Matthew M. Robare is a freelance journalist based in Boston who writes about urbanism and history.
This article was supported by a grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
Words on the Street highlights the best writing on cities we’ve encountered this week at New Urbs. Post tips at @NewUrbs.
Dr. Nikos A. Salingaros is a long time critic of the architectural establishment…. [He writes] On the disconnect between our bodies and our buildings: “It occurred at the beginning of the 20th Century, in a deliberate break with the past, breaking away from our own nature. Mechanization following violent social revolution required that we disown our biological nature, so the buildings of the future were meant for machines, not humans. Once the Second World War ended, the industries producing glass, steel, and cars threw their enormous weight behind this new vision of the world. Our society inherited and continues to abide by that worldview.” [Read more…]
—Nikos A. Salingaros, Common Edge
Georgetown Heritage, a nonprofit organization formed to rethink the one-mile, nine-acre portion of the canal in Georgetown, has hired the architect of Manhattan’s High Line in hopes of creating an equally buzzy, reimagined urban park along the now-staid industrial strip of land. It’s part of a broader plan to once again make the historic neighborhood a leading destination in the city amid competition from other booming neighborhoods…. “It is a little like the High Line in New York in that it’s an overlooked place,” said Corner, founder of James Corner Field Operations, which designed the High Line in the Chelsea neighborhood. “The whole idea of the High Line is to amplify what is already there.” [Read more…]
—Perry Stein, Washington Post
Like Boston’s last citywide plan, released in 1965, Imagine Boston 2030 proclaims Boston a “City of Ideas.” But virtually everything else about the new plan is different, because so much has changed in Boston, in cities generally, and in the way planning addresses urban challenges. The last Boston plan was completed at the peak of urban renewal, an era of city-making and un-making fueled by federal programs for highway building and “slum clearance.” That muscular approach to city-making didn’t end well — and the rise and abrupt fall of Boston 2024 [Olympic bid] brought back awkward memories of this top-down style of planning…. Urban planning, as we once knew it, is over. The current urban revival happened with no master plan and no national urban policy framework, mostly through the “invisible hand” of market forces. An amalgam of development approvals, incentives, and exactions has arisen in the past several decades, largely in place of planning, to harness this private initiative to serve public policy goals. Imagine Boston and other recent urban plans acknowledge this change. These plans express an attitude toward growth, rather than fostering the illusion that cities can or should just decree what’s going to happen where. [Read more…]
—Matthew Kiefer, Boston Globe
[T]he Green Line is the most popular of the Twin Cities’ two light-rail lines, carrying 40,000 people on weekdays, smashing ridership forecasts by almost 50 percent. It carries college students and immigrants, professional and retail workers, and links college campuses, hospitals and the Minnesota state Capitol (in St. Paul) to both of the downtowns. Less than three years since it opened, it has already helped to revitalize stretches of University Avenue, an aging, formerly car-dominated thoroughfare, as new businesses open near the stations and longtime businesses there attract new customers. Transit-dependent low-income and working-class people are commuting to jobs across the metro area, while new housing for professionals is springing up in an old industrial area. And the Twin Cities aren’t done. Planned expansions would more than double light rail’s reach, taking the Green Line and its counterpart, the 13-year-old Blue Line, straight through Minneapolis to the western suburbs and beyond. [Read more…]
—Erick Trickey, Politico Magazine
Bicycling through Boston’s twisting, traffic-clogged streets may seem more about self-preservation than spiritual enlightenment. For the Rev. Laura Everett, her daily 6-mile commute is a way of connecting to her adopted city, its residents, and her sense of community and vulnerability. Instead of hopping on the subway and popping up in another part of town, Everett said, bicycling has exposed her to the warp and weft of Boston’s neighborhoods and the people who animate them. It’s also led her to a new sense of spirituality and inspired her to turn her experiences into a new book, “Holy Spokes: The Search for Urban Spirituality on Two Wheels.” [Read more…]
—Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press
Words on the Street highlights the best writing on urbanism we’ve encountered this week at New Urbs. Post tips at @NewUrbs.
There is a fair amount of research suggesting that traditional architecture, such as Georgian and Victorian terraces and mansion blocks, contributes to our wellbeing. Beauty makes people happy. This can be measured through house prices, which consistently show bigger increases for more traditional buildings. A study from the Netherlands showed that ‘even controlling for a wide range of features, fully neo-traditional houses sell for 15 per cent more than fully non-traditional houses. Houses with references to tradition sell for 5 per cent more.’ London terraced houses built before the First World war went up in value by 465 per cent between 1983 and 2013, compared to 255 per cent for post-war property of the same type. Beauty sells, but because it’s rare, it’s exclusive. [Read more…]
—Ed West, The Spectator
Picture yourself on a bustling commercial street in a hip neighborhood of a newly revived city. You cruise the sidewalk, checking out the businesses that line the glitziest block or two. Here’s what you’re likely to see: a high-end restaurant with pricey small plates and an ambitious chef; a gourmet pizzeria with locally sourced toppings; an artisanal yogurt shop; a microbrewery; and a coffeehouse. And maybe another coffeehouse. A thought pops into your head: This isn’t a business district, at least not in the old-fashioned sense. This is a food corridor. Scarcely any commerce other than restaurants exists here. What we’re talking about is café urbanism. …. [I]n the end, the secret ingredient of a sustainable neighborhood comeback is commercial diversity. Cafés are wonderful; in some places, they may not prove to be enough. [Read more…]
—Alan Ehrenhalt, Governing
American cities today are seriously enamored of trolleys—modern streetcars have popped up in 16 cities, with more soon to open in Los Angeles, New York City, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale and Milwaukee. …. But will this fascination with streetcars end in heartbreak? When it works—as with Portland, which got a head start on second-generation streetcars in 2001—streetcars can unify cities, boost real estate and draw investment. When it doesn’t, though, cities can end up with millions of dollars dumped into a glorified theme park ride. Recent projects in places like Cincinnati and Tucson, Arizona, have been budget-busters that have cost about $50 million per mile of track, says Jeffrey Brown, a transportation expert at Florida State University. The earlier wave of second-generation streetcars ran about $10 million to $30 million a mile. [Read more…]
—Debra Bruno, Politico Magazine
The city, which has long struggled with a declining economy and a violent reputation, is in the spotlight. This past December, the Newark Police Department presented statistics showing crime in the city was at its lowest rate since 1967. New investors have poured around $1.7 billion into residential, commercial and industrial projects, according to the city’s Department of Economic and Housing Development, and bougie businesses like Whole Foods are opening their doors. Add to this a burgeoning arts scene, iconic architecture, surrounding universities and proximity to both Manhattan (it’s about a 30-minute train ride from Newark Penn Station to downtown Manhattan, with trains leaving from both stations frequently) and Newark Liberty International Airport. [Read more…]
—Emily Nonko, New York Post
The L is the best mass transit system in the United States. Not the fastest, nor the most reliable. Not the newest, nor the longest. The best. Yes, it has its drawbacks. It’s undeniably loud, and a quarter of the year, you freeze your ass off waiting on cement platforms 30 to 40 feet above the street, where the wind is cruelly pronounced. Even so, the L is the best because of where you are when you ride much of it. Elevated. So much can be seen. The L reveals a Chicago of a thousand unconsidered angles, offers a view without filter or comparison. So this winter I rode the L—the whole thing, in one day—to see what I could see. To take the measure of a city in full. [Read more…]
—Tom Chiarella, Chicago Magazine
Janie Corley can’t keep customers away from the cashier at her gift shop. From the outside, this looks like a good thing—any small business would want customers flocking to the checkout line in droves. But for Corley, the line’s a sign of a bigger problem: poor cell phone reception. This lack of infrastructure hinders economic development in small communities in many rural areas, and without adequate cellular coverage they remain invisible to the larger marketplace.
