Shots from the Block: Pittsburgh Highline

Among the many discoveries I’ve made during my initial journeys along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail is the Pittsburgh Highline. I rolled into the open air plaza on a recent weekend morning and was totally caught off guard, wondering if this was a brand new development or I had simply been unaware of the location … Continue reading Shots from the Block: Pittsburgh Highline

City Scenes: Back at the Ballpark

Within a week of returning to Pittsburgh I attended a Pirates game at PNC Park. It was my first time back to the park since September 29, 2019, which was the last day of the Pirates’ 2019 season and therefore also the last time fans were in the stadium until the pandemic attendance restrictions were … Continue reading City Scenes: Back at the Ballpark

Shots from the Block: the Color Park

Since I moved to Pittsburgh’s South Side last month I have been on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail nearly every day. The nearby riverfront trail has provided me with a handy outlet for active recreation or aimless wandering whenever I feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of East Carson street or am … Continue reading Shots from the Block: the Color Park

City Scenes: Cycling from the South Shore to the North Shore

Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood stays up late. While the major urban artery and commercial corridor of E. Carson St channels a significant amount of traffic all day long, the South Side Flats district is particularly known as a nightlife hot spot. For area residents, the abundance of after-hours revelry can be a nuisance: complaints about … Continue reading City Scenes: Cycling from the South Shore to the North Shore

OpenStreetsPGH 2021 Hazelwood

Since 2015 OpenStreetsPGH has closed selected Pittsburgh streets off to vehicle traffic several times each summer. Organized by Bike Pittsburgh, the events are sort of outdoor festivals that open up a few miles of city streets for walking, cycling, and other forms of non-motorized transit. I’ve always wanted to attend, but during each of the … Continue reading OpenStreetsPGH 2021 Hazelwood

Shots from the Block: Back in the Burgh

After an 18 month residency in Nashville I have returned to Pittsburgh. I had mixed feelings about coming back to the city where I lived for the six years prior to the pandemic. It’s not the move I was hoping to make. I treated my time in Tennessee as a temporary detour, an opportunity to … Continue reading Shots from the Block: Back in the Burgh

The Fair City part 5: Urban Aesthetics & Spatial Justice

Richard Sennett’s perspective on the role of “disorder” in urban life was further developed in his book The Conscience of the Eye. In this work, Sennett strengthens the relationship between urban diversity and broad political perspectives, and argues for a connection between a concern for urban spaces and concerns with social justice. Building from the … Continue reading The Fair City part 5: Urban Aesthetics & Spatial Justice

The Fair City part 4: Equitable Development & Urban Justice

The following explores how notions of urban aesthetics and urban justice are implicated in contemporary concerns with gentrification and “equitable development.” The term “gentrification” was introduced by sociologist Ruth Glass in her 1964 book London: Aspects of Change. Glass coined the term from the English title “landed gentry,” denoting the land owning social class, to … Continue reading The Fair City part 4: Equitable Development & Urban Justice

The Fair City part 3: Aesthetic Order & Criminal Justice

The following considers how varying aesthetic valuations of urban order and disorder have influenced U.S. urban policy. The history I trace here focuses on one salient case: the “broken windows” perspective of urban disorder and its implementation through policing practices by the New York City Police Department. Broken windows theory began as an academic discourse … Continue reading The Fair City part 3: Aesthetic Order & Criminal Justice

The Fair City part 2: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Disorder

Urban agglomerations have taken many forms and been understood in a variety of ways, but density and difference have long been understood as definitive aspects of cities. From the earliest urban settlements and historical cities, the urban condition has been contrasted with rural settlements as sites of man-made chaos opposed to natural harmony. In his … Continue reading The Fair City part 2: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Disorder