Ideas. Cities. Social Innovation.

My latest is a follow-up to the look at Canada’s metros with vibrant indie music scenes:

Atlantic and Pacific metros stood out in the previous rankings, and it’s no surprise that Charlottetown and Fredericton rank high here. The two Atlantic CAs rank higher in concentration than all but four CMAs (Halifax, Victoria, Vancouver, Guelph).

My latest post, on the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce embracing walkability and transit as necessary business infrastructure:

For older cities like Hamilton, this provides an opportunity, as they developed around a time when density was greater in new developments than it has been in recent decades, thus providing in most cases a greater stock of already (or easily convertable) walkable areas. It’s proximity to Toronto (it’s connected by GO Train) and other major centers can serve as an additional competitive asset. 

From Urban Branding: The Evolution of Kansas City’s Graphic Identity.

The Roots get their own mural as part of Philly’s Mural Arts program. As a fan, I love seeing them recognized.

Related - my photos from Philly include a number of mural shots.

My latest:

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ve probably gathered that – while not inherently opposed to mega-projects – I am often skeptical of their value and actual vs. promised benefits. I tend to think that smaller, more creative investments can often yield greater returns. Having seen successful catalyst/anchor tenant projects in other cities, I think the key is for them to be built in scale with the surrounding environment, rather than overwhelming it. But I also believe, as I said, there are creative, cost-effective ways to improve the livability of an area as well. If you think of Whyte Avenue, High Street, and 4th Street Promenade – to my mind Edmonton’s three most successful examples of success in the city core, you’d be hard pressed to name an anchor tenant or single driving project for any of the three. Rather, the sum product of various small(er) businesses and amenities is what makes each area so great.

“Hip-hop is such a survival-based art form,” the drummer says. “If you are strictly in this industry making music, and that’s it, you are on a very thin line. You have to supplement. We’re just in a lucky position, now that there’s other means through which we can make a living and survive.” While most of the industry laments the death of the big deal and declining record sales, Questlove sees the other side of the shift—with the CD no longer the center of a band’s universe and sole revenue stream, there’s room to explore other creative outlets.

The 5.4-metre tall, 360-kilogram totem pole stood in front of the CFRN studios for about 30 years, but when the building was renovated in 1989, it was discarded as trash.

Fortunately, a local sculptor rescued it while dumpster diving for scrap metal. After the artwork changed hands a few times, former CFRN employees raised money to buy it back and donated it to the Royal Alberta Museum in 2010.

Though I only realized it recently, I’ve been looking at Philadelphia with Strauss’s eyes ever since that first I-95 exhibition. What I mean is that when I look at some of Philadelphia’s saddest or strangest scenes now, I don’t feel pity but have inherited Strauss’s sense of compassion and wonder. Sometimes, even in the toughest situations, it seems like Strauss wants you to laugh with her subjects. “This is humanity,” Strauss seems to be saying, “and isn’t amazing?”