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Thread: Get Urban! My New Book

  1. #1
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    Get Urban! My New Book

    Hi, everyone! My name is Kyle Ezell, and I currently work for the City of Columbus, Ohio. On April 8, my first book (Capital Books, Inc. out of D.C. is the publisher) will be released called: GET URBAN! THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CITY LIVING. I wrote this book because as a professional city planner who loves downtowns, I was just so tired of hearing developers, locals, and everyone make excuses about why the downtown neighborhoods were so dead. Excuses like "This isn't a real city anyway," and "There just isn't enough demand for a lot of residential housing," and "Hey, we don't live in Manhattan" are common. I wondered what could be done to reverse the rampant insecurity about city living that second-tier cities like Columbus, Nashville, Tulsa, Buffalo, and dozens of other cities can't shake. My solution-- writing a substantive yet entertaining self-help guide for people who have been incubated in suburbs and want to change their lives by "getting urban." I am proud of the final product, and I think that, at least if the book is successful, it might cause all of those cities that aren't on the latest "cool" list to think about how they can provide their locals with a quality and "real" urban lifestyle. I also hope it will demonstrate the tremendous benefits of "getting urban" to people who might ordinarily choose a cul-de-sac lot.

    Read more about Get Urban! in these two links:

    www.planetizen.com/announce/item.php?id=672

    and

    www.geturban.com

    I hope you like this idea and support the book. And remember-- books are the same as urban housing in most of middle America---without demand there can be no supply! Cheers to you all!

    Kyle Ezell, A.I.C.P., author of Get Urban!
    Last edited by KyleEzellGetUrban; 07 Mar 2004 at 3:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Does your book address some of the issues pertinent to the challenges related to improving urban school districts in the cities your website mentions?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Does your book address some of the issues pertinent to the challenges related to improving urban school districts in the cities your website mentions?
    Getting right to the heart of the matter, the image of high-density urban settings as unfriendly to families - particularly the poor quality of nearly all urban school systems - is the biggest impediment to urban housing.

    Welcome. Don't just hawk your book, though. Post in the forums!
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Does your book address some of the issues pertinent to the challenges related to improving urban school districts in the cities your website mentions?
    There is a section in Chapter 8 (Considerations for Future Urbanites) called "Find Urban Kids for Your Urban Kids." We all know that one of the main reasons families do not choose city life is because of the deplorable condition of most central city school districts. This issue is indeed a city-shrinker. I ask families (and those planning to be families someday) to assess their options, including contributing their time and highly involved volunteerism to the ailing public schools, or else choose the standby private or charter school option. It explans that retreating to the newest school district with the masses will certainly not help cities or city schools, but more importantly, that blindly following the crowd outward might cause a missed opportunity for familes. Keep in mind, this is not a public policy book nor an academic journal, but it still covers a host of controversial issues in way that most people will appreciate.

    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Getting right to the heart of the matter, the image of high-density urban settings as unfriendly to families - particularly the poor quality of nearly all urban school systems - is the biggest impediment to urban housing.

    Welcome. Don't just hawk your book, though. Post in the forums!
    I'm posting! The hawking is part of the process, unfortunately.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 17 Jan 2006 at 2:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KyleEzellGetUrban

    Keep in mind, this is not a public policy book nor an academic journal, but it still covers a host of controversial issues in way that most people will appreciate.
    Then what is it?

    I'm not trying to be cynical or rude, but your press materials give me the impression that your book is nothing but a cheerleader - RAH! RAH! - a booster for the urban environment and lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with that angle, but as a professional planner, I don't think I would be considered part of your marketing demographic. We already get enough of that boosterism spirit practically everyday from city council members, township board members, and civic societies.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KyleEzellGetUrban
    I ask families (and those planning to be families someday) to assess their options, including contributing their time and highly involved volunteerism to the ailing public schools, or else choose the standby private or charter school option.
    Gee, no mention of homeschooling? Homeschooling is increasingly popular and many people think it is "the wave of the future". I think I have heard Bill Gates quoted as saying something along the lines of that, when speaking about how the computers and the Internet are changing the way we learn and putting more and more resources at the fingertips of "anyone".