“[Customers] get to the end of the counter, suddenly their phone gets a signal, and they get a text message, and they’re like ‘Oh!’ so they all stand right there because they don’t wanna leave the sweet spot.”
Together with her husband, Corley owns Christian Way Farm and Mini Golf, a tourism and heritage farm in Christian County, Kentucky. Between the mini-golf, the pumpkin patch, and Christian Way’s other activities, the small business hosts 18,000 guests a year. But Corley knows there could be more. “I know the benefit of, ‘Oh, you’re someplace, let’s Snapchat about where we are, let’s post it on Instagram, let’s post it on Facebook immediately so that other people are looking’ and, ‘Oh, look where they are. We should go there.’”
Drive 30 miles southwest, and you won’t find better reception. That’s where my parents live. They get a signal if they stand over the heating vent in my old bedroom. There’s also reception on the left side of their couch. But shift to the right side of the sofa, and you get disconnected.
Further down the road, people would say half of a couch is great. That’s because my parents live at the beginning of a roughly three-mile wide cell phone dead zone.
The problem is, no one knows why. Christian County is in western Kentucky—not eastern—so there are no mountains to block the signal or valleys for it to drop off in. Hopkinsville, the county seat, is around an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee, so the area’s not even that remote. Even more baffling is the coverage map on AT&T’s website. According to it, 100 percent of Christian County has full “domestic wireless voice coverage.”
Whatever the reason, if service seems bad now, it’s about to get worse. On August 21, 25,000 to 50,000 more cell phones will suddenly be held to the sky, searching for a signal. Turns out, that three-mile dead zone is at the epicenter of the most historic total solar eclipse the United States has ever seen. 80 percent of Americans live within 600 miles of its path, and they’re bringing their phones.
At this point, the need for better reception is no longer about growing local business. It’s a public liability.
Brooke Jung is Hopkinsville/Christian County’s solar eclipse marketing and events consultant. Last September, she asked AT&T and Verizon to bring in cell-towers on wheels known as COWs. “Both cellular providers have been very receptive,” she says, although it did take some persuasion for them to understand how large the need truly was. Initially, the cell providers were considering using CROWs, which actually sit on top of existing cell towers and enhance the signal. But after learning more about the magnitude of this event, they began discussing COWs. “In fact,” Jung says, “AT&T is providing what is called a Mega COW.” (As of this writing, Jung was waiting for confirmation from Verizon.)
The typical COW provides reception for a two-mile radius. So the one Christian County is getting won’t cover Corley’s company or other small businesses—in fact, it won’t even reach the right side of my parents’ couch. AT&T is putting its Mega COW on Orchardale, a farm centrally located near the point of greatest eclipse. What this means in practical terms is the COW should provide a signal for the eclipse’s best viewing site, but not for any of the roads, hotels, restaurants, or other places tourists make calls from.
“The number of COWs is evaluated by the cellular companies,” Jung says, mentioning that geographically, Orchardale is the same size as where Bonnaroo, a Tennessee music festival, is held. Bonnaroo, she says, “require[s] about 7-8 COWs from both AT&T and Verizon.”
So will one COW with a two-mile radius be enough to cover a whole county plus 25,000-50,000 extra people? “[AT&T and Verizon] feel confident we will be able to operate successfully with just one from each provider,” Jung says.
Personally, perched on the left arm of my parents’ couch, I feel less confident. The area needs better reception period and, while AT&T’s Mega COW is much appreciated, it simply brings reception up to the base level people who live there need already. But I don’t work for AT&T: Maybe a Mega COW can work miracles. So I called Cathy Lewandowski, AT&T’s Senior Public Relations Manager for Tennessee and Kentucky to get more information. She refused to confirm that AT&T was even sending a COW and refused my request for an interview.
Meanwhile, Janie Corley is still trying to grow a business. After reaching out to AT&T for help, she says “a gentleman that is an executive with AT&T and works out of Memphis drove up here and sat at a picnic table with me to discuss what the options were.” At the end of meeting, though, he told her there was nothing AT&T could do.
Before AT&T’s move from 4G to LTE technology in 2015, Corley and her company did have reception. So Corley asked him, “How come suddenly I don’t have the cell phone signal that I used to have?” The answer? According to Corley, the change from 4G to LTE meant AT&T “had to switch [the cell phone towers] to a different angle and since they’re pushing the LTE signal, I couldn’t get anything. And there’s not any appealing, oh, could you send some my way. It just doesn’t work that way.”
Terena Bell is a freelance journalist writing most often on tech, entertainment, public affairs, and the Great American Total Solar Eclipse. A Kentucky native, she is based in New York.
