Tag Archives: Scott Doyon

Hardiplank: Get into the Groove?

In 2006 I was in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, for a planning event. On display downtown at the time was the prototype Katrina Cottage and a number of us spent one evening there conducting a spontaneous test of its ability to host a party. At some point, I ended up on the porch with a prominent new urban architect and, noting the cottage’s smooth Hardiplank siding, asked him, “Why do you think people always seem to choose the Hardiplank with faux woodgrain when the smooth is so much more natural and attractive looking?”

His response: “I don’t know. Vulgarity?”

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Pedestrian Malls are So 20th Century

I don’t like pedestrian malls. There, I said it. And it’s not because there aren’t some good ones, because clearly there are.

Let me explain. By the mid 60s, America’s race to the suburbs had left many downtowns in tough shape. Once vibrant streets, alive with the sounds of community and commerce, began to find themselves empty and foreboding after 5pm. And not that it mattered either, because the streets themselves — increasingly reengineered over the preceding decade to expedite the daily flow of workers into and out of the city — were no longer a place where any rational person would ever want to be anyways.

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Filed under Economic Development, Planning and Design, Public Policy

200,000: What’s in a number?

Last October, I wrote a piece commemorating a PlaceShakers milestone — 100,000 reads — which took us 32 months to amass. Today, I write to mark our next one: 200,000. This time, it took less than 8 months.

Clearly something is up.

If reads are increasing, that means interest is increasing. If interest is increasing, then I want to know why. Specifically, exactly what are people interested in?

The answer’s in the traffic stats. And what you find there is not all that surprising.

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Filed under Planning and Design