    Welcome aboard.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Then what is it?

    I'm not trying to be cynical or rude, but your press materials give me the impression that your book is nothing but a cheerleader - RAH! RAH! - a booster for the urban environment and lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with that angle, but as a professional planner, I don't think I would be considered part of your marketing demographic. We already get enough of that boosterism spirit practically everyday from city council members, township board members, and civic societies.
    You are somewhat right. I am a big cheerleader indeed. But what planners get out of the book depends on what kind of professional planner they are. If you work at the zoning counter and really dig subdivision plats for the good of the world, you'll hate this book! But for those planners who work in inner cities waiting not-so-patiently for someone to propose a downtown development on old crumbling surface parking lots, selling empty crack houses that are now city property near downtowns like me, and wonder why banks refuse to finance new brownfield developments or rehabs for empty office buildings with boarded up windows (for lack of "urban demand"... after all, everyone is in the office parks out on the freeway...sorry!), this book provides a very worthwhile angle. It summaries what planners want to say, but never put it into words-- teaching people about planning and urban places in a alternative way-- so that we planners can actually plan urban places and be more likely to see more downtown projects happen in Boise and Birmingham (and Dayton, Little Rock, and all 328 of the "boring" cities that "aren't really cities anyway"). Unless more people understand what it means to truly be "urban" and then decide with vigor to move to the old neighborhoods, by choice, not by force, and not with any current tools that we planners can provide, then we can rewrite zoning codes until the cows come home and keep going through the motions. My book is targeted to non-planners who are not subjected to planner-talk nor want to engage in hard-core policy issues. It took nine entire rewrites to get the material in a form for people who never thought about city issues in their life, except for the idea that they never want to go there after dark, don't want to live there, and don't want to have children there, are too scared, get jittery about cultural diversity, have never walked in their lives except from the car to the front porch (wait-- garage door!), andonandon. I agree with you that the kind of "rah rah" that we as planners have to listen in Council meetings gets really old really fast, but my book is not a rah-rah, it is a lesson for people in America who generally know nothing about what it means to live in a real city and do urban things daily, and put in a package that Joe and Gina suburbanite would be interested in at least looking at (and it's been endorsed by many academicians, including planning profs. If you're looking for a textbook about setbacks or modeling stats, then this surely isn't the right book. (And by the way-- this Cyburbia Web site is great! What preparation! Keep em coming!)

    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Gee, no mention of homeschooling? Homeschooling is increasingly popular and many people think it is "the wave of the future". I think I have heard Bill Gates quoted as saying something along the lines of that, when speaking about how the computers and the Internet are changing the way we learn and putting more and more resources at the fingertips of "anyone".

    Welcome aboard.
    Thanks Michelle. Yes, it does mention home schooling. The school issue is such a bugaboo, but overall, my point is that if more people decide to band together to take care of the problem instead of running from it, then cities would grow like crazy again. I guess, since I don't have kids, it is easier for me to say, but I think if I did, I would find a way. Doesn't anyone want to ask about "gentrification?" I thought that would be the first question!
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 17 Jan 2006 at 2:56 PM.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KyleEzellGetUrban
    Thanks Michelle. Yes, it does mention home schooling. The school issue is such a bugaboo, but overall, my point is that if more people decide to band together to take care of the problem instead of running from it, then cities would grow like crazy again. I guess, since I don't have kids, it is easier for me to say, but I think if I did, I would find a way. Doesn't anyone want to ask about "gentrification?" I thought that would be the first question!
    Most parents aren't going to care for your message. There is a very simple reason that parents "run from" such problems: such problems take a very long time to resolve and children grow up fast. It doesn't matter much to parents that letting their child be broken on the wheel of "progress" will benefit "future generations" (in theory, at least). Parents have limited resources, our nation and culture are not adequately supportive as is of families with kids, and you will probably get a whole lot of hostility from parents for your 'solution' and your suggestion that they should "fight the tide" and your implied criticism of folks who choose not to.

