Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some new links you may be interested in

Pirates' Alley, in New Orleans' French Quarter. Imagine some spaces like this--a mix of shops, restaurants, and residences, through which automobile traffic is severely restricted--in Wichita's downtown, the Delano District, the 21st Street area, etc. A fella can dream, right? Image via the Project for Public Spaces, about which more below.

Over the past couple of days, I've run across various places and linked to them over in the right gutter. I don't have a real sense of how often those link lists even get looked at, much less used, so I wanted to round up a few of the more significant ones here.

First and foremost, I want to note for you the recent appearance of River City Cyclist in the still-small but expanding Wichita cycling-blog universe. Though it's still early in its existence, Robert, its creator, is thinking big: he even has a separate forum set up. I hope you'll link to him and pay him a visit.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago that I would do, the gutter now features a list of U.S. blogs in the style of the venerable Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Yes: the pretty-girls-on-bicycles aesthetic has its own immediate and obvious virtues; my larger intention in linking to them, though, as I said the other day, is to encourage Wichitans during these days of envisioning what a more livable city could look like to look at these images and ask ourselves, Why can't we have an urban core and a Delano District that foster this, too, along with paths and bike lanes from outlying areas into those areas--and not just on weekends? A city whose streets feel safe enough for women to ride bicycles in street clothes becomes a safer city, period [EDIT: Right on cue . . .]--and, not coincidentally, a city where people (and their employers) will want to live and work.

More imagination-candy: Take a gander at the Project for Public Spaces--a visual treat for those of us who look at all those wasted or underutilized lots and buildings in Downtown, the Delano District and elsewhere in the city and imagine what could be done with them. The concept is a simple one: Attractive, multi-use public spaces not only attract visitors; with the right planning, they attract businesses and residents, too. Located at or near transportation crossroads (in our city, that would be things like intersecting bus routes and bike lanes/paths), they can become the focal points for high-density development that, if done right, creates spaces where people genuinely live--like, for example, shop for food there and not have to leave the neighborhood to get groceries--and not just sleep in overpriced loft apartments.

At any rate, Project for Public Spaces is part of a small gathering of links over in the right gutter called "Community, Urbanism, Policy, Politics." If this sort of stuff is at all interesting to you, I hope you'll spend some time clicking and following links . . . and not forget to attend some meetings.


Robert said...

Thanks for the plug. I appreciate the support and hope to add a positive influence to the cause. I appreciate the welcoming feedback.

John B. said...

You're most welcome, Robert. As I said over at your place, the more presence--in the blogosphere and traditional media as well as on the street--cyclists have, the better served we all are.