Tonawanda News


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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    August 1, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014