    If you want to address this, you would probably be more effective to promote things that will make it easier for parents to make the choice to live in the city without having daily stress attacks about "what on earth am I doing to my child??!!!" (And, yes, I put my money where my big, fat mouth is. If you want to know what I, personally, am doing to give support to parents and the educational needs of their kids, you can visit one of my websites -- http://www.califmichele.com -- called "Michele's World! of (Twice) Exceptional Homeschooling". That will give you some vague idea -- just the tip of the iceberg -- of my involvement in the homeschooling community these past 5 1/2 years and some small concept of what I do to help parents whose kids have them tearing their hair out. And I do it completely for free, so far -- although people are encouraging me to write a book, do some consulting, etc.)
    Last edited by Michele Zone; 07 Mar 2004 at 10:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Most parents aren't going to care for your message. There is a very simple reason that parents "run from" such problems: such problems take a very long time to resolve and it doesn't matter much to parents that letting their child be broken on the wheel of "progress" will benefit "future generations" (in theory, at least). Parents have limited resources, our nation and culture are not adequately supportive as is of families with kids, and you will probably get a whole lot of hostility from parents for your 'solution' and your suggestion that they should "fight the tide" and your implied criticism of folks who choose not to.

    If you want to address this, you would probably be more effective to promote things that will make it easier for parents to make the choice to live in the city without having daily stress attacks about "what on earth am I doing to my child??!!!" (And, yes, I put my money where my big, fat mouth is. If you want to know what I, personally, am doing to give support to parents and the educational needs of their kids, you can visit one of my websites -- http://www.califmichele.com -- called "Michele's World! of (Twice) Exceptional Homeschooling". That will give you some vague idea -- just the tip of the iceberg -- of my involvement in the homeschooling community these past 5 1/2 years and some small concept of what I do to help parents whose kids have them tearing their hair out. And I do it completely for free, so far -- although people are encouraging me to write a book, do some consulting, etc.)
    You're absolutely right, most parents won't wait for good schools and they don't have time to commit their entire lives to such a cause. It is the same with city lovers-- most want to enjoy raging urban energy NOW, and want Manhattan and San Francisco instead of Topeka, and don't have the will to devote their lives and souls to save empty downtowns. City issues are tough indeed, and I sure didn't mean to imply criticism because I believe that everyone has the right to choose what's best for them. Just remember, the primary focus is for boomers and young folks without kids--they will be more willing to move to urban areas than those with young children. (go ahead and write your book!)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KyleEzellGetUrban
    You're absolutely right, most parents won't wait for good schools and they don't have time to commit their entire lives to such a cause. It is the same with city lovers-- most want to enjoy raging urban energy NOW, and want Manhattan and San Francisco instead of Topeka, and don't have the will to devote their lives and souls to save empty downtowns. City issues are tough indeed, and I sure didn't mean to imply criticism because I believe that everyone has the right to choose what's best for them. Just remember, the primary focus is for boomers and young folks without kids--they will be more willing to move to urban areas than those with young children. (go ahead and write your book!)
    Having not read your book, I can only go off of comments made in this forum. However, I will note that even boomers and young folks without kids tend to buy housing in a good school district, as their preference, and will buy a 3 bedroom house when they do not need 3 bedrooms simply because re-sale value is higher and it is easier to sell if they need to move. In my opinion, one of the things eating up our cities is the antiquated behemoth housing industry, which grew out of the needs and goals of post WWII realities that no longer exist.

    The guys came home from war and had VA benefits, people had a lot of money in the bank due to the war (2 incomes, no kids, no way to have a kid with hubby overseas fighting, and damn little to spend it on due to war-time rationing) and these people had been living in The Great Depression a mere 4 years before. Thus was born Levittowns and the present mortgage industry, tax breaks on mortgage interest, and on and on -- ALL of it geared towards making it easier for families to buy suburban homes. It is incredibly difficult to finance anything other than a suburban house. Fight that battle and win it and I think you can quit fighting the battle to get people to move to the city: they will go when it becomes easier for "ordinary" people to do it without "fighting city hall" or fighting the tide, etc.

