cemetery stock

Cemeteries Offer Physical Distancing, Perspective & Nature / Jul 07

There’s nothing quite like a cemetery during a pandemic. For one thing, roaming among graves reminds me that bad as things are, I’m still alive. And healthy enough to walk. For another, cemeteries are typically empty (of other living souls, at least… mwoohahahaha). Physical distancing happens by default. And lastly, the oldest ones (with the most mature trees) […]



Storytelling Creates Inclusive Planning / Nov 27

A willingness to listen and amplify all voices may be our best chance to build trust between planning professionals and the neighborhoods that have often viewed them askance. It’s also an opportunity to contribute to places that truly reflect the people who live there. How can stories and places inform each other? Check out this brand-new editorial […]



Getting Around: When the Car-Free Become the Car-Full / Feb 05

When Tim Nevits gave up being car-free and bought a car, his family rejoiced. “I’m eccentric enough as it is,” says the fortysomething, stray-cat-adopting, tiny-house-dwelling computer programmer. “To them it was like I was coming back into the fold from one of my more eccentric indulgences.” He’d been living without a car for two and […]


Photo: James Jenkins, via

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: […]


The new Phoenix Coffee in Ohio City -- for now, great for taking refuge

Cleveland Coffee Shops: A Guide for Freelancers / Sep 03

At a certain point in one’s freelance career, somewhere between “sweet, I can work from home in my pajamas!” and renting, like, Real Office Space, there’s the coffee shop. Coffee shops provide many of the benefits of an office without the risks. You get to leave your house, drawing a distinct line between work and […]



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 […]



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 […]



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, […]


Munchen, Minnesota gets a reading

Munchen, Minnesota gets a reading / Jul 06

Last week, Christine and I got word that the pilot episode of our podcast series Munchen, Minnesota will get a featured workshop reading at Cleveland Public Theatre in August. Hooray! We finished writing the 11-episode first season last month, and have sent the scripts (some 400 pages) to a few generous “beta readers” for feedback. […]


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 […]


Mayors’ Caucuses as Regional Planning Tool

Mayors’ Caucuses as Regional Planning Tool / Jun 19

I attended the opening session of the CEOs for Cities Connected City conference this morning. The conference is being held in my hometown of Cleveland, at the new Ernst & Young tower and Aloft hotel. The shimmering waters of Lake Erie beyond a window full of mayflies provided the dramatic backdrop. The most exciting part […]



The wonder of Cleveland’s indie bookstores / Mar 26

Last night I went to Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry Road to drop off copies of Writing Without Hiding. The place was a hive of activity. Upstairs, a new writer’s group was meeting. Downstairs, people browsed for books — some undoubtedly on their way to or from a deliciously gloppy meal at Tommy’s. The checkout […]