Few seem to really like it, but for now it seems to be limping along to somewhere. That sentiment describes the latest chapter in the saga of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. It was commissioned by Congress in 1999, and eventually given a site on a public square in Washington a few blocks from the Capitol. But almost two decades later, the project has yet to even break ground—or even finalize a design.
In February, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) allowed three proposed changes to the Eisenhower Memorial design, giving the oft-stalled project permission to proceed a step toward an uncertain future. The 16-year-old memorial project is carried forward not so much by momentum as it is by resignation.
The Eisenhower family, the commissioners, and the general public all appear resigned to an increasingly muddled and expensive collection of elements piled and hung beneath the stern gaze of the Department of Education building. Some still fight to do “Right by Ike,” advocating scrapping starchitect Frank Gehry’s design entirely for a less-deconstructed memorial design found through open competition, and more appropriate to the classicism of the great presidential monuments. But even these traditionalists find previous incarnations preferable to the latest design alterations. They hope that reluctance may turn into opposition—and eventually the chance may come to go back to the drawing board.
“It’s not like one of these classic memorial controversies where there are two actual sides competing,” said Justin Shubow, president of the National Civic Art Society (NCAS). “Here it’s everybody against the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.”
But even members of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission find the current design proposal objectionable. Bruce Cole, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities appointed to the Eisenhower commission in 2013 by President Obama, commented in an email to TAC:
It’s hard to believe, but the new design makes the Eisenhower Memorial even more incomprehensible. The boy Ike has almost disappeared from sight, leaving the Memorial without a focal point and a free standing statue of the president. The enormous metal screen now features a sort of photographic scene of present day Omaha beach. How this empty image tells the story of the heroism and sacrifice that occurred there is unclear.
Cole’s objection summarizes the changes to the memorial proposal. Under the Gehry design as approved in July 2015, the memorial consists of three statues and an 80- by 447-foot steel mesh tapestry suspended from pillars (with a few more elements thrown in), all set in an embowered four-acre site boxed in by Independence Avenue, Fourth and Sixth Streets SW, and the U.S. Department of Education building, a site approved in 2006. The statues depict President Eisenhower as a young man, as a general, and as commander-in-chief. The original design sought to set up a narrative of Ike’s journey from midwestern boyhood to global greatness, placing him as a young man before the tapestry, which then was to depict a composite of Ike’s Abilene, Kansas, while gesturing to the future. No longer.
Now, boy Ike is to be set behind the screen, facing its rear, atop a wall of quotes with his back to the DoE building. And the tapestry is to depict a “contemporary peacetime image” of Normandy, France, focusing on Omaha and Utah Beaches with Pointe du Hoc at the center. Approximately four planned trees will not be planted in the new design. In a February meeting, many NCPC members expressed concern about the altered memorial’s coherence, readability, and even whether the landscape on the tapestry would be identifiable. They approved the changes on the grounds that they were primarily aesthetic ones, not altering the fundamental memorial plan, and outside their purview.
Others disagree. At the NCPC meeting and subsequent interview, Shubow said the movement of the young Eisenhower and the change of tapestry subject represents “a radically changed concept for the memorial” and removes the narrative element of Gehry’s original, what Shubow considers the best part of a bad concept. “What we’ve ended up with is a classic example of design by committee,” Shubow said.
How? And what’s next?
The commission to give President Eisenhower a memorial was written into existence in 1999, with the first official meeting of its commissioners assembling in early 2001. Rather than holding an open design contest, they rapidly settled on Frank Gehry, reportedly a longtime associate of commission Chairman Rocco Siciliano. With site and design guidelines finalized in 2006, already far too late for the originally planned 2007 completion, the proposed groundbreaking moved to 2012.
But in 2011, Shubow’s National Civic Art Society published a report criticizing the design and process, arguing it was inappropriate and too expensive. Unable to get funding and approvals, and despite the report and criticisms from the Eisenhower family, veterans, and many others, the commission continued to put together preliminary site and building plans through 2014. While the proposed design received approval from the NCPC and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in 2015, it failed to gain the approval of the Eisenhower family, without which the EMC could not (and still cannot) secure sufficient financial support.
Former Secretary of State James Baker III, who serves on the memorial advisory board, led negotiations with the Eisenhowers. In 2012, Eisenhower’s son, John S.D. Eisenhower wrote, “Taxpayers and donors alike will be better served with an Eisenhower Square that is a green open space with a simple statue in the middle, and quotations from his most important sayings,” But in 2016, Ike’s granddaughter Susan wrote that “While some of us may have had other preferences in the past, all of us support your proposal,” meaning the modified design. Now the commission will put together mock-ups and presentations for the Commission on Fine Arts, who unlike the NCPC will have no reason to hesitate in rejecting the design on aesthetic grounds.
When asked about the timeframe for giving their approval, CFA secretary Thomas Luebke described the process as a little bit like the judiciary, with the CFA waiting for the Eisenhower commission to approach them: “In terms of timing and the process, the ball is really in their court.”
The commission will also seek to secure funding, and a waiver from Congress allowing them to begin building prior to the project being fully funded. In an email, commission spokesperson Chris Kelley Cimko of Cimko Strategies said:
The commission’s budget request will be submitted to Congress in the near future and is currently not public. We’ve had a great first quarter of fundraising thanks to the hard work of our Finance Chairman, Senator Bob Dole and EMC Chairman, Pat Roberts. The Eisenhower grandchildren have joined the EMC Advisory Committee and are actively engaged in commission activities.
Past budgets have been almost $150 million, which Shubow said is more than the cost of the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and Washington Monument combined.
Meanwhile critics, including NCAS and the “Right By Ike” movement, hope that the CFA will kill the proposed amendments—or the commission will fail to secure sufficient funding. Either setback could be enough to restart the process.
Referencing a congressional study of the memorial’s cost increases, delays, and design failures, “A Five-Star Folly,” Right by Ike’s Sam Roche said:
The design for the Eisenhower Memorial remains controversial because the commission in charge circumvented the usual public process for the memorial’s design. A Congressional report found the process was full of irregularities and led to big overruns in cost, compensation, and schedule. Right by Ike has advocated for a return to the standard public process to design and complete Ike’s memorial, through a competition open to everyone.
Shubow thinks a changed political climate might help too, explaining that the National Civic Art Society is “optimistic that Congress and the new president will recognize just how bad the design is and just how much a waste of money it is.”
