildings, but I also believe in freedom of architectural expression--wouldn't it be better if people made good buildings on their own rather than being told how to do it by government?--and think Hudson would benefit from having a few provocative modernist buildings. I'm an outspoken advocate for home-based business enterprise, and I want to see more of Hudson's residents--particularly those on the economic margins--become business owners in their homes and economic players in the community.

Incidentally, I wrote a short article on Hudson for Architect magazine, a national publication, last year; you can read it here. I've already been told by one Hudsonite (Hudsonian?) that I got some things on wrong. I also wrote a piece on "messy urbanism" for Architecture Boston Magazine; it is here. And the next time you wander over to the Spotty Dog, you might see 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School or one of the other books in my 101 Things I Learned series... many thanks to Kelley Drahushuk for getting them in stock.

Thank you, Hudson, for reading. I am looking forward to getting to know you much better.

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