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The Lost Corners of Suburbia

The Lost Corners of Suburbia

Belk at Four Seasons Mall
IHOP on Hillsborough Street
Two Guys Pizza on Hillsborough Street
Wachovia at Spring Valley Plaza

All these things used to be on the corner of something. All these places are places I made memories in. All of these places are gone or soon to be gone in their current forms. Many of these places are examples of bad architecture, shadinesss of patrons and big conglomerate corporations that increasingly only care about the dollars of these patrons, not their feelings.

Yet, these and many other dead malls and outparcels and big boxes and downtown storefronts are now gone.

As I’ve prepared to move halfway across the country, and as my hometown and college town begin to make major changes, I’ve started documenting what some may think are mundane, ugly parts of physical space. After all, when I come back to Greensboro, Gate City Boulevard will be the official address of so many things, not just changed street signs. That corner of Hobbs and Friendly might be clear-cut. I want to remember things as they were, because change is inevitable.

And about that corner of Hobbs and Friendly. People are mourning the change of that corner for different reasons. What was once five homes, homes that held families and memories, could soon be the Trader Joe’s that we’ve been begging for years. The one that I’m still on the fence about wanting to come to town for this very reason. (Let me add that now that I’ve had the goat cheese and sun-dried tomato ravioli and I swear by the Maple Pecan Granola Cereal they make, I’m sold on them for more than just cookies).

Sadly though, it’s a lost corner. Lost in the sense that the use of it is changing and memories of the corner are gone.

Yet, there will be new memories right? Some new homes are going on the property. I’m sure one will be the first home of a baby, who will grow up to recount their childhood days walking across the street to Trader Joes on one side and to see Santa at Christmas and to pick out their first bike at REI.

Much in the same way I’ll tell stories about my first visits to the carousel at  Carolina Circle Mall, Belk at Four Seasons, the map store at Cotton Mill Square, the toy store with the cool trains at Forum IV, the Chic-fil-A at Holly Hill Mall, Marvin’s on Hillsborough Street, the soon to be old IHOP on Hillsborough Street.

This post owes a debt to all the many suburban retail nostalgia blogs and Facebook pages out there. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, for those of us who grew up in suburbia or a Southern city that mimics what those in other regions consider suburbia, these were our places.

Our corners.

The lost corners.


The #CNU23 Post You’ve Been Waiting For

That CNU Post You've Been Waiting For

It’s another day in the world of urbanism. It’s a day when I feel like all of my friends are being heard and getting stuff done and getting money and doing whatever they want to do, many live from the 23rd Congress for New Urbanism in Dallas. That’s what makes it an interesting, invigorating, fabulous day. Because it’s not just a day, it is our day.

When I first drafted this, I was sitting at a co-working space in the DeepEllum district, a district founded by Black Dallaseans denied opportunities to do business and live in other areas. While many of these areas often die and get leveled, Dallas’s build and sprawl at any cost policies may have saved this neighborhood from complete ruin.While there’s not as much of the original blues, jazz and other black businesses and entertainment spaces, the area remains in tact, with quirky businesses and good property owners, one who has been a follower of the site and who I was able to chat with on Thursday evening.When we were at the co-working space, we’d not heard about the charges brought upon the officers involved in the recent police brutality action in Baltimore. I had yet to officially announce my upcoming move to Kansas City, MO to my family, friends and followers. I’d not seen a lot of the CNU crowd, just my fellow Streetsbloggers. The CNU had not had a fellow Black urbanist speak truth to power in a plenary session.

All I’d done was paint a few benches, sweat a bit and recover from being in Chattanooga.

Speaking of Chattanooga. I don’t often get to do design charrettes in the kind of places we like to write off as the “hood.” You know, the ones that for whatever reason, be it white flight, redlining, black flight, crimes real or imagined or sadly, the lost of livelihood and ability to live on in a place, the neighborhood suffers. I froze a bit physically as I walked the streets with my facilitation group. I met great people. I learned so much. I’m going to finish this post and write another about what I did learn.

Now back to what I felt in Dallas atCNU 23.It’s Friday night and I debated why cars have no place in new urbanism. I wish I’d itemized all the car related expenses that have kept me in a mild bit of debt over the past four years. I went to the mall. Figuratively, as I brought in the wrong type of consumerism, to make my point that we have to make our developments sustainable.