    What ails cities runs deep and it is essentially the hauntings of a ghost from our past. Most folks have yet to wake up to what is Real for the Here and Now and they walk around in a haze of memories of their childhood and some totally unrealistic fantasy that those antiquated policies, which are such an albatross around our neck as a nation, OUGHT to work-- and they continue to Tweak them because they just can't come to grips with the Truth that they need to be scrapped entirely, in many cases.

    I have not yet heard you say anything of real substance as to HOW cities can be helped to be reborn. So far, your book sounds like an ad campaign trying to brainwash people into living in cities because you like them and it would benefit you, personally, if more folks would go along with your desire to have a lively downtown. I have every intention of buying property in or near the old downtown of the city I live in and creating a live-work situation. I believe in the need for real communities and I think that is what you are really talking about, in a round-about way. Where you have a real community, you have a lively atmosphere. But, merely getting more numbers of people into a certain geographic area does not make for a lively downtown because it does not, in and of itself, create a community. Community is something which occurs amongst people. Infrastructure can support the creation of community or undermine the creation of community but infrastructure in and of itself cannot make a community. People and only people make communities, which is why you can have an online community, such as Cyburbia.

    I have many years experience in promoting a sense of community in organizations and I began bringing that wealth of experience, skill, and talent to online communities about 4 years ago. At some point, I decided that I wanted to bring my eye for "what makes a community work" to urban planning and apply it to The Built Environment because I think that my people-centered focus is lacking in much of the decision-making processes which lead our cities and towns and so forth to be so empty and "dead".

    I really have no desire to bust your chops. You did kind of say "bring it on". I hope you meant that. My intro to this forum was a "trial by fire" and I knew what I was in for because of the way I jumped into the middle of a controversial conversation. I have found it to be enriching to get feedback as to what I am doing "right" and what I am doing "wrong" and I don't villify people for reacting negatively to me under such circumstances. I genuinely hope you will take my comments as "feedback", which is their intended purpose. Just as I set myself up to be a 'target' by the way I joined this group, I think the way you joined and began immediately hawking your book also set you up as a "target". However, Mae West always said "There is no such thing as "bad" pubilicity". And that has been my personal experience as well: nothing attracts attention like a good controversy or something gossippy or a good Firestorm. It gets people to talking.

    In the spirit of one future author to someone who is already a published author and with gratitude for a chance to participate in a really interesting conversation,
    Michele

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Having not read your book, I can only go off of comments made in this forum. However, I will note that even boomers and young folks without kids tend to buy housing in a good school district, as their preference, and will buy a 3 bedroom house when they do not need 3 bedrooms simply because re-sale value is higher and it is easier to sell if they need to move. In my opinion, one of the things eating up our cities is the antiquated behemoth housing industry, which grew out of the needs and goals of post WWII realities that no longer exist.

    The guys came home from war and had VA benefits, people had a lot of money in the bank due to the war (2 incomes, no kids, no way to have a kid with hubby overseas fighting, and damn little to spend it on due to war-time rationing) and these people had been living in The Great Depression a mere 4 years before. Thus was born Levittowns and the present mortgage industry, tax breaks on mortgage interest, and on and on -- ALL of it geared towards making it easier for families to buy suburban homes. It is incredibly difficult to finance anything other than a suburban house. Fight that battle and win it and I think you can quit fighting the battle to get people to move to the city: they will go when it becomes easier for "ordinary" people to do it without "fighting city hall" or fighting the tide, etc.

    What ails cities runs deep and it is essentially the hauntings of a ghost from our past. Most folks have yet to wake up to what is Real for the Here and Now and they walk around in a haze of memories of their childhood and some totally unrealistic fantasy that those antiquated policies, which are such an albatross around our neck as a nation, OUGHT to work-- and they continue to Tweak them because they just can't come to grips with the Truth that they need to be scrapped entirely, in many cases.