“In our opinion it’s better to get it right than to rush it. Veterans don’t want a bad memorial.”
Micah Meadowcroft, a former editorial assistant at The American Conservative, is a writer based in Washington.
This article was supported by a grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
Changes in alcohol laws are the second thing Carbondale, Illinois and Hopkinsville, Kentucky have in common. The first? Each town is the tourism hotbed for an upcoming solar eclipse.
On August 21, a total solar eclipse will begin in Oregon and end in South Carolina. It’s the first since 1776 to only be visible in the U.S. At its point of greatest duration—where the eclipse will last the longest—you’ll find Carbondale. And the point of greatest eclipse—where more of the sun will be covered—centers on Hopkinsville.
Evidently, a total solar eclipse is something to travel for. Because 80 percent of Americans live within 600 miles of the eclipse path, Carbondale expects 100,000 visitors and Hopkinsville 50,000.
Some of those people may want a drink. In anticipation of the eclipse—and the tourism dollars it can bring—both areas have reassessed their liquor laws.
In January, Carbondale’s city council “passed a resolution that temporarily suspended the public possession of alcohol,” says City Manager Gary Williams, explaining people can buy alcohol in a plastic cup and carry it around downtown from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. But before you grab your Tupperware stein and pack your bags, be aware that the new resolution only covers eclipse weekend—and you have to buy your beer from a downtown merchant.
In Christian County, Kentucky—of which Hopkinsville’s the seat—County Judge/Executive Steve Tribble also looked into an eclipse-weekend-only change. “The [Christian County] Chamber of Commerce is putting a full-court press on,” he says, explaining that local business leaders want souvenir bottle sales permitted at craft distilleries on Sundays. With the eclipse on a Monday, the chamber hopes Sunday sales will increase tourist spend.
So why alcohol? Carbondale and Hopkinsville aren’t in cahoots. In fact, neither Williams nor Tribble knew the other’s government was considering changes until contacted by your correspondent. When given the same opportunity, why did two similarly-sized towns in two different states independently reconsider their liquor laws? “I don’t know” is the initial answer of both.
The deeper answer is about identity: What do Hopkinsville and Carbondale want to be?
In the past, says Mayor Carter Hendricks, Hopkinsville’s nickname was “Little Chicago.” When asked what that means, he answers, “Not positive…That we were poor…that our diversity was an issue, not a strength.” The eclipse, though, is Hopkinsville’s chance to rebrand. “If I said ‘Little Chicago’ was the old brand, I’m saying we wanna be ‘Little Nashville’ as the new brand.”
Nashville, Tennessee, the home of country music, is slightly more than an hour’s drive from Hopkinsville and the smaller city hopes to emulate its neighbor by becoming an arts and music hub. Christian County Fiscal Court recently passed a transient room tax that benefits—among other things—The Alhambra, a performing arts theatre. And the city’s Little River Days festival has been reengineered as Summer Salute, which Carter hopes will become “a signature, regional music festival.”
Carbondale’s holding its own eclipse music festival as well, and music is the identity trait Williams focuses on. He hopes the city’s open container change will become a permanent one. “What we want to do is get back to where we are more of an entertainment destination for the region,” he says, sharing that decades ago Carbondale was known for drawing national acts. Elvis and Bob Dylan played there, “and a lot of people within the region talk about that and they wonder what happened and why doesn’t Carbondale have these types of events anymore, so the current council is focused on getting back to that.”
Beer and concerts are synonymous, Williams says, just as bourbon and Kentucky are, according to Tribble.
According to Williams, Carbondale’s change has been embraced by the community. When asked if any residents had religious or health objections, he answers no, explaining how loosening the open-carry law actually makes eclipse weekend easier for Carbondale police. Now officers “don’t have to worry about bar checks as much” and can focus on more important matters.
Carbondale used to have a Halloween festival where open container was the norm, so its change brings the city back to that. But Sunday distillery sales would be brand new for Christian County. Hopkinsville has Sunday liquor-by-the-drink, a loophole common in the South that allows restaurants to sell alcohol in proportion with the amount of food served and how many seats they have. Before this passed, Tribble says, “Those that were opposed to it said, ‘Oh, we’re gonna have so many wrecks and we’re gonna have so many DUIs’…Not one thing happened. There hasn’t been a single arrest because of it…All of that negative just didn’t happen.”
Despite prior success, passing the new law still isn’t easy. “We’re in the Bible Belt,” says Tribble, “That’s just the way it’s been,” highlighting how civic and individual identity can be at odds. Towns want progress, but people hate change.
With six months between now and the eclipse, the fiscal court’s voting window is open-ended. “[The Chamber] certainly would like to be able to do it by the time the eclipse gets here because we’ll have such a huge crowd and influx of people.”
Alcohol or no alcohol, neither music city expects tourists to get too crazy. “They’re scientists,” Williams says. Ask him if alcohol will make a difference in their decision to come to Carbondale or Hopkinsville, and he says no. And Tribble? “For some people it does.”
Terena Bell is a freelance journalist writing most often on tech, entertainment, public affairs, and the Great American Total Solar Eclipse. A Kentucky native, she is based in New York.
There has been a lot of publicity about how the imposition of “growth boundaries” on metropolitan areas often succeeds mainly in driving up the price of land within the boundaries. But companies and employers often impose their own “growth boundaries” by where they choose to locate, or not locate.
A person with a car will be unlikely, for example, to drive to a job more than two hours away—and many will avoid driving more than one hour! A person without a car either depends on the punctuality and reliability of their transit system, or if that is not an option, is perhaps limited in her job choices to a six-mile radius, if that. (That’s rather arbitrary. I don’t think we need to have affordable housing absolutely everywhere, but I think we need to have it within six miles of everywhere. There are a few locations, like coastlines and view lots, that will never get that affordable no matter how much we build.) And in today’s economy, people other than very young adults probably change jobs more often than they do residences.
In the 1970s and ’80s, “edge cities,” which were usually not urbanist or only minimally so, sprouted outside many of our cities. The granddaddy of them all was, of course, the Irvine Ranch. The central and eastern half of Los Angeles, that is downtown and the San Gabriel Valley, was half drained of much of its business and its higher-end workforce as they relocated to “edge cities” of Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and Irvine.