Honestly, I was doing well to debate. I was thankful that just a few miles away, a solidarity march for Baltimore march had one victory to celebrate, in the charges filed against those officers that sparked the latest round of unrest in the city. That a well-known Greensboro conservative finally saw the light on police violence. That I’m going back to work on Tuesday, for an amazing organization and I can keep blogging about how to make our cities better. Oh, I’m going to Toronto, to mentor, to nourish, to see Canada finally (and get a passport).

So yeah, I was a bit distracted and a bit tired during this year’s Congress. I spent several afternoons in my room and only went to one session in the convention hall, outside of sessions where I was actively participating. And I think that what will make future Congresses work best is that if we turn it into an opportunity to work together, while we are all in the same place.

I am a firm believer, that if we work hard as a greater Congress, that we can make any city we go to better. No, we can’t always eat after 11 p.m. or dance past 2 a.m. Sometimes we have to take Uber when we want to take the bus. Not every pie shop has whole pies on demand. You are never too old to play in a treehouse. Some eyes should stay shut. And you can make the transect apply to fashion.

I will say this though: WE MUST HAVE EVENTS THAT ARE FREE OR LOW COST. Now that we have a degree of racial and gender diversity supported in our movement, we need to take on class next. In the quest to make sure everyone’s voice is on the program, we must never forget that we have to keep extending invitations. We have to keep communicating together. We have to listen and learn.

On a more serious note, I want to give a shout out to the staff, the board, and anyone who I was able to meet throughout the Congress. I want us to realize that we, even those of use who feel like we are shut-out by the founders sometimes, are élite. People come to our seminars, read our books, hire our firms, and let us partner with our friends on projects. Even if we sometimes have to repeat our names, if we keep showing up (newbies, keep showing up), then someone will listen. Maybe we have to change the leaders, but we can make our own spaces, with paint or with words.

And if we stay on one accord, within intellectual reason, we can do what we need to do and that’s fixing our cities in both design and in policy.


Five Ways to Do Urban Stadiums and Arenas Right

5 Ways to Do Urban Stadiums and Arenas Right- Kristen Jeffers-www.theblackurbanist.com


A major battle going on in placemaking circles is that of sports teams and sports venues. How should they be financed? Should they be in open fields or should they take up blocks of downtown districts? What happens to the displaced homeowners and renters? What happens when they fall into disrepair? Who should pay for them and the amenities that they draw, such as hotels, restaurants and even permanent housing and other amusement activities?

In this post, in the continued spirit of March Madness, I’m going to outline my relationship ideas for sports facilities and cities .

Be multipurpose

There are a lot of stadiums built for more than one thing. Lucas Oil Stadium is a Super Bowl site, a NCAA Final Four site and according to its website, also hosts high-school proms. What makes that great is that under the multipurpose model, especially in the era of the retractable roof, you could have one pro stadium.

Yes, depending on how many sports, multi-use would require creative scheduling. Even if you need two or three sports venues, put them on the same ground. That way, you could cluster all your sports and build an entertainment district, and also provide a major transit link, for a lower land cost. There was a pattern of multi-use stadiums in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Good to see some of that still with the new retractable roof models.

Work with the surrounding areas to create and maintain a neighborhood

One of the saddest films I watched when I was in grad school was one on how the people near Brooklyn’s then-proposed Atlantic Yards (now known as Pacific Park) development, home of the Barclays Center, were losing their homes. The few supporters who were African-American and poor seemed lured in by the promise of jobs,  jobs that may or may not pay enough to make a living on and to afford a new apartment in the expensive Brooklyn that was emerging around them.

The history of the area around the yard speaks of hundreds of years of debate, proposals and actions around what should go on the land. Because the majority of the land is a rail yard and a major one at that, various businessmen have wanted to develop it and the municipal leaders of New York have wanted to create a “true downtown district” where so many rail connections are. However, due to the Great Depression and other economic effects, the area became less valuable to the city and other developers and homeowners moved in. Yet, the city and other major power brokers never gave up on wanting the land. It’s a continued battle, but the arena is now open, and some of the new condos are under construction.

Yet, I believe that if you want to build an arena, you can do so in a way and in an area that doesn’t automatically mean condemned homes, acres of parking lot, and unreasonable fantasies (or in the case of Madison Square Garden, the loss of classical architecture and a necessary city function).

