Friday, September 17, 2021

THE 15-MINUTE CITY

OLD-FASHIONED COMPACT, CONVENIENT, MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT FOR A MODERN, POST PANDEMIC, WALKABLE WORLD

Carlos Moreno said connectivity to the suburbs (which are much more dense that those in America) will be boosted by Grand Paris Express,

a $25 billion expansion of the century-old Paris Métro to be completed in 2030, and the system will have gained four lines, 68 stations, and more than 120 miles of track.

Moreno noted that the lines will boost inclusion for people with disabilities, as all stations will be wheelchair-accessible (currently, only three percent of the historic metro is accessible.)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

THE 15-MINUTE CITY

OLD-FASHIONED COMPACT, CONVENIENT, MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT FOR A MODERN, POST PANDEMIC, WALKABLE WORLD

Carlos Moreno said Paris has committed to creating much more social housing, to allow people to age in place, to combat gentrification and to create rental properties for low-income workers. 

He said government also must take an active role in preserving mom and pop commerce, the low-rise density of the Hausmann 6-story city and the human scale of Paris

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

THE 15-MINUTE CITY

OLD-FASHIONED COMPACT, CONVENIENT, MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT FOR A MODERN, POST PANDEMIC, WALKABLE WORLD

Carlos Moreno acknowledges that increasing the livability of a big city can add to housing woes.

This is particularly true in Paris -- where a 1-bedroom, 600-square- foot apartment in the 11th arrondissement relatively far from the Notre Dame, the Louvre and Eiffel tower, still costs more than $1,000 per square foot.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

THE 15-MINUTE CITY

OLD-FASHIONED COMPACT, CONVENIENT, MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT FOR A MODERN, POST PANDEMIC, WALKABLE WORLD

“I call this the new happy life, the happy city. We need to rediscover proximity in a peaceful, greener city. It also is healthier because of a low carbon impact,” Carlos Moreno said.

While Paris, which developed long before the car was the primary means of transportation, already is a 15-minute city to a large degree

– Moreno points out that it still benefits from turning parking lots into greenery, making traffic circles pedestrian and bike friendly, and decentralizing the city.

That means more medical centers spread through the neighborhoods and affordable housing introduced into wealthy neighborhoods, so support workers don’t have to live far outside the center.


Monday, September 13, 2021

THE 15-MINUTE CITY

OLD-FASHIONED COMPACT, CONVENIENT, MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT FOR A MODERN, POST PANDEMIC, WALKABLE WORLD

“This is in the tradition of Jane Jacobs,” Moreno said of the legendary urban activist-author who published The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961.

“She developed this idea for livable cities -- very vibrant, with green public space, social uses, different activities.

The internet, technology and economic system is very, very different then her times, but this is still relevant today.”

Moreno said people are living in hard times of a pandemic, job loss, income disparity, long commutes and other pressures.

He said making cities more livable is the medicine for urban ills.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

THE 15-MINUTE CITY

OLD-FASHIONED COMPACT, CONVENIENT, MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT FOR A MODERN, POST PANDEMIC, WALKABLE WORLD

Moreno has four guiding principles of the 15-minute city:  

Ecology: for a green and sustainable city.   

Proximity: to live with reduced distance to other activities.   

Solidarity: to create links between people.   

Participation: actively involve citizens in the transformation of their neighborhood.  


Saturday, September 11, 2021

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HEIDI

MY SOULMATE OF MORE THAN A THIRD OF A CENTURY

Heidi Johnson-Wright entered this world on September 11, 1964.

I’m posting this the next day for two reasons – I was on the road yesterday and my Sunday posts get the highest readership.

I could write so many things, but this online birthday card will focus on my love of travel and how I never would have made it to New York, Los Angeles or Chicago – let alone vast parts of South and Central America, Mexico, Turkey, France, Italy, Morocco, the U.K. or Egypt without her encouragement.

We were born hillbillies, or at least I was. A station wagon trip through the Smoky Mountains was as exotic as jet setting to Paris in my family.

Heidi set the tone with our honeymoon – the Wrights took Manhattan.

Yes, we stayed in a bland and gigantic chain hotel in Midtown and went to Cats (we love felines, but the Broadway play was pretty darn safe and tourist-friendly).

We returned another time to the Drake, a legend – also in Midtown – as a residence of many an old-time performer and the Swissotel where Donahue put his guests up back in the day. It was torn down for a super tall tower for billionaires.

We found out about Affinia Gardens, a residential hotel with a full, albeit shabby, kitchen and amazing wheelchair access. The room was on the ground floor, so no relying on an elevator for full access to our suite. We lived like to residents of the Central Park area.

Our shabbiest visit was to the famed Chelsea Hotel. We were checked in by legendary manager Stanley Bard and bedded down in a careworn room among the art and artists.

A friend told us about the most-loved (but not most expensive or famous) hotel in all of Manhattan. The late, great Wyndham. Not to be confused with the chain of the same name.

For decades, a husband-and-wife team ran the Wyndham more like an apartment building. Countless A-list celebrities lived there year-round or for months. We spotted a few, as we rode an elevator so old it had an elevator operator. The location was footsteps from the Plaza, but with prices we could afford and no pretension.

We stayed in Chelsea a few more times, near the developing High Line. And we slept at a gilded Midtown palace once – getting a free upgrade because the lower priced sister property near Grammercy had a ramp so steep to the lobby that entering the proper was a disaster waiting to happen.

Another time, we stayed way downtown at a chain property – at a deep discount – and watched crews rebuilding the ground zero site.

Along the way, we visited every museum, road the subway via the fraction of accessible stops, dined from dirty water hot dogs to Michelin starred impossible to get tables to funky Vietnamese fried fish Bahn Mi style sandwiches from a parking garage.

We were going to celebrate Heidi’s 57th in New York for a week.  Booked it in June when it looked like COVID would be under control. But the traveling Wrights will have to wait another year to fly safely.

Happy Birthday, Heidi, my love.