In 1977, Los Angeles Magazine did a feature story on “The Ripening of Orange County: How It’s Stealing the LA Dream.” East Side Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley did recover, to become something different from what they had been before, thanks to mass immigration, the installation of a Metro system, and the changing tastes of young hipsters toward a more urban style of life—at least before they have kids! (What they will do after they have kids is up to debate, but there is always another younger generation coming up.)
I have called this vast movement to the Irvine Ranch and nearby areas the Secessio Patriciorum, or the Secession of the Patricians. It also had the effect of giving Hollywood and the entertainment industries greater political and cultural dominance in Los Angeles than they had had before. Before the Secessio, finance, insurance, and real estate dominated downtown and San Gabriel Valley life and were a serious political and financial rival to Hollywood.
But then growth and affordability issues caused the urban frontier to advance into the Inland Empire and the Antelope Valley. There are some innovative malls and urban centers in the Inland Empire’s northern portion, most specifically Victoria Gardens. There is a lot of industrial and warehouse space around Ontario Airport, but we have not seen the kind of higher-end employers that cluster around John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Temecula has secured some jobs, but still large numbers of its people have to drive in both directions, north and south, to find work. And Lancaster-Palmdale had its aerospace plants, but I think they have not added jobs, to say the least. Nor are there that many good jobs in the Victorville-Apple Valley-Hesperia urban cluster; many of the working people must cross Cajon Pass to work, and often another range of hills.
The situation, as usual, is even starker in the Bay Area. There is a cluster of commuter suburbs around Stockton, Manteca, Tracy, and Modesto. Some have raised concern about “destruction of agricultural land,” but even if there is a shortage of good agricultural land, there is to the east of the agriculture territory a long stretch of rolling grassland that has never been of much use for crops. But I don’t see the good burghers of Silicon Valley jumping over the hill with their job sites to follow many of their workers who live there. If anything, the up-and-coming place for employment in the tech industry is now the city of San Francisco.
Back south, there is a huge stretch of flat and developable land stretching from Palmdale past California City and as far as Barstow. There is plenty of room there (though water may be an issue). But unless a lot of good jobs head out that way, it will be too far to commute. So employers, by no longer following their workers to the more affordable suburbs, are actually imposing their own “growth boundaries” by the limits of a sane commute.
Christopher Leinberger may have originated the theory of the Favored Quarter, which has to be taken into account. This idea says that high-end employers and the affluent do not disperse from the central city in all directions, but rather in one specific direction; suburban expansion in other directions is geared to the less affluent, and there are not likely to be Edge Cities or a lot of good jobs outside the Favored Quarter. The theory of the Favored Quarter needs to be taken into account by anyone dealing with urban issues.
Los Angeles has shifted its Favored Quarter between the two world wars. In the early 20th century the Favored Quarter clearly ran northeast from downtown through Pasadena and along the foothills. A mark of this is the line of colleges that still remain; starting with Occidental, then Cal Tech, Azusa Pacific, La Verne, the Claremont College complex, and on to Redlands University at the far end. But by mid-century the Favored Quarter had shifted westward, through Beverly Hills and toward Santa Monica. (Despite the high-end nature of Brentwood and Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica was considered quite uncool as late as my youth.) Now the spillover of the high-tech industry (by Bay Area standards, Los Angeles is a little bit “affordable”) in the form of Snapchat and others, has formed Silicon Beach, in precisely that part of the city that is harder to reach from most of Southern California than downtown is. Silicon Joshua Tree, anyone?
As far as I know, Los Angeles is unique historically for having shifted the direction of its Favored Quarter, but I am willing to be corrected on this. Perhaps some other American city has had the same experience.
Howard Ahmanson lives in Orange County, California, and has a passion for urbanism and housing issues.
Once the urban freeway was unmistakably part of a vision of the future, one in which personal automobiles zipped through neighborhoods without having to stop or interact with the streets above or below. But over the past two decades, many cities have found that running highways through dense areas has done more harm than good—and they’re increasingly opting to tear them down.
Late last month, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) released its latest edition of “Freeways Without Futures,” a report on efforts to remove parts of underused highways in ten American cities. The study underscores the role locals are playing in the replacement movement and also outlines the many benefits of having fewer highways running through dense urban areas.
The report contends that the cores of American cities have seen a massive hollowing out since the passing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act in 1956. “As highways were built through existing communities,” the report begins, “residents were cut off from social and economic centers, key resources and services, and the nearby destinations of their daily lives.”
Today, many of those highways are reaching the end of their design life and cities are facing what CNU calls a “watershed moment.” Instead of rebuilding and repairing old highways, the report suggests cities should replace them with infrastructure that is pedestrian friendly, density prone, and extremely profitable. “Cities are waking up to a simple solution: remove instead of replace.”
CNU highlights the replace movements in ten cities across the country, many of them driven by everyday citizens who don’t want to see certain highways expanded or repaired. Suggesting alternatives to expansion isn’t easy. In many cases, activists must conduct their own research, design a replacement plan, and recruit local officials. Then begins the lengthy process of securing funding and ironing out implementation logistics.
Each city included in the report is at a different stage of removal. While activists in Oakland and Dallas are pushing steadily through the research phase, efforts in Detroit are stuck for a lack of funding. Meanwhile, fill-in construction on the Inner Loop in Rochester started last 2014 and should be completed by the end of this year.
Each city included also faces a unique set of challenges. In Denver, citizens are battling their state Department of Transportation to prevent an expansion of I-70. They’ve proposed an alternative that—unlike the city’s plan—would not involve expanding the derelict highway (at a cost of $1.8 billion) or destroying dozens of houses and businesses in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. But the city is fighting back, arguing that the highway is essential for commuters. In Buffalo, efforts have been more successful. The citizen-led initiative to redesign parts of the Scajaquada Expressway earned the attention and financial support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who directed $30 million towards the effort last March, telling local press it was time to “undo a mistake.”
Tearing out a highway is costly on many levels. Coordinating various agencies requires political flexibility. Fiscally, replacement proposals cost millions of dollars and require an ability to focus on long-term over short-term gains. Culturally, they require a shift in design priorities: fewer cars on the street, more people. The report explores these struggles, yet also emphasizes the many benefits of replacement.
