Archive for July, 2011

by (RSS) Uncategorized | July 29th, 2011 2:02pm CST | Comments Off on The Dangers of Creative Compartmentalization

From Jonathan Fields blog: When life gets overwhelming, it’s tempting to divide it into manageable buckets. We talk about things like our work life and our home life as though we can somehow slip out of our skin and assume another identity when transitioning between them. However, trying to compartmentalize the various parts of life […]

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We’ll move to some other urban design and fabric faux pas soon, but we continue to get emails about the continued close of Madison Avenue. We got this update from Urbanut about the “Main Street Trench:” “As fate would have it, a crew of 5 maintenance employees and no less than 4 city trucks was […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | July 28th, 2011 1:54pm CST | 3 Comments

From the The Black Urbanist: Recently the national-award winning, Duany Plater-Zybek designed community of Southside in Greensboro lost a key tenant, Vintage 301. Outside of Manny’s Universal Café, this was the only restaurant in the neighborhood and only consistent draw of people outside of the small neighborhood inside. While there are a few hair salons […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development | July 28th, 2011 12:05am CST | 6 Comments

No one can say that there’s never any good news in the newspaper. Last week, the Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board met for the last time. For years, the IDB has handed out tax waivers to anyone who could fill out the paperwork.  The heaps of praise of the lawyer who has gouged […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | July 27th, 2011 2:00pm CST | 21 Comments

It’s hard to find much positive news for Memphis and Shelby  County  in the results from the 2010 Census, a review of the data shows. Consider these statistics: –Shelby County had the lowest population increase during a decade since the 1870s when yellow fever ravaged the area. The 1870s gain was 2,053. The increase from […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | July 26th, 2011 1:50pm CST | 5 Comments

Last week I got a small crack in my windshield, courtesy of a Mack truck going 85 on the I-240 super-collider.  I quickly finished my business in the boonies and toodled back to the safety of midtown/downtown.  It has now been 5 days since I got that little 1 inch boo boo.  I have spent […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development, Uncategorized | July 26th, 2011 12:51am CST | 5 Comments

The good news is that Memphis traditionally has not been hit as badly as many cities during normal economic downturns.  The bad news is that Memphis hasn’t benefitted as much from the economic upticks either. This was made clear during the boom years of the Clinton Administrations as cities, especially downtowns, were remade by record […]

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by (RSS) Planning and Urban Design | July 25th, 2011 12:00pm CST | 9 Comments

Today I drove past the new CVS building at Union and Cooper. When complete, it will be a case study how not to redevelop urban commercial district sites. There was, however, no mechanism to prevent what’s been done. There was no agreed-upon urban design plan or civic vision to guide City decision-makers. Public opinion was […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | July 22nd, 2011 2:00pm CST | Comments Off on Innovation in Memphis City Government

From Governing: By Stephen Goldsmith Stephen Goldsmith is deputy mayor of operations for the City of New York. Last week, an important event occurred that could dramatically reshape the face of municipal reform. Bloomberg Philanthropies announced $24 million in grants designed to prove that a dedicated “innovation delivery team” can effectively help mayors design and […]

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by (RSS) Memphis City Schools | July 21st, 2011 1:35pm CST | Comments Off on City Council Presents Its Case In School Funding Controversy

In response to our post earlier this week about the dispute between Memphis City Council and Memphis City Schools, we heard from several Council members who took issue with our opinion.  In the interest of having a meaningful conversation and understanding its position about this contentious issue, here are the facts summarized by the City […]

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We’re kicking off our project, with your help, of identifying some egregious tears in our urban fabric and indifference to urban design. The idea grows out of our post last week – and the outstanding examples submitted by readers – about the shoddy repair of the grate on Main Street by City of Memphis.  It […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | July 20th, 2011 2:38pm CST | Comments Off on The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

From New York Times (thanks to Steve Steffens for sending it in): By DAVE EGGERS and NÍNIVE CLEMENTS CALEGARI WHEN we don’t get the results we want in our military endeavors, we don’t blame the soldiers. We don’t say, “It’s these lazy soldiers and their bloated benefits plans! That’s why we haven’t done better in […]

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by (RSS) Transportation | July 20th, 2011 12:30am CST | 42 Comments

The recent announcement that Memphis will participate in the Obama White House’s Strong Cities program to break down silos so federal agencies can do more to help us achieve our goals.  Well, here’s our project for the federal folks: do something about I-269. There’s no real justification for the interstate, but at this point, there’s […]

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by (RSS) Memphis City Schools | July 19th, 2011 12:28am CST | Comments Off on The Lost Year In Memphis City Schools

  While we encouraged and supported Memphis City Council’s attempt to end the double taxation of Memphians for public education, that noble battle was lost when the courts abandoned all logic and confirmed the current inequitable system. That said, it’s time for City of Memphis to pay Memphis City Schools what the courts have ordered […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | July 18th, 2011 1:55pm CST | Comments Off on Reforming the Education Reformers

A few years ago, we brought Paul Tough to Memphis to speak after he wrote his book on Geoffrey Canada, and here’s a post about him from Mother Jones: In an unexpected move, Paul Tough pours cold water on education reform’s overheated talking heads. Paul Tough [1], author of one of my favorite books about […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development | July 18th, 2011 12:26am CST | 11 Comments

McKesson Corporation’s request for the munificence of the Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board frames up one of the primary fallacies in the unbridled IDB policies that waive $32 million in city-county taxes this year. McKesson, the largest health care company in the world with annual revenues of $109 billion, contends that it must […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | July 15th, 2011 1:50pm CST | Comments Off on The Economic Value Exercise for Art is Futile

From spiked-online.com: How should we measure the value of culture? Take, for example, Michelangelo’s sculpture of the biblical hero David shown preparing for battle with Goliath, in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence. As the statue attracts visitors – the gold standard of a successful art gallery – the box denoting popularity gets a tick. And […]

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by (RSS) Planning and Urban Design | July 15th, 2011 12:23am CST | 10 Comments

“This sure is one tough city.” We were driving a visitor to Memphis from the airport to downtown.  We hadn’t said a word about crime or public safety at all. The comment was triggered by the Memphis obsession with razor wire. Of course, when the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department puts up razor wire to protect […]

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