City Walks-Janes Walks

Place matters and matters of place

I’ve been struggling with the question of what exactly makes a place feel like “a place.” You may be baffled by that language, but if you think about it, you probably recognize that being in different kinds of places imparts a different feeling. Some locations feel artificial; others feel authentic. Age and beauty aren’t necessarily […]

Celebrate Jane Jacobs on walking tour of Central Avenue

The late author and urban thinker Jane Jacobs tends to be pegged as a historic preservationist, an advocate who wanted to preserve her Greenwich Village neighborhood in amber. Although this great champion of cities wrote much about the importance of old buildings to a city, and as an activist fought valiantly to kill a proposed […]

Matthews store sees future in its farming past

The farmer points toward a long stretch of turned earth warming in the sun. Tomatoes and squash will grow well there, he says. More crops will be planted over there, he says, gesturing toward another neatly plowed rectangle. Behind him, small fruit trees cast shadows across the grass. It’s bucolic enough to make you almost […]

Gastonia, New York, Jane Jacobs and me

New York City and Gastonia don’t, at first glance, appear to have much in common. Yet both Manhattan and the much smaller city in the Piedmont of North Carolina can offer an example of “urbanism.” And both have suffered grave harm from well-intentioned “progress.” Charlotte architect Terry Shook, speaking last month at the showing of […]

Charlotte rolls toward N.C.’s first bike-share system

Proponents of bicycle sharing are striving to launch the state’s first system in and near uptown Charlotte as soon as this summer. The system would give paying members access to a fleet of 200 high-tech bikes secured at a network of 20 stations in and around uptown. Bike sharing began in Europe in the 1960s, […]

The Uwharrie River.  Photo by Ruth Ann Grissom.

Christmas Snow 2010

As I write this article, we’re in the wake of our second major snowstorm this season – several inches of pretty snow capped with an ugly layer of ice. I’m stuck in a condo in Atlanta, negotiating slippery sidewalks with an elderly terrier. My plans to drive up to the Uwharries for the week are […]