First, there’s the potential of significant economic gain. In Dallas, researchers found that replacing parts of I-345 would generate $4 billion for the city over fifteen years and bring 22,550 jobs to the area. In Trenton, if efforts to replace Route 29 with a riverwalk are successful, the city’s downtown could attract up to $2.25 billion of investment. Replacing highways could also make possible more mixed-use development and affordable housing, desperately needed in places like San Francisco. It could also improve neighborhood safety and decrease pollution.
CNU also suggests that replacing underused highways could be a chance to undo the damage they have wrought upon “the physical and economic health of low-income and minority residents.” But while reconciliation is indeed a possibility, so also is displacement. Sam Warlick, the communications director at CNU, acknowledged this possibility. “Any kind of positive change in a neighborhood (also) runs the risk of cultural and economic displacement,” he said. Communities that embrace replacement, he explained, could prevent drastic displacement by pairing their infrastructure investment with community investment. “We would hope that anti-displacement efforts and initiatives to share the prosperity would be baked into the process from the beginning.”
Tiffany Owens, a journalist currently based in Providence, R.I, is a New Yorker at heart.
The American dream used to involve a house on a green lot with a white picket fence out front. But increasingly many homeowners are opting for six-foot-tall privacy fences, completely screening their residences from the street. Taken singly, such a practice would be harmless eccentricity, but as a larger trend is indicative of the increasing isolation Americans experience from each other, as well as a blight on their neighborhoods.
Brattle Street in Cambridge, Mass. runs west from Harvard Square towards Watertown. It’s known as Tory Row because before the American Revolution the few Massachusetts colonists who were Anglican gentry built their estates on it. During the Revolution they remained loyal to Britain and were largely forced to go to Canada. But some of the houses they left, as well as houses built by the later elite of Cambridge, still exist—and are sterling examples of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architecture. Or they would be if they could be seen.
Many of the houses along both sides of the street are hidden from view by tall privacy fences or dense plantings. The exceptions are a more recent-looking building which is home to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and a National Historic Site—a house that George Washington used as his military headquarters and that was later the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
It’s difficult to understand why. Sometimes it would appear that such fences are built against the noise of a busy road, but this is not the case with Brattle Street or other slow and quiet lanes. One house in the area has a four-foot fence in the front, but the street-facing windows are narrow and about six feet off the ground. They are eerily reminiscent of the embrasures or arrowslits of Medieval fortifications.
Some people have chosen to fence off their homes for security purposes. Anna Daniels of the San Diego Free Press wrote in 2013 that she and her husband built a fence in the front of their property to protect against theft and keep out hostile people asking for money. But this explanation again fails to satisfy in Cambridge, where crime is low and people almost never close the gates across the driveways anyway.
According to Eric Zorn in the Chicago Tribune, front yard fences prevent neighborhood children from playing games and provide an “illusion of added security” while making “the streetscape look like a collection of mini-compounds rather than a community.”
Rather, the phenomenon seems to indicate a withdrawal from public life. A fence stops people from looking in, but it can also prevent people from looking out. One need not concern oneself with anything on the street if one cannot see it. Social ties born of proximity and place become irrelevant. There are few “third spaces” in the neighborhood of Brattle Street and even if there were more, the automobile allows the residents to avoid interaction with each other just as if there were none. A house ceases to be a castle and becomes its own self-contained universe.
Is an area of such kings of infinite space bound up in nutshells even still a neighborhood? Maybe not.
Again, all these walls might be harmless eccentricities, but they have consequences. For one thing, we are all deprived of the ability to view fine historic architecture and by replacing it with what amounts to a featureless curtain wall, the street is made boring. This discourages walking, encourages cars to speed and, as neuroscientist Colin Ellard wrote in Aeon in 2015, boredom increases stress, addiction, and disease, and decreases intellectual activity.
“The real risks of bad design might lie less in unhappy streets filled with unmotivated pedestrians, and more in the amassing of a population of urban citizens with epidemic levels of boredom,” Ellard wrote.
The uses of trees and bushes as privacy fences can also encroach on public life by actively taking away pedestrian space when property owners don’t take care of their plantings that face the street. Pedestrians should not be forced to step into the street because cedar trees or creeping vines are taking over the sidewalk.
In less wealthy neighborhoods than Brattle Street, such fencing not only prevents there being “eyes on the street,” (in Jane Jacobs’ famous phrase), but quickly attracts the signs of blight from graffiti and litter, making walking not only boring but potentially unpleasant or dangerous.
The interaction between buildings and street life are no less important in residential neighborhoods than they are in downtown and mixed-use districts. Liveliness might be a quality reserved for downtown, but that doesn’t mean all neighborhoods can’t be friendly and pleasant to walk through.
Matthew M. Robare is a freelance journalist based in Boston who writes about urbanism and history.
This article was supported by a grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
When I hear the term “smart cities,” I think of Fritz Lang’s dystopian film, Metropolis. The 1927 classic portrays an Art Deco landscape of wealthy industrialists reigning from high-rise towers over masses of catacomb-dwelling uniformed workers who labor underground to keep the city’s huge turbine-driven machines humming. (If you’ve never seen it, it’s visually fantastic, especially with the new soundtrack.)
The builders of contemporary master-planned cities—the Middle East’s Dubai, Asia’s Songdo, or India’s Gurgaon—are smart in some sense. To be sure, these places draw on top talent in their architects, planners, and environmental consultants. They in turn create luxury districts where technology enables a gleaming and growing mix of oligopoly, exploitation, and surveillance.
These arrangements create stark contrasts. As architect Douglas Kelbaugh told James Howard Kunstler, he spent two years in Dubai designing billion of dollars’ worth of “perfume bottle” (beautifully vapid) skyscrapers and abandoned urban projects the size of Manhattan Island—all while encountering daily the thousands of low-wage workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China needed to create this immense Ponzi scheme of the most luxurious city-state on the planet.
But Dubai’s private buses full of mostly manual workers paid $5 a day are only superficially different from Songdo’s legions of programmers and developers: both groups are meant to be invisible and disposable elements in the workings of a neoliberal urbanism with endless ambitions to create a city-state which looks like—in Kunstler’s sardonic phrase—“yesterday’s tomorrow.”
