If you are as captivated as we are about lining up clues from memory and the geography of the past as a way of understanding the present and thinking about the future, you need to read an excellent series of essays coming out of Rochester, New York in the last few weeks. At turns heartbreaking, insightful, maddening and maybe even hopeful, these posts by the architect and urbanist Howard Decker reveal what happens when a community loses its sense of itself, when it forgets its own stories. There is a cautionary tale here for all of us.
Check out the post on Franklin Square, but be sure to look around at the other posts. Howard’s message to us is that the form of our community tells a story about what’s important to us; that it reflects our values and the choices we make about who we are, what we want to be.
While we struggle with growth and change right here in our own neighborhood and city, a quick look elsewhere can remind us how lucky we are, and what’s at stake as we make choices about the future.
Full disclosure: along with being a terrific urban archaeologist and geographer, Howard is also my big brother. Nice work bro!