Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where to Begin?

For starters, welcome to my blog devoted to the positive aspects of city life. I hope to address a wide array of topics from travel options to the history of downtown street grids. Opinion will inevitably color some of the pieces, but I hope to keep that to a minimum. I also hope to create a place to bring together news on urban development projects, primarily residential. The launch of this blog is the culmination of months if not years of thought and a new attitude for the new year.

First, a little bit about me. I live at the condo/townhouse seen to the left in Webster, a Rochester suburb. How my wife and I ended up here is a long story for another post, but the short version is that a real estate transaction for 690 Broadway in Rochester fell apart almost three years ago and 'Plan D' was moving out here. Don't get me wrong, we love our place and wish we could detach it and airlift into the city, but it wasn't our first, second, or even third choice. The launch also coincides with us starting to pick up our city home search in earnest, so expect posts along the way. For now this undermines my credibility somewhat, and I understand that, but I think you'll find I have a very progressive urban attitude based on experiences despite my current address.

A recurring feature of the blog will be single editorial posts on the vibrancy, amenities, and attractions of various Great American (and some Canadian) Cities that we've been to. I'll do my best to be thorough enough that the post could be used as a mini-guide for their downtowns. Cities of all sizes are in store including Toronto, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, tiny little Batavia, NY, and many other places in between. I will do my best to augment these case studies with personal photography and an even-keeled perception that tries to find positives in each environment while not completely ignoring the negatives. Where applicable, I will comment on mass-transit systems, one of my favorite interests.

To the right, linked lists will guide you to recurring reference material. More is to come in addition to Jane Jacobs' seminal work (which I have started but had to return to the library. I am in the process of purchasing a used copy from Amazon). To add local flavor, I am also going to compile a short list of Rochester resources and hope to gain significant local readership. One thing that spurred me into creating this sort of forum is the tendency of Rochesterians to narrow their focus on negative aspects of life in this area. I'm living proof that there is a lot to be proud of and enjoy and I hope to shine the spotlight on events going on in the area worth attending.

I'll finish this introduction with a link to RochesterDowntown.com's Downtown Living Website and a picture taken in 1999 in Toronto that is symbolic of the beginning of my dream to live in a major downtown. More to come tomorrow!

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