August 11, 2020

Americans Are Designing Asia’s Future

One of the many critical details of 21st century change, learned during a decade of global reporting, is that Asia is the dominant continent of the century. Another thing is that development patterns in Asia’s big cities, the glittering metropolises along the Pacific Rim, are different than they are in the West. And the third essential feature of 21st century change is the big role American architecture, engineering, and planning firms are playing in designing …

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Singapore Knocked As A “Police State.” In This Era It’s A Virtue

SINGAPORE — Michael Fay was a 19-year-old American student in May 1994 when Singapore authorities delivered four strikes to his bare bottom with a rattan cane. Arrested nearly a year before for stealing road signs and vandalizing vehicles, Fay’s caning prompted an international debate about the fairness of Singapore’s justice system and an outcry about its “police state” tactics. I knew two facts about Singapore before I arrived here. First was the debate about Michael …

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From Malaysia, Expressions of Concern For A Roiled U.S.

KUANTAN, Malaysia — Has there ever been a more disturbing time to be an American? Not in my life. And most certainly not in the 10 years that I’ve reported from outside the United States. On the way by train and auto from Penang on the west coast to this industrial city on Malaysia’s east coast, I had a number of conversations with Malaysians about conditions in the U.S. Malay people are a guarded lot. …

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Cities Are Stronghold of Performance in Maelstrom of American Disarray

COLUMBUS, OH — In the year of Trump it’s plain that the United States is entering a new and reckless age. Our federal lawmakers neglect their constitutional duties to legislate in the public interest. Ideology and inflexibility, the gravest threats to a democracy, are elevated as virtues on the political right and political left. Random massacres occur with weekly frequency. Fear and distrust and racism and hate have been unleashed as mainstream attitudes. Where are …

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Donghao Chung, Guangzhou’s Daylighted Refuge

GUANGZHOU, China — Can a polluted stormwater drain newly constructed as an urban park speak for a city? Can a place of refuge, where clear water slips past slick rocks and families gather near the sound and mist of fountains, be an extension of a nation? There’s always risk in heaping such rhapsody on a single example. Still, in the characteristically handsome Chinese design, and in the cooling embrace of its flowing water, the Donghao …

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Do Republicans Hate Cities? Generally Yes

NEW YORK — In the evenings the sidewalks along First Avenue, between 10th and Houston Streets, are a jammed bustle of young people crowded into bars, lined up for tables at good restaurants, or walking fast with heads bowed and faces lit by incoming smart phone texts. First Avenue, like so many other neighborhoods in New York, is a tableau of urban revival, an example of what happens when smart investments and informed entrepreneurism foster …

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In Heart of Rand Paul Territory, Public Investment For Public Purposes

BOWLING GREEN, KY. – When Gary Ransdell, the president of Western Kentucky University, invites alumni to view this city’s redeveloping downtown from his hilltop campus, the response is almost always exclamations of surprise. Just below domed Cherry Hall, one of the 108-year-old university’s grandest buildings, are nearly 200,000 square feet of new student housing, built at a cost of $24 million. There’s also a 30,000 square foot, $10 million alumni center, and a 72,500 square-foot …

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Where Cars Don’t Dominate, Rapid Transit and Strong Economies Do

BERLIN — There are few more impressive places to arrive by intercity train anywhere in the world than this city’s central rail station, the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. A colossal steel and glass building opened in 2006, the Hauptbahnhof (pronounced hote-bonn-off) soars up four levels, from east-west high-speed platforms to high-speed trains running north-south. Stainless steel and glass elevators, and stainless steel escalators tie together the platforms and the various levels of the station, which is stocked …

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9/11 Twelve Years Later – Cities Transformed

The day of the 9/11 attack I was in Manistee, Michigan, a 45-year-old journalist and non-profit executive focused on the usefulness of a new and greener development strategy called “Smart Growth.” My brother watched the attack from his office window in lower Manhattan. My cousin was inside the South Tower and escaped unharmed before it was hit. At the end of the month I toured the still-smouldering piles of rubble at Ground Zero with my …

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Buffalo’s Comeback in the New York Times

BUFFALO – In 2002, when he was recruited to help turn 120 acres of this city’s underperforming downtown into a jobs-producing, world-class campus for medical research, education, and clinical care, Matt Enstice was among a select few of the city’s young professionals who was convinced the idea wasn’t a joke. Mr Enstice knows jokes. Prior to returning home and becoming the president and chief executive of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., the non-profit group …

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