    I have not yet heard you say anything of real substance as to HOW cities can be helped to be reborn. So far, your book sounds like an ad campaign trying to brainwash people into living in cities because you like them and it would benefit you, personally, if more folks would go along with your desire to have a lively downtown. I have every intention of buying property in or near the old downtown of the city I live in and creating a live-work situation. I believe in the need for real communities and I think that is what you are really talking about, in a round-about way. Where you have a real community, you have a lively atmosphere. But, merely getting more numbers of people into a certain geographic area does not make for a lively downtown because it does not, in and of itself, create a community. Community is something which occurs amongst people. Infrastructure can support the creation of community or undermine the creation of community but infrastructure in and of itself cannot make a community. People and only people make communities, which is why you can have an online community, such as Cyburbia.

    I have many years experience in promoting a sense of community in organizations and I began bringing that wealth of experience, skill, and talent to online communities about 4 years ago. At some point, I decided that I wanted to bring my eye for "what makes a community work" to urban planning and apply it to The Built Environment because I think that my people-centered focus is lacking in much of the decision-making processes which lead our cities and towns and so forth to be so empty and "dead".

    I really have no desire to bust your chops. You did kind of say "bring it on". I hope you meant that. My intro to this forum was a "trial by fire" and I knew what I was in for because of the way I jumped into the middle of a controversial conversation. I have found it to be enriching to get feedback as to what I am doing "right" and what I am doing "wrong" and I don't villify people for reacting negatively to me under such circumstances. I genuinely hope you will take my comments as "feedback", which is their intended purpose. Just as I set myself up to be a 'target' by the way I joined this group, I think the way you joined and began immediately hawking your book also set you up as a "target". However, Mae West always said "There is no such thing as "bad" pubilicity". And that has been my personal experience as well: nothing attracts attention like a good controversy or something gossippy or a good Firestorm. It gets people to talking.

    In the spirit of one future author to someone who is already a published author and with gratitude for a chance to participate in a really interesting conversation,
    Michele
    Michelle, I didn't even know Cyburbia had this type of forum, or I'd have said "bring it on" a long time ago. I was invited to join by a member that told me about it, and I'm glad I did. I suppose it is hard to respond to your lengthy prose, but I'll just say it is hard to defend a book that you haven't even read yet. (hawk, hawk). It is going to be impossible for me to answer everyone's questions, although I have enjoyed this night very much and it is almost 12:30 a.m. My final comment here is that, if I've broght the the issue of revitalizing the poor ol' cities between the coasts to the table, that's all I could have ever hoped. GET URBAN! Good night.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KyleEzellGetUrban
    Michelle, ... I suppose it is hard to respond to your lengthy prose, but I'll just say it is hard to defend a book that you haven't even read yet.
    Nah, it is a wonderful opportunity to brush up on all of your "Standard Replies" when the real sharks start criticizing you. <wink>

    I recently ended up in a huge controversial debate in a homeschooling forum thanks to a "little help from my friends" who kindly opened the door to the controversial topic and then gave me a good shove into the Lion's Den. An article I had been trying to write for weeks ultimately came out of my efforts to defend my position from 2 people who just wouldn't let it go, I think because they find my views personally threatening/upsetting. If you can only convince your "friends" that you have a valid point, then you need to work on the holes in your argument -- and what better place to do so than a reasonably Civilized environment where the Mods would grab me by the ear and escort my posts off the board if I got too ugly.

    As for my long posts, "Michele: Poster Child for Excessive Long-Windedness". (And, no, I don't want to join the 12 Step program for that, thanks.)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Hello and welcome.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Welcome from a DC area planner who LOVES urban life and is all about being a cheerleader for such. I trust I can find your book on Amazon? Looking forward to a good read.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  15. #15
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    welcome
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  16. #16
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Any book promoting cities and urban life is a good book to me. Best of luck with your promotion.

    Cheers

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    Thanks Planner Girl-- I was thinking maybe this was not a "city" kind of site!

