Overlooking the potential effects of national policy.

Warren - Wikipedia, 04/09/2014

Warren – Wikipedia, 04/09/2014

When the history of Idaho is counted and retold, there are some elements that are hardly ever missed. The Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clark, Native American tribal affiliations, immigrant settlements – all of these tend to be covered and recalled without much under-representation. Another of these historic staples is Idaho’s mining industry. What do perhaps get overlooked, perhaps if only in the context of building and sustaining communities, are the national policies that affect economic efforts in the states. Idaho is no stranger to this. Limitation Order L-208 in 1942 is an example of how a national policy, and perhaps international war and conflict, can disintegrate a burgeoning town or settlement overnight. We should look at the histories of places like Warren, Idaho if we intend to learn a thing or two about planning for unexpected change in economies and policies. Building resiliency into communities should include not under-estimating the impacts of national interests and policy decisions. Continue reading


The plan for Chicago.

The City Beautiful Movement of the 1890s was epitomized at the World Columbian

The Court of Honor and Grand Basin, 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair (Wikipedia 2014)

The Court of Honor and Grand Basin, 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair (Wikipedia 2014)

Exposition of 1893, which was held in Chicago and often referred to as the “White City” due to the coating of white paint on all the buildings.  Director of Construction Daniel H. Burnham brought in architects with backgrounds and training in the Beaux-Arts style to design the buildings of the city, the beautiful main court and, the open green spaces, all precepts of the City Beautiful Movement which stood in stark contrast to the urban blight of Chicago in the 1800s. Continue reading

Chicago Commercial Club: Early planning’s philosopher kings.

Burnham's Civic Center Plaza - Wikipedia, 2/2/2014

Burnham’s Civic Center Plaza – Wikipedia, 2/2/2014

An intentionally pretentious, while moderately accurate title. While they may not have been exactly what Plato had in mind, it would appear they were empowered in the way he might have imagined. In many ways, the organization ‘built’ Chicago, steering it and planning for its future – a course that led it to today’s Windy City. Their names adorn neighborhoods, streets, museums, and public infrastructure. These individual’s contributions to the city, perhaps, kept it from stuttering incrementalism or economically stalling at times. Without their power, influence, and money, Chicago would look altogether different, and other places that emulated designs and plans would clearly not look as they do. Organizations such as the club have helped to bring change to stymied growth and development, revitalize city areas, and capture culture.

Continue reading