Archive for August, 2015


This reminds me of the controversy ignited when the City of Charleston (WV) put real spikes on places people might sit in a public park near the bus station. One has to wonder what clientele city planners thought the bus station would attract. Whatever they thought, or didn’t think, the park on Summers Street is usually lively with folks who don’t live in South Hills. I don’t go there myself, as I’m not sure what conversations I am willing to have.

Spaces for People

When I left my home and my family

I was no more than a boy,

in the company of strangers

in the quiet of the railway station running scared.

Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters

where the ragged people go,

looking for the places only they would know.

The Boxer, by Paul Simon

It’s a bright sunny day and I’m sitting on my bench, sipping my coffee, not fully realizing how fortunate I am.  If I want, I can walk down the street and get a double dip of chocolate chip in a sugar cone.  Or maybe go browse the bookstore.  Later that evening I’ll probably go out to eat dinner with my wife, maybe take in the Friday evening concert at the levee.  Much later, I’ll be home, maybe watching tv or cruising the internet.  When we’ve finally exhausted all that the day has to offer, a…

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I really like what this writer said more than five years ago. Reading on…

Spaces for People

Ever suffer from mental overload?  That’s where I am right now.  A little too much studying, too much thinking.  I’ve been reading about William H. (Holly) Whyte, the noted analyzer of public spaces.  So much good stuff came out of his studies and I’m trying to sort through it.  I’ll tell you more about it in a couple of weeks.  For now, join me for a cup of coffee at the Purple Fiddle.

The Purple Fiddle is not a public space.  It’s a private establishment — part cafe, part coffee shop and part performance theater — in downtown Thomas, West Virginia.  So, yes, it’s a stretch to include it in a blog about public spaces, but I’m doing so for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s just a cool place to hang out and I like it.  But if you ask the question “Why?” (which, by the way is the…

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Here it is August 26, 2015, and this is the first time I’ve seen this blog, written almost six years ago. I am going to explore, to see if the writer continued to write. I hope so.

Spaces for People

Outside my window, it’s 25 degrees.  Snow is on the ground.  My space heater is cranking.  I wish it were spring. 

Remember spring?  Remember sitting outside, maybe on a bench, maybe on the ledge of a fountain, splashing water in the background?  Go ahead, take a few moments and take a trip back in time to your favorite outdoor place.

What do you like about it?

Is it peaceful?  Are there other people to watch?  Do you feel safe and secure?  Are you enjoying the sun or sitting in the shade?  Maybe you’re sipping on your beverage of choice.

Nice, huh?  Maybe you’re in a completely natural environment.  Maybe in the woods or in a park.  Or maybe you’re outside your favorite café downtown or in public plaza. 

Where ever your favorite place may be, there are reasons that you enjoy it so much.  There are certain things about a nice…

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