A key aspect of the “smart cities” movement is the promise of personal technology to create new economic opportunities. But the fact is that no sharing actually goes on in most of what’s called the sharing economy—companies such as Uber, AirBnB, Lyft and TaskRabbit extract value from contract employees, not in the service of some dewy-eyed mutualistic scheme, but rather for the benefit of perfectly conventional Silicon Valley venture capitalists. The latter process is sometimes called “Uberization.”
It turns out that the sharing economy is mostly about exploitation of workers and earning yourself an enforced membership in the precariat, that mass of short-term (“flexible”) contract employees who now make up about 40 percent of the worldwide labor force.
These are people who live precariously with no guarantee of a job beyond the short-term, generally less than 40 hours of paid work per week, as well as no unions or industry regulation to speak of, given the dramatic disparity in bargaining power here. Where is this all going, we may well wonder.
To take only one set of dark projections, in Average Is Over, economist Tyler Cowen foresees a future in which a tiny meritocracy makes millions while the rest of us struggle on anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 a year. It already works quite well in Mexico, Cowen quips.
If you happen to be a millennial or know one, then you’re probably familiar with the issues around digital work. But this economic threat to our democracy—the Internet as an inequality machine—is bigger than one generation. It’s in the process of overturning the traditional rights of workers going back to the 19th century. And it’s quickly scooping in oceans of our personal data—a form of personal property—in order to leverage that asset into creating even more value for the few owners of the digital platforms now driving a large proportion of our lives (Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc.).
Thus we see the rise of a new movement employing an old rallying cry: platform cooperativism, a marriage of the historic cooperative model of business and digital platforms aimed at bringing genuine democracy to the internet, especially in the form of distributed ownership. The urgent goal of these activists and entrepreneurs is nothing less than to reset the norms and culture of work.
What if Uber drivers set up their own platform, or if a city’s residents controlled their own version of Airbnb? How about if enough Twitter users got together to buy the company in order to share its ownership?
The latter idea comes from Nathan Schneider, co-editor of one of the best guides to this emerging area Ours to Hack and To Own. It’s a fascinating collection of not-all-that-techy articles on cooperative initiatives to resist the cooptation of the Internet.
Platform cooperativism is simply communal ownership (with roughly 170 years of cooperative movement history) brought together with today’s notions of democratic governance. The term platform, as the editors explain, “refers to places where we hang out, work, tinker and generate value after we switch on our phones or computers.”
Principles of cooperativism are well developed and plenty of impressive examples exist worldwide, from the Mondragon Corporation in Spain (actually a network of coop enterprises employing over 74,000 people) to the dozens of consumer, agricultural and healthcare coops in Italy’s economically resilient Emiglia-Romagna region. In this country, some 30,000 coops contribute an estimated $154 billion to our national income.
Further, coops—values-based businesses that operate for member benefit—have a lower failure rate than conventional businesses, are more likely to promote community growth (via local ownership), can have low startup costs, and help stabilize communities in their role as business anchors by multiplying local expertise and social capital.
We’re talking not about socialism but a form of capitalism—algorithmic capitalism—and how to create more capitalists, people who are genuinely owners. We’re also talking about formulating the first charter of workers’ rights for the growing but invisible digital labor force.
Another important topic addressed here—and a key part of “digital commoning”—is that of countering the corporate, surveillance-driven model of the smart city being promoted by big tech companies. Thus models of public ownership of civic data are needed in order to foster new forms of social innovation.
Notable contributors to this collection include Douglas Rushkoff (Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus), Juliet Schor (Plenitude: the New Economics of True Wealth), Yochai Benkler (Wealth of Networks), Michel Bauwens (P2P Foundation), Saskia Sassen (Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy), David Bollier (Think Like a Commoner), and co-editor Trebor Scholz (Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers are Disrupting the Digital Economy).
(To follow developments in the platform cooperativism movement, I recommend the clearinghouse website platformcoop.net, which is loaded with resources.)
Building cities that enable true human flourishing—and utilizing new technology to make it happen—is possible. But we must recognize the pitfalls of handing control to a few unaccountable companies. The city that can capitalize on platform cooperativism may yet outsmart the master planners.
Elias Crim is the founder of Solidarity Hall, a group blog focused on renewing civil society.
The typical upper-class Englishman is as near to a Perpetual Schoolboy as can be imagined. At Harrow, they go in for the following expression of lacrimae rerum:
Forty years on, when afar and asunder
Parted are those who are singing today,
When you look back and forgetfully wonder
What you were like in your work and your play,
Then it may be there will often come o’er you
Glimpses of notes, like the catch of a song;
Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,
Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along.
(Refrain): Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!
Follow up, till the field ring again and again
With the tramp of the 22 men!
(The reference “22” denotes two cricket teams, it being almost impossible for an upper-class Englishman to differentiate reality from cricket, as it is totally impossible for numerous Americans of every class to differentiate reality from Hollywood.)
In even the most Anglophile of Australian boarding schools, such singalongs are probably unknown. Nonetheless, the particular pathos that clings to the end of a school year knows neither economic boundaries nor geographical limits. A modified version of it can afflict even that lowliest of educational phyla, the Melbourne school crossing guard. Which is where I came in.
As I write, the Southern Hemisphere is now experiencing early summer. (It would be a useful exercise to ascertain just how many policy wonks at the State Department, how many presidential candidates, have discerned this simple truth.) This means that the Australian school year finishes in December, and the great chunk of down-time which Americans and Europeans associate with the middle of the calendar year is in Australia inextricably tied with Christmas. (Australians have no Thanksgiving, the concept of gratitude being basically so alien to the national ethos as to resist all attempts—however otherwise successful—at Coca-Colonization.)
Sports teachers get six weeks of paid recreational leave, mathematics teachers get six weeks of paid recreational leave, science teachers get six weeks of paid recreational leave, history teachers get six weeks of paid recreational leave, so what does the mere school crossing guard get? If he is lucky, he will get a Yuletide bottle of wine and an invitation to the school barbecue.
He is paid solely for the hours that he works, so when there is no work, there is no pay. Not altogether surprisingly, this increases in his eyes the general end-of-year pathos.
That the school administrators have expressly informed him of their desire to have him return in 2017 does not noticeably ameliorate his financial unease. He hopes that enough office-cleaning employment or some other remuneration in the service industries will tide him over until the little tykes trudge back, protesting, to their classrooms on January 31.