While not a perfect example, the Greensboro Coliseum still exists within the realm of the surrounding neighborhood. There are a handful of restaurants nearby and the neighborhood is still a working class neighborhood, but with a clean, safe supermarket, drug store and library nearby. I’m going to pause here, because my own coliseum helps us illustrate another point.

Turn a profit and use those profits to reinvest, not subsidies from your government

The Greensboro Coliseum makes money. Because it’s an entertainment complex and serves that multipurpose function I mentioned in the first section, it’s a city-owned enterprise that generates revenue for itself. Its director makes six figures, mainly because he turns a profit. Did I mention this is a city-owned enterprise?.

The revenues also allow it to constantly maintain an upgraded appearance and various revenue-generating activities to take place in the parking lot.

Other cities can do this as well, if they are smart about booking seats, exhibitions, performers and the like that will help their arenas and stadiums make a profit. While not every stadium project guarantees a fan base, if your team is already selling out your current arena, that’s a great place to start. Even better if there are multiple teams using the space. Then, if you are in the middle of your state or region, or have good public transit connections, you can attract other events to your property.

The key here is keeping it simple. Yes, luxury boxes are nice, but how many of those really pay for the millions, sometimes billions, that go into modern stadiums? Do people who operate these facilities not see the potential in making concessions money and paying off their bonds that way? Will banks not lend to these facilities as stand alone facilities, not ones that are dependent on taxpayer largess?

Essentially, if you are in a larger, centrally located, densely developed location, with proper provisions for traffic and transit, you can and should consider an arena or stadium project. If you think this will put your city on the map, please don’t, it won’t. People attend conventions based off a city’s reputation, and sports games based on winning records. If all you have are major performers, then stick with a large auditorium or an amphitheater.

Do use the facility as justification for public transit, affordable housing and other public services

Although the ultimate Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park proposal mandated affordable housing and other community services , there are questions about what affordability means. Globally, construction costs and land values have made rents and base home prices rise.

Meanwhile, if you are getting tons of revenue from your entertainment venue, consider a massive subsidy for housing on the property. Deck your parking and build homes with a mix of incomes there. Or if you can’t get housing, put offices and restaurants there, with lower rents to allow for more small business and start-up venues.

Or, if you insist on having the massive surface parking lot, rent it out as a park-and-ride lot when no events are there. Greensboro Coliseum’s spare parking lot is a park and ride for UNC Greensboro. Without that permit, I wouldn’t have had guaranteed campus parking for my first year of graduate school.

Also, with your lot as a park-and-ride and the potential for such, building it in a way that allows for the entertainment venue, the homes (and people who don’t mind living near what could be a nuisance) and the parking lot could be a driver for a major transit hub.

Know how to shut it down or make it something else

The Urban Land Institute just released a study of how Houston’s now-unused Astrodome can connect with public transportation, house a historical museum, become the city’s next park and a host of other adaptive reuse and even event uses. In years past, an empty stadium would be a liability. In today’s web-driven, crowdfunded entertainment industry, people are always looking for venue.

For example, the Station to Station project, a corporate-sponsored private train that took artists and musicians across the country in September 2013, used such places as a historic hotel’s outdoor courtyard, a large trackside parking lot, an old drive-in movie theater, and the grounds of an abandoned former train station as performance venues.

Price that older venue, as a value, then it will always be filled and turn as much of a profit as your old stadium. Do not use this as an excuse to build a new stadium when demand is not there.

If the stadium out lives it’s value, tear it down or sell it to someone else with no shame. If the stadium still has value, don’t give into people who think a new stadium will some how be better, when that stadium will have to make millions to pay for itself over time.


In short, it comes down to this: provide sports and entertainment venues. They are great opportunities for public-private partnership and to leverage private investment to serve public purposes, as long as the local government plans carefully and follows through on its plans. Create a fair taxing structure or encourage a billionaire to come in and pay for it. Keep it working and build it well the first time to save on future maintenance costs.

Make it fit in to the urban fabric, close to transit and with bars and restaurants a short walk away, and don’t give in to unreasonable parking demands. Push for affordable housing and major transit improvements, along with other infrastructure that will not only benefit the facility, but also the entire city .

You can still be an urbanist and support an arena. You just have to do it in the right way.

