The Best Sentences of the Week

By no means authoritative or comprehensive, here's a collection of noteworthy phrases, paragraphs, commentaries, observations, and more from the recent week in the planning and urbanism discussion.

3 minute read

October 10, 2014, 2:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"...it's as if Light has captured an act of topographical blackout—a whole landscape, redacted—as what should be hills and valleys are erased and obstructed by this imposed crystallography of settlements that never arrived."
From "Landscape, Redacted" for BLDG BLOG.

"It’s author, Thom Andersen, points out that Blade Runner’s version of L.A. in 2019 (!?) shows what is supposed to be dystopia but is closer to what many of us think cities should be like: Vibrant street life, with no cars, a multi-ethnic populace, and plenty of good noodle shops. It just happens to be controlled by Big Business and its replicants."
From "Downtown Dystopia" by Aaron Betsky for Architect

"This is one way that the conflagration of 'black = urban' comes to an end."
From "How 'Black=Urban' Ends" by Pete Saunders for Corner Side Yard Blog.

"Hardly anyone fears healthy, prosperous, and orderly cities, but when urban areas break down—New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina or, more dramatically, Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein—nothing is more anxiety-producing than other people. And a zombie contagion is the ultimate urban-disaster scenario."
From "The Walking Dead in an Age of Anxiety" by Michael J. Totten for City Journal

"Many things in Egypt don’t work very well. Traffic is bad, and trains get cancelled; during the summer, it’s not unusual to have five electricity blackouts in a single day. One year, we couldn’t buy bottled water for months, because the plant that produced the water somehow caught fire. Since we moved into the apartment, the country has cycled through three constitutions, three Presidents, four Prime Ministers, and more than seven hundred members of parliament. But there hasn’t been a single day when the trash wasn’t cleared outside my kitchen door."
From "Tales of the Trash" by Peter Hessler for The New Yorker.

"Downtown is home to what is probably the most awesome nature spectacle LA has to offer. Vaux’s swifts are small sickle-shaped birds that spend their days on the wing feeding on insects. Every spring they migrate from south of the Mexican border up the West Coast to their breeding grounds in the Pacific Northwest. In the fall, they stop off in LA for a breather on their way back. During the day, they hang out by the LA River and other open spaces, eating their fill of insects. But, every evening the group—which can range up to tens of thousands—comes home to roost in abandoned chimney shafts."
From "Looking for Nature in LA" by Lila Higgins and Emily Hartop for Boom: A Journal of California.

"Why is it that this is 'cool' for rich people but 'tough' for poor people?"
David Adjaye, as quoted in "Building Hope and Nurturing Into Housing" by Michael Kimmelman for The New York Times.

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

Green hills with orange California poppies in bloom in foreground in Chino Hills State Park, California.

Making California State Parks More Climate-Resilient

A recently released report offers recommendations for keeping state parks healthy and robust, including acquiring additional land for conservation and recreation.

6 minutes ago - Spectrum News 1

Purple buss pulls up to bus stop in green bus lane.

Nashville Proposes $3.1B Plan to Expand Bus System

The plan will hinge on voter approval of a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.

1 hour ago - Tennessean

Renewable Energy

Just Transition: Bringing Equity to the Clean Energy Conversation

A new report from the Environmental Defense Fund offers a roadmap for countries, energy companies, and other stakeholders to navigate the complexities of transitioning to clean energy while ensuring equity at every step of the process.

2 hours ago - Environmental Defense Fund

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