    Quote Originally posted by PlannerGirl
    Welcome from a DC area planner who LOVES urban life and is all about being a cheerleader for such. I trust I can find your book on Amazon? Looking forward to a good read.
    And NH and H. Please look at the forum in Make No Small Plans-- and please ask a few questions-- besides schools, what will the average person ask? What questions would YOU ask?

  18. #18
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    Any book promoting cities and urban life is a good book to me. Best of luck with your promotion.

    Cheers
    Hear, hear, I second this!

    I currently live in Chicago, and I wholly agree that urban, relatively car-free living is best way to live, but I guess I'm preaching to the choir here.
    Last edited by mendelman; 08 Mar 2004 at 1:10 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  19. #19
    It seems like people are jumping on the author without ever reading the book. I for one saw an ad for this book elsewhere and I thought it sounded like an interesting read. As someone who loves Cities and lives in a Midwestern one, I think I would like it and I certainly will not pass judgment until I have actually read it!

    I think that 75 percent of the problems with urban public schools are related to bad parenting, and 15 percent bad teachers, and 10 percent budget related. My mom has taught in the inner city for over 30 years and has watched as a majority of parents don't even show up for conferences, don't call back when teachers call them about problems, and don't give a crap if their kids do homework. Then they whine and cry when their kid gets failing grades. The correlation between parent(s) who care and good grades is very strong. Many parents (inner city and suburbs) expect schools to do everything. For some people, Home Schooling may be an alternative, but I think that if a kid has parents (or a parent) that works with them and makes sure they do homework as well as extra curricular reading and other learning opportunities, they will succeed academically.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  20. #20
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    Thanks Homer

    Quote Originally posted by Repo Man
    It seems like people are jumping on the author without ever reading the book. I for one saw an ad for this book elsewhere and I thought it sounded like an interesting read. As someone who loves Cities and lives in a Midwestern one, I think I would like it and I certainly will not pass judgment until I have actually read it!

    I think that 75 percent of the problems with urban public schools are related to bad parenting, and 15 percent bad teachers, and 10 percent budget related. My mom has taught in the inner city for over 30 years and has watched as a majority of parents don't even show up for conferences, don't call back when teachers call them about problems, and don't give a crap if their kids do homework. Then they whine and cry when their kid gets failing grades. The correlation between parent(s) who care and good grades is very strong. Many parents (inner city and suburbs) expect schools to do everything. For some people, Home Schooling may be an alternative, but I think that if a kid has parents (or a parent) that works with them and makes sure they do homework as well as extra curricular reading and other learning opportunities, they will succeed academically.
    I have never participated in a forum like on the Web before, and it is exhausting (but fun-- kind of addictive) Like experiencing a new culture of sorts.

    Will say that so far, questions related to schools are by far the most numerous. Before I started writing in 2001, my focus groups said the big topic of conversation would be "gentrification" since so many told me that people moving back to cities instead of into new subdivisions was "wrong" (you wouldn't believe how many non-planning types said that!). So I'm shocked that it hasn't yet come up! Thanks for your comments--

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    Congrats on publishing!

    I'll take a look at it, only if to learn the 'art of schlepping'

    and it may fuel that entrepreneurial drive to wheel and deal in RE. I know this fab little building c1880 vacant and for sale on the river in the urban village nearby used to be a basket making operation, that would be great for a bakery house or brewery...

    (dreams..puff puff)

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Welcome
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KyleEzellGetUrban

    Unless more people understand what it means to truly be "urban" and then decide with vigor to move to the old neighborhoods, by choice, not by force, and not with any current tools that we planners can provide, then we can rewrite zoning codes until the cows come home and keep going through the motions.
    And there's the rub: Do Americans even want to be urban? There's something about the so-called American Dream and our Manifest Destiny that seems anti-thetical to the whole notion of living an urban lifestyle.

