Cities

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Mojave National Preserve, the ‘secret sibling’ to Death Valley / Apr 25

Considering its size, Mojave National Preserve, in far-eastern California, doesn’t get much attention. At 1.6 million acres, it’s the third-largest unit of the National Park Service in the continguous United States — but only gets about half a million visitors a year. Compare that to nearby Grand Canyon National Park, which at “only” 1.2 million […]


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Coasting through Cornwall / Sep 29

Cornwall’s spectacular coast path remains unknown to many Americans On about the 100th granite step above Port William, on Cornwall’s north coast, my boyfriend managed a few strangled words. “These people,” he panted, “are crazy.” I’m not sure whether he was referring to the builders of the trail we were hiking — the South West […]


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Audio, the most ’emotionally honest’ storytelling medium / Feb 01

I’m starting to produce audio pieces about people and places! Last month, I got to travel to St. John to participate in the week-long Transom Traveling Workshop. Transom is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people tell stories in the medium of audio, which Alex Blumberg calls the most emotionally honest storytelling format — because you’re actually hearing […]


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Road-tripping the Yucatan Peninsula / Aug 18

With the booming of the tourism industry along the so-called Riviera Maya — the 100-mile stretch of Carribean coast in southern Mexico centered around the resort city of Cancún — it’s easier than ever before to reach this warm and wondrous part of the world. There are direct flights to Cancún even from non-hub cities, […]


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Erie, Pa: You Fulfill Me / Mar 19

I never would have predicted that Erie, Pennsylvania would become my contemplative home away from home. I mean, Erie’s kind of a smaller version of Cleveland, where I live. It’s perched on the shore of Lake Erie. It’s got Victorian-era neighborhoods full of grit and beauty. It’s got hulking factories, many of which appear to […]


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Photo: James Jenkins, via greaterohio.org

The best urban parks are more immersive than pretty / Oct 07

The other day, after a work meeting, I walked through Washington Park in Cincinnati, on the edge of the city’s Over the Rhine district. A couple of work colleagues joined me. The six-acre park has just been redone, so it has sleek new benches and green green lawns and glass-and-hardwood bathroom huts. The weather’s beautiful: […]


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Kayaking the Cuyahoga: A How-To / Aug 27

There are few better ways to immerse yourself in the geology and nature of Northeast Ohio than to kayak the Cuyahoga River. Huh? Geology, nature, Northeast Ohio? In the same sentence? Well, yeah. The river flows through a full spectrum of landscapes, from farms to acres of national park woodland to the angry steel furnaces […]


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From Cleveland to Milwaukee: The allure of the mid-size city / Aug 14

Maggie, a fashion stylist and my Airbnb host in Milwaukee, stuffs a biking map and tourist guide to the city into my hands. Her two adopted Boston terriers wiggle and pant at my feet. “You’re gonna have a great time here,” she promises. “It’s a fun town.” I thank her, somehow balancing the maps and […]


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Cities and Work and Interdependence / Jul 24

The greatest of human satisfactions lies in working and playing cooperatively with other people. – Charles Montgomery, Happy City I love when I read something and it resonates with something I’ve been thinking myself. Montgomery writes about the importance of collaboration and cooperation in the context of what makes cities valuable. People living together, in […]


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Kayaking the Cuyahoga / Jul 17

Oooh, I’m excited. Next weekend I’ll be kayaking the whole length of the Cuyahoga from Kent, Ohio to Downtown Cleveland — a length of 50 miles in two days, with an overnight camp in between. The trip is organized by the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, “to promote the river as a shared regional asset for education, […]


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Exploring: Hartford, Connecticut / Jul 14

Hartford (founded 1637) doesn’t show up on too many people’s “must-see” lists. Heck, as I discovered during a recent stay with relatives near there, it doesn’t even rate very highly among Connecticuters. (Cuter than what? I’m not sure!) “There’s the Wadsworth Atheneum,” my uncle told me, referring to one of the country’s oldest art museums. […]


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Creative Placemaking: What Is the Dream That Is Big Enough?

Creative Placemaking: What Is the Dream That Is Big Enough? / Jul 01

With my friend and colleague, Seth Beattie, I’ve been thinking about new ways of doing urban planning. We’ve been testing out our ideas in weekly meetings and by preparing a response to an RFP. The RFP is to do a strategic planning process for Karamu House, on Cleveland’s East Side, along with the neighborhood that […]


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