The forgotten and discarded Chinese: Idaho’s version



Throughout planning history it has not been uncommon to “forget” certain groups of people. In fact, throughout the United States’ history this has been recurring, both within the planning profession as well as outside it. Idaho was not left out in exercising this trend. Idaho’s planning history, although short in comparison to other American cities, has experienced its share of ebbs and flows, successes and failures. Embracing diversity and equity planning, especially in regard to the Chinese immigrants of the area, has not been among Idaho’s triumphs. Continue reading


Westward Ho! How Connectedness Facilitated (and Nearly Destroyed) Boise’s Agriculture

State (Valley) St. looking west,, Accessed 3/4/2014

State (Valley) St. looking west,, Accessed 3/4/2014

Boise was settled and developed as an agricultural community. It all started with canals, water and trees of course.

Once early-settlers were able to construct irrigation trenches facilitating orchards and family farms, expansion west of what had been known as Boise’s core, was foreseeable. Next, came the Inter-Urban Railway. With the intention of quick and efficient access to and from agricultural areas the Inter-Urban Railway was crucial in Boise’s expansion west. Just three miles west of the urban center of Boise, Collister Neighborhood was formed as an agriculturally-based community. However, the allure of commerce coupled with this new expansion threatened a vital part of Boise’s cultural foundation: agriculture. Continue reading

How the Market Was Won

Residents and visitors perusing Pike's Place, accessed 2/18/2014,

Residents and visitors perusing Pike’s Place, accessed 2/18/2014,

As the first proposed project slated for Urban Renewal in Seattle, the Pike Plaza Redevelopment Project had big plans for what is now one of the most recognizable landmarks in Seattle.

So, how exactly did this once “blighted” area escape its slated doom and transform into the beloved neighborhood commodity enjoyed by residents and visitors alike today? Continue reading

Planning Utah: from Zion to Smart Growth

Brigham Young

Brigham Young, accessed 2/18/2014,

The Envision Utah coalition has gained some visibility within the planning discussion in regards to their plan, and its influence in shaping the future of Utah. The coalition is well received in a state that is historical conservative, but it is not the first planning entity that has impacted Utah.  Led by early church leader Brigham Young, the Mormons brought with them plans for developing towns throughout the West. The founding father of the Latter -Day Saints religion (LDS) , Joseph Smith, took a lead role in crafting The Plat of Zion which was a religiously influenced document used as the basis for community planning of Mormon settlements. Early planning efforts led by the church served as a foundation for more than 500 western communities.  Today, recognizing the state’s planning past, the Envision Utah process,  has been able to guide the growth of the state into 21st century. Continue reading

The Wright Way of Planning


Henry Wright –
Accessed 2/3/2014


Henry Wright, world renowned landscape architect and urban planning pioneer, implemented aspects of Ebenezer Howard’s “garden city” into his communities. All great planners have some characteristic which sets them apart and gives them an edge – the ability to conceptualize cities, towns, urban planning, in a way that others cannot. In Wright’s case, this was his experience being raised as a Quaker in Kansas. The communities and neighborhoods which Henry Wright helped develop all contain elements that reflect the core principles of the Quaker religion. I don’t think that Wright would have been as successful of a planner as he became if he did not draw the parallels between community and religion, the Quaker religion, person, and place. Continue reading

Dolores Hayden: The Cycle of Suburbia

"Dolores Hayden", accessed 2/3/2014,

“Dolores Hayden”, accessed 2/3/2014,

Dolores Hayden is an accomplished academic, author, poet, historian and urbanist. Her career has been speckled with success and notoriety; the notability of her publications would make some of the most-read authors cower with respect. Hayden is most known for her work delving into the antithesis of “idealistic” living: the Suburb. Continue reading

Victor Gruen, ahead of his time


Victor Gruen, accessed 1/30/2014,

Victor Davd Gruen was a native Austrian, who immigrated to the United States in 1938 under increasing pressures from the Nazis. He is best know for being the man behind the creation, and ultimately the proliferation of the shopping mall. His history is an interesting story, including impersonating a Nazi official. There is a lot of information about how Vctor Gruen became a planner, moved to the United States, and impacted the development of cities. More interesting than that is his legacy; he is a man that was highly sought after for his designs and later vilified for the outcome of his projects. The shopping mall has come to represent some of the least attractive characteristics of modern society, especially in the United States. Consumerism, large corporations overtaking small business, and the proliferation of automobiles are all brought to one location, the mall. Continue reading