Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Travel and lifestyle magazines (and writing) as revitalization resources

Travel publications.  I read all kinds of publications, so many that it becomes hard to read books.  One great source of information is travel magazines (and travel writing in newspapers too) because of how they discuss interesting towns, arts initiatives, etc., in other places, across the country or across the world.

So National Geographic Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel and others are all great resources.

The Sunday Travel section of the New York Times is also a must read.  I also like the occasional special travel-focused magazine, called "T" also by the New York Times that comes out quarterly maybe.  The articles aren't always that great, but I like to look at the advertising put in by the various tourism bureaus in the US and elsewhere.

The Life & Arts section in the Saturday Financial Times, and the Off Duty section in the Saturday Wall Street Journal usually have good writing on interesting topics too.

And travel guides.  Some of the Dorling Kindersley guides, like the one for San Francisco, are way better than some of the other ones (like for DC or Philadelphia).

As a revitalizer, reading this stuff is really important.

Food magazines.  Similarly food magazines like Food & Wine and Bon Appetit discuss restaurant and food-related initiatives, food-related tourism, etc.  And the various publications under the "Edible Communities" umbrella are also great resources and fun to find and read when you travel too.

Last month's Food & Wine has a feature, "New All-in-One Artisanal Food Destinations," on new for profit "public market" experiential type places, like DC's Union Market or the new Gotham West Market in NYC.

Edible Institute.  It turns out that the Edible Communities magazines will be having a weekend institute in NYC in May...

Edible Institute is coming to New York for 2014! A weekend of talks, presentations, workshops, and local food & wine tastings — by some of the local food movement’s most influential thinkers, writers, and producers.&

Note that the newest DC edition published a couple issues and seems to have sputtered out...

Local newspaper food sections.  Are also a good source for this kind of info, especially the Wednesday section of the New York Times, although the Food section of the Washington Post remains quite good too, even as the quality of the Style section has significantly declined.

Shelter magazines.  Historic preservation-oriented magazines like Old House Journal, American Bungalow, and to some extent This Old House are great sources of features on neighborhoods across the country that are also historic districts. Features on these places are usually inspiring and provide a lot of interesting information about how communities went through the process of improvement, augured most often by committed historic preservation activists.

This Old House has an annual feature on great historic neighborhoods across the country, but lately they've stopped publishing this feature in the print edition, moving to online only, which limits the marketing utility of the feature.

Real estate coverage in newspapers. The Saturday "House and Home" section of the Financial Times is also a great resource as is the Friday "Mansion" section of the Wall Street Journal.

DC's H Street NE neighborhood was featured awhile back in the FT ("From riots to a rebirth) and a bunch of times in the New York Times, often in the Wednesday Business section, which features extra coverage on real estate related revitalization in cities across the country, but coverage is focused on the Northeast (it's one of the reasons why I sound like I know what's happening in so many places).

Similarly the Money & Investment section of the Wall Street Journal on Wednesdays focuses on property development.

Regional lifestyle magazinesSouthern Living on the south, Sunset about the West Coast, Coastal Living and similar publications like Maryland Life are some of the best for learning about historic neighborhoods, and various other exemplary projects, restaurants, ideas, etc.

The current issue of Sunset is what inspired this entry, because it has their version of this kind of annual feature, "Best Places to Live and Work," featuring neighborhoods in cities like Salt Lake City and Boise, suburban towns, and cities like San Francisco and Santa Monica, with useful information and three key questions for each type of place that they are featuring

-- best place to launch a career (San Francisco, Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Seattle)
-- best place to postpone your career (Honolulu, Carbondale, CO, Kings Beach, CA, and Walla Walla)
-- best burbs (Issaquah, WA, Alameda, CA, Louisville, CO, and South Pasadena, CA)
-- best city neighborhoods (Sugar House in Salt Lake, Richmond in Portland, Highland in Denver, The North End in Boise)
-- best place to reboot your life (Bozeman, Bellingham, WA, Bend, Oregon, Chico, CA).

Note that most of these places seem to have colleges and universities...

Note that the one thing that sucks about these "best of"  features online is that they make you click on pages one by one to see what they have to say.  Print is definitely way better in that case.

Arts. Niche Magazine is a trade magazine for galleries and arts and crafts retailing, but they also write about arts districts and initiatives around the country... I shouldn't have let my subscription lapse. But the travel publications tend to cover this topic quite a bit too.

The same company used to publish American Style, which published an annual feature, AmericanStyle Top 25 Arts Destinations, as well as "Top 10 Art Fairs and Festivals," but they suspended publication of the magazine in 2012.

Local city magazines.  New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Time Out New York, Chicago Magazine, to some extent Washingtonian (pretty focused on people with money), Philadelphia Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, Seattle Magazine, etc. are always good to check out when you travel.

I still remember Detroit Scope, a weekly, from when I was a child.  For a time there were two city magazines, both weekly, in Detroit--back when the economy was so vibrant--but I don't remember the name of the other one...

Urbanism-sustainability.  I don't know of any locally-focused urbanism magazines since Baltimore's Urbanite stopped publishing in 2012.

But Grid Philadelphia, a sustainability and urbanism monthly, is awesome.

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