    I wrote a paper for an urban design graduate seminar. The paper focused on the design of Faneuil Hall - accounting for its history and its rehabilitation in 1976 - and its relationship to the Boston urban fabric. The course clearly focused on urban design - it barely touched the suburban reality and sneered at the whole New Urbanist movement. Anyway, back to my point. I quoted Robert Campbell from a 1981 issue of AIA Journal in my paper and perhaps his comments on Faneuil Hall are similar to what your book is trying to accomplish:
    Whenever you start out to do something you've never done before, you have to go through a period in which you feel that you're merely impersonating yourself doing this new thing. After a time, you come to feel that you yourself are really doing it. The marketplace is an impersoantion of a kind of urban life that no longer exists in most of America. It's a theatrical representation of street life. It has to be this, because that is a stage we have to go through as we begin cautiously, self-consciously to re-enact the urban culture we abandoned.
    Good luck! And thanks for sharing with us.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    19
    Quote Originally posted by Jen
    I'll take a look at it, only if to learn the 'art of schlepping'

    and it may fuel that entrepreneurial drive to wheel and deal in RE. I know this fab little building c1880 vacant and for sale on the river in the urban village nearby used to be a basket making operation, that would be great for a bakery house or brewery...

    (dreams..puff puff)
    I think as planners we need to rewrite our zoning codes to address the ability of the pedestrian to schlep. As a daily schlepper, it is not always easy!

    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    And there's the rub: Do Americans even want to be urban? There's something about the so-called American Dream and our Manifest Destiny that seems anti-thetical to the whole notion of living an urban lifestyle.

    I wrote a paper for an urban design graduate seminar. The paper focused on the design of Faneuil Hall - accounting for its history and its rehabilitation in 1976 - and its relationship to the Boston urban fabric. The course clearly focused on urban design - it barely touched the suburban reality and sneered at the whole New Urbanist movement. Anyway, back to my point. I quoted Robert Campbell from a 1981 issue of AIA Journal in my paper and perhaps his comments on Faneuil Hall are similar to what your book is trying to accomplish:
    Whenever you start out to do something you've never done before, you have to go through a period in which you feel that you're merely impersonating yourself doing this new thing. After a time, you come to feel that you yourself are really doing it. The marketplace is an impersoantion of a kind of urban life that no longer exists in most of America. It's a theatrical representation of street life. It has to be this, because that is a stage we have to go through as we begin cautiously, self-consciously to re-enact the urban culture we abandoned.
    Good luck! And thanks for sharing with us.
    Thank you back. that quote was on the money! Indeed, we Americans may not want to be urban. But I believe it is because most people have no idea what it actually means. My sisters and I took my mom to NYC for the first time on her 65th birthday. She's a country girl from Tennessee and has never been to a city bigger than Nashville. She was scared to death to go to New York. Amazingly, after a few hours of walking the streets (we walked all over Manhattan), she is a city-lover of the highest order. I'm not saying that we all should live in New York. But I think, that just like my country mom, that most people have preconceived (wrong) ideas about city living. Thanks again.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 17 Jan 2006 at 2:57 PM.

  25. #25
    Greetings from a third tier city across the Mighty Ohio from a second tier city and 609 river miles from yet another second tier city.

    Anyone that advocates for city-life is a-ok in my book.

    My 0.02: the neighborhood elementary school is 4 blocks from my house in the heart of the city (and its oldest residential district), yet my kids would get on a bus and ride out of this school district, through a second district to attend a school 6.5 miles from my house. No other kid in the city travels more than 1.5 miles to their elementary school and very few in the county travel farther (we are the second smallest county in area in Indiana). After elementary school, the kids from that school district would go on to one middle school, while my kids would get shipped to a different middle school (so no friends from school when they matriculate at the new school). All because the inner-city does not have the pull to get the county elementaries re-districted so that we could attend our neighborhood school. Heaven forbid county kids should go to school with kids from the urban milieu. (The school could use some kids from our neighborhood -- it is one of the poorest scoring schools in standardized state tests.)

    For this reason (among others, to be honest) my kids attend Catholic school. I am fortunate that I can afford to send them, but there are many that cannot and I think this serves as yet another dis-incentive to revitalizing the inner-city.

    Anyway, good luck with the book and enjoy Cyburbia.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

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