What, then, have five months as a school crossing guard taught me about life, the universe, and everything? In my answer to this question I can do no better than quote Neville Chamberlain’s Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, who, in a supreme expression of what Alistair Cooke once called “diplomatic fuzz,” responded to an urgent inquiry with the words “It depends.”
Perhaps, though, a few disjointed thoughts can, if expressed in point form, do duty for a reasoned disquisition on the topic.
That silliest-sounding of 1960s bromides has surprising validity still: “The kids are all right.” I have not encountered a solitary instance of genuine rudeness directed at me by kids at the school crossing. Actually I have encountered very few instances of genuine rudeness directed at me by anyone, but I had previously assumed that with the youngsters there might be a Lord of the Flies—or, if female, Mean Girls—element controlling their behavior. After all, Victoria’s education system did not need Lake Wobegon to convince it of the insane fallacy that “all the kids are above average.”
Not a bit of it. I made a particular holiday in my heart when one boy, who appeared to be no more than six or seven years of age, told me (apropos of absolutely nothing) “You’re doing a good job, keeping people safe on the road.”
But the single most memorable, and most moving, comment directed at me came when, one afternoon, another lad—also no more than six or seven—saw me putting away my STOP sign and my children-crossing flags. Mindful of the fact that in Australia (as in Britain) the STOP sign’s similarity to a gigantic lollipop causes the school crossing guard to be colloquially known as a “lollipop man”—or, if female, “lollipop lady”—this lad grinned from ear to ear and yelled: “HELLO, LOLLIPOP DUDE!”
You can fool adults, and goodness knows you can fool millions of American (or Australian) voters purporting to be adults; but as every actor, conjurer, and daycare center manager knows, you cannot fool kids. General James Wolfe, famously, is supposed to have said that he would rather have written Thomas Gray’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard than conquered Quebec. I would rather be known as a Lollipop Dude than as any kind of writer, however lucrative, or any kind of guru, however worshiped.
Most Melbourne drivers appear to have obtained their licenses from cornflakes packets. Many of the mothers I encounter, far from validating the myth of female drivers as indecisive and slow—a myth which has more to do with the ancient Bob Newhart comedy sketch about driving lessons than with the visible world as it turns in 21st-century Australia—are the most consistently reckless behind the steering wheel.
To watch these mothers careening past is to recollect P.J. O’Rourke’s description of the car horn as “the Egyptian brake pedal.” Often their motoring aggression will be exacerbated by the way in which they have only one hand on the wheel, the other clutching a cellphone.
The existence, clearly signposted, of a 20-kilometers-per-hour speed limit at this school crossing —as at all Melbourne school crossings—is not for a moment suspected, let alone perceived, by more than about 10 percent of drivers. I fail to understand why Victoria’s cash-strapped left-wing state government does not simply conceal a speed camera at the school, thereby assuring itself of endless revenue-raising. It need not fear a political backlash, since no-one in the relevant suburb will ever vote for a left-wing administration anyhow. The locals’ idea of financial hardship tends to involve after-hours repair costs for a malfunctioning spare jacuzzi.
At this school crossing, angry white men have stopped being angry white men, but they still can’t dress properly. The more bizarre sights afforded each day to a crossing guard in this neighborhood include the spectacular contrast between the women and the men in terms of attire. Granted, the difference is more apt to reveal itself in Australia generally than it is in America. In my experience of American environments, males and females dress either equally well (as in the average Beltway office) or equally badly (as when pillaging Walmart).
Yet where I serve as guard, the contrast becomes fantastically well marked. One is tempted to wonder how sexual congress between the two categories can be tenable at all.
With a few exceptions, the kids’ mothers look as if they are doing a good imitation of Taylor Swift. Never is a hair or a fingernail out of place; never is a blouse un-ironed; seldom will even the most cynical eye be rewarded with the sight of a wrinkle. And then we have the male of the species, whose limited grooming, usurious debt to the national tattoo industry, Hieronymus-Bosch-like notions of dental hygiene, and (in many though not all cases) vast expanses of pallid midriff bursting forth from under torn and dubiously washed shirts all suggest the mindset of a Trump voter whom the Trump voters are afraid of.
Whilst there are males who do not conform to this stereotype, you need to look for them. Only after several months did I solve the mystery.
These males—invariably amiable, I must point out—were not, as might be concluded from their appearance, escapees from a Queensland public-housing project. They had very demanding jobs, far more demanding than any which I have ever performed. The advertising on their vans proclaimed them to be welders, tilers, road-menders, electricians, plumbers, and swimming-pool installers. But of course. Outside politics, the legal profession, the highest reaches of certain sports, and maybe the more glamorous types of medicine, these are the only fields in present-day Australia where one can earn enough money to pay the school’s fees in the first place.
My school crossing career, it will be appreciated, has thus far been marvelous in the strict sense of that word: superabundant in marvels, even when unpleasant ones. Any danger of growing jaded at it came to an abrupt halt when, near the term’s end, I found myself introduced to the school’s headmistress.
First of all, she was slim, no more than three-quarters of my height, and looking like a slightly insomniac 34-year-old. Second of all, when I addressed her as “Ms. [surname],” she immediately responded: “You can call me [given name].”
This is not the type of headmistress I am used to. This is not the type of headmistress any Australian of my age is used to. Our upbringing bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the old joke (Billy Connolly’s?) about the Glasgow slums, where mothers were proverbially so tough as to scorn even breastfeeding: “Yer mammy would jest hand ye the milk-bottle and tell ye to git on wi’ it.”
Accordingly our notions of what constituted a headmistress were—I was about to write “spartan”, but that would suggest a groupthink incompatible with any example from our own predominant Social-Darwinist experience. The main visual qualification for being a headmistress in our day was the ability to interest Central Casting as a candidate for the next biopic about Gertrude Stein. (Some would say that the main temperamental qualification for being a headmistress in our day might have consisted of fantasizing about life as a guard at Dachau, but we won’t go there.)
To be bandying given names with a headmistress … it’s all very well for the whirligig of time to bring in his revenges. But can’t the revenges be at least a bit predictable?
See you at the school crossing in 2017.
R.J. Stove lives in Melbourne.