Tonawanda News

Columns

October 19, 2012

ADAMCZYK: Ahead of the curve

The Congress for the New Urbanism convened its regional meeting last weekend at the Disneyland for intellectuals known as the Chautauqua Institution, confined except for walking tours to the facility’s grande dame of a hotel, the Athenaeum, a circa 1880 beauty so untouched by any century than its own, a guest expects gaslights and crank-driven telephones in the rooms.

“New Urbanism” is a concept sweeping the circles of architecture, urban planning and regional government. It’s the idea that communities should be for people; cars should not have precedence, houses should be built so the garage door is not the most prominent feature and priority should be given to the citizen walking, not driving. 

So all over America and particularly in small towns rebuilding themselves, the principles of New Urbanism are at work, and this weekend convention at the Institution, itself a very walkable community, brought 200 or so proponents of this very desirable municipal lifestyle together.

Some of the movement’s heavy hitters were there. Victor Dover. John Norquist, the former mayor of Milwaukee. Mayor Dyster of Niagara Falls attended, as did television cameras, book sellers and people preparing for the CNU national convention in 2014 (in Buffalo).

The hallmarks of new urbanism, again, include a respect for people and a certain old-fashionedness about things (call it a return to civility in public planning). The city of Barcelona seems to get high marks from this crowd. To get from place to place, you tend to walk. Quirky buildings are tolerated; old and new architecture co-exist nicely. The idea of mixed-use neighborhoods, that you shop where you live instead of going to the mall in a car, is assumed. Sidewalks of main streets are lined with brick instead of concrete, with flowers on the lamp posts and frequent places to stop, sit and chat. That’s why this crowd is in love with Barcel ...

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  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Kenmore is a village made of bricks Buffalo and surrounding environs have brick buildings galore, often in the process of repurpose. Whole neighborhoods made of brick await development, redevelopment, gentrification, whatever wand will be waved at them to make them function again. Structures here tend not to be razed; they fall down occasionally but typically simply stand and wait.

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  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

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  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

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  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.


    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leffler Mug 041114 [Duplicate] LEFFLER: 'Need to know' a double-edged sword Inquisitive doesn't begin to describe me. I must know everything. About everything. I hate being in the dark. I guess that's what makes my career choice so very obvious. I think "must know everything" is at the top of most journalists' trait lists.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wallace, Amy BW mug WALLACE: Airplane coverage has gone awry I don't know about you, but I am so sick of the cable news stations' constant coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: Making a list, checking it twice Maybe I was thinking about David Letterman's impending retirement. Or maybe it was because my brother posted it to Facebook. I spent a couple hours the other day crafting two top 10 lists, of my favorite books and movies.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: Letterman leaves immense legacy in late night Television watchers -- and I don't mean people watching TV, I mean people who follow the television industry -- have been speculating for years about what would happen when late night legend David Letterman decided to retire.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

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