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Sports build community. From pride-of-their-suburb Little League teams, to pulse-of-their-city World Series pendant holders to that proud handful of farmhouses who raised that NASCAR driver, sports makes a community.

I grew up in a pre-Carolina Panthers, original Charlotte Hornets, retiring Richard Petty, saying hello to Stormy, but never to a Major League Baseball team of it’s own, Greensboro, NC (also known as Tournament Town).

There were these two mystery Coke (and yes, they were actually Coca-Cola) cans in the hall closet next to my bedroom door. One of them looked normal enough, it was bright red and had white lettering. It did have a wolf-head, and the words National Champions 1983 on them. Clearly, that wasn’t so normal. The other one was bright blue and nobody’s soda came in a bright blue can. The ram’s head and the 1982 national championship it honored wasn’t that weird.

I tried being a NASCAR fan for five seconds. No lasting interest in watching cars go around a track. Baseball’s just so much better in person, plus, our beloved Grasshoppers are really the benchwarmers for the Miami Marlins. Too many degrees of separation.

The Charlotte professional men’s basketball team should have never stopped being the Hornets. Major League Soccer shouldn’t give up on us. Having your football team see the inside of a Super Bowl isn’t too shabby though and hockey’s decent. However, I much rather be at the PNC Arena when the normal HVAC system is operating and I can yell out Wolf and be met with a resounding Pack.

And when your arch rivals are only a few miles away, but still get major airplay on ESPN, this is how you choose your favorite sport. I’m a proud alumna of N.C. State University. That is how I chose my team.

And so bracket time is like my Super Bowl. In the weeks leading up to the Big Dance, I’m dancing around my TV at home, watching all the conference tournaments. I’m paying more attention to games when I’m out at networking socials at bars. I’m wearing red, lots of red. And I’m more than ready to make more than one bracket and explain to you why I did.

However this year, bracket building is too simplistic. After all, it’s about predicting the winners right? Under that logic your bracket should just read KENTUCKY and nothing else. My alma matter is in this year (and in in a decent space) and that version of my bracket reads NC STATE in all caps.

So I decided to put my urbanist hat on and be creative for my third and most serious bracket. Introducing the 2015 Kristen Jeffers- The Black Urbanist NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket:

Click here to get the whole thing, in a legible size.

Things you need to remember about this bracket:

  • Transit and connectivity win over-all
  • North Carolina cities/towns are the next winners, because I’m going to rep my home state
  • N.C State will win its division, because it’s my own school and I love Raleigh
  • I counted suburban schools as part of their major metro area (Villanova, Maryland, etc.)
  • The First Four get no real stake in this bracket
  • Wisconsin is actually good, and could win. Madison is also good, but not as connected as a region

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing your picks. Also, please take some time and watch the ladies basketball tournament. No picks on that side. I just like watching them play.

Check this post out on Medium!


The Game of Life Plans (and City Planning)

Lately I’ve been playing a ton of board games and doing puzzles. Granted, who hasn’t received a note from a friend asking them to play some sort of online puzzle game on Facebook. And yes, you can politely say no. Unless you see some benefit, like I did back a few years ago when I played Cityville to examine its merits for urban planning.

Yet, what’s really changed my game (pun intended), has been playing board games in real life. I’ve gone to board game socials with friends.

Bertucci’s hot coco at the DC Scrabble Meetup on January 14, 2015. Photo by the author.

I’ve helped my mom put a puzzle together in our living room.

Yes, we eventually found “Nemo”. Photo by the author.

I’ve also downloaded a word search app that’s not that much different than doing word searches in paper books.

These activities, along with my running Scrabble and Words with Friends virtual games have helped me to see how game theory affects the world of planning and development.

Anyone who remembers LIFE and Monopoly, knows that your fate is centered on the roll of dice or spin of a wheel. This is what a lot of people feel in real life, especially those who hope to win charter school lotteries, get a job they applied for to start making a paycheck, or rent or own a home. That their lives are really up to chance.

That’s especially pointed on the LIFE board. Even if your opponent skipped college and got a lesser job card, they could make up for it by picking the highest salary card. Even if you got the highest salary, you could hit the midlife crisis space and end up losing that card. Essentially, you could be a doctor that makes $25,000 playing with an entertainer that skipped college, with the required $40,000 debt, making $70,000. Even if you retired at Millionaire Estates, the entertainer could retire at Countrywide Acres and still do better than you, winning the game.

