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Dusting off the Keyboard... Is This Thing Still On?

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Urbn Developments

October 19 · Issue #11 · View online
A semi-regular roundup of all things urbanism, economic development, and good old-fashioned city building.

The last thing I really wrote, like well and truly pained over, was eight paragraphs for the National Park Service. NPS, humbly tasked with “preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management,” (See Wikipedia) administers a number of conservation programs, ranging from the coulda-figured-that (training and managing national park rangers) to the definitely-on-the-GOP-chopping-block (an audio library cataloging national park soundscapes).
As per usual, though, my concern had a little more to do with buildings than parks (not a dig at parks btw–I think they add a ton of value to adjacent buildings ;). I found myself, second week back at Venue Projects, stumbling through an application to place two 60-year old buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, using jargon like fenestration, palette, and rectilinearity to opine about their respective eligibility under Criterion C as “prominent expressions of the Contemporary style, an approach to architect that, following the second World War, built an expressive and optimistic form upon the minimalist scaffold of the Modern Movement.”
Whew. 😅 Sure is easy to be long-winded when you’re out of practice.
Otherwise, it’s been awhile since I last lost myself to the keyboard. Indeed, it’s been at least a year since I last touched this newsletter, and more than a few people–you know who you are–haven’t let me forget it.
A lot happened over the last year, and I’m finally coming up for air. Cancer infiltrated my family, taking me to Michigan for weeks at a time. That hit me hard, but it also brought what matters most back into focus.
One day you’re juggling, speeding, sprinting and a phone call comes in, then you’re on a plane within hours and things just stop, like the universe just snaps its fingers and you come to attention. You know, fast and deep and forever, that you won’t find meaning in any of those unread emails. You just know things have changed.
Then my wife, who is, again as more than a few people have told me, a total keeper, accepted a tenure-track faculty spot at Arizona State, turning our crosshairs 1,900 miles west, all the way back to the Sun Devil Country from whence we came. That looming ahead, I worked with Domi’s Board of Directors to locate a new Executive Director. And, on top of it all, our small team of daring desperados finally pulled off the adaptive reuse of a midcentury gas station on Tallahassee’s southside.
And so the excuses for not hitting my word count pile on. The more I look for them, the more I’ll find.
No màs.
There’s a number of things I’ve wanted to explore through writing and reflection, things I never carved out time for over the last few years. Things like a retrospective on Happy Motoring’s redevelopment, lessons learned and such. A deeper look at my take on building startup communities, especially what I see as their analogous tie to themes and concepts present in open-source software development. Productive (let’s hope) rants about zoning policy. Et cetera. Et cetera.
If you’d like to come along for the ride, please stay subscribed and, if so moved, even share with others. If not, no hard feelings–just unsubscribe and I’ll exit your inbox stage left.
Incidentally, NPS agreed with the 8 paragraphs I mentioned before, however covered in dust and rust and other tired metaphors they were. We received what I am told they call in the business a “preliminary determination of eligibility.” Thus, we proceed. I’ll keep you posted on how it all plays out.
Happy Friday!
-Lucas
Urbn News Roundup
2018 Distressed Communities Index
Building Community in Booming Durham, NC
A Map of Every Building in America
The Phoenix Tech Story
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