Meanwhile on the Monopoly board, you could roll the dice and buy all the utilities and everything on the third side of the board. You know, those properties that aren’t worth as much, but they collect a lot in rent as people tend to land on them more than they land on the fourth side high-end properties. More fair right? You’re a mini developer mogul with lots of hotels! But that could again be your opponent instead of you. You could go to jail after only purchasing Mediterranean Avenue. Yes, you still get your money and you get out eventually, but in the meantime, your opponent is buying up more properties and making much more money.

In real life we used to think this was just a poor people (and people of color) problem, but for anyone trying to buy homes and get jobs in New York, San Fransisco or Washington D.C. and their surrounding areas, it again may feel like you are at the mercy of the wheel you spin, even if you have the “right” amount of money or cultural background.

Yet, just like life, there are more board games and paths than Monopoly and LIFE when it comes to modeling how to make a living. In fact, maybe your life is more like Scrabble and Words with Friends. Then you might really feel like the tiles are stacked against you. You might have a wonderful, high scoring word, but nowhere to connect it. Your friends in these games might have the X, J or Z (or all three) and can then control the board. You get stuck with all consonants and no vowels. You are left to make the best of what you do have. Oh and we can’t forget placement. Who hasn’t screamed at the 40 point three-letter word, strategically placed on both a double letter and a triple word (that also happens to have a Z).

Or, your life could just be a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle waiting to be put together. All the pieces are already there for you, you just have to be patient as as they all fall into place.

Again, this is still about planning and development. The primer above was just so you, as the planner or developer, could remember how people actually make the decision to buy your house, ride your train or go to the school you placed near their house.

And when it comes to planning and development, we want people to feel like their lives are jigsaw puzzles. Figureoutable. Pieceable. Assembled. Yet, the worst feel their world is a Scrabble board or maybe a Monopoly board, with the wrong letters or properties.

Having homes at multiple income levels, multiple forms of transportation, schools that provide connectivity to different subjects and occupations, stores and restaurants with a variety of food, clothing and other accessories of life, and variety period in all things, makes a community real. Then it feels less like a game of winners and losers and more like a life that allows for growth, change and learning.

Consider what kind of community you are planning for and make sure your citizens aren’t pawns in an impossible game.

This post is also up on Medium. Recommend it there and share with your friends.

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Highlights from Transportation Camp DC 2015 (#transpo15)

Bask at our written session board. (Full digital list here)

Session Board, via Stephanie Nguyen

Four-hundred people attended all or part of the day, the largest DC Transportation Camp ever. (Image via TransitScreen)

Big Conference Room by TransitScreen

We voted in a poll using Easy Buttons. (Image via Nicola Ivanov)

Easy Button Poll, by Nickola Ivanov @baronnik

These are the results of that poll.

Results of Easy Button Poll-Via Transporation Camp

Transit rockstars shared their stories. (Image via Brendan Casey)

Transit Rockstars 1 by Brendan Casey

This is an impromptu game of Cards Against Urbanity.


Fellow Streetsbloggers Greater Greater Washington talked how we do what we do and how we can do it better. And here’s their ten best tips at a glance. (Image by Nolan Levenson)

GGW Best Blogging Practices Session via Noah Levenson

We helped our friends in Maryland prepare and succeed with having a Republican governor who is anti-transit, namely the Purple Line. (Image via Ted Van Houten)

How to Survive a Republican Admin, image by Ted Van Hougten

We created our own bike boulevards. (Image by Meghan Makoid)

Bike Boulevard game via Meghan Makoid

And I finally met so many of you in the DC area, as well as from across the world face to face. It was fun! See you again throughout #TRBAM. Look for a daily recap post similar to this on each day I attend sessions.


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My Placemaking Wishes for 2015

Happy New Year folks! I’m posting this with about 12 hours to go on the East Coast, but I believe we’ll make it just in time. And as always at year’s end, I am here with a few things that I hope all of us placemakers and citizens can see in 2015:

Truly Open Streets


Remember this picture of me? I was playing on a B-cycle demonstration bike on the street that I helped paint, to have an open streets event there. Yet, from then to now, not just in Greensboro, but in many other cities, the streets haven’t been so open. In fact, many have been hostile. My wish is that we can start looking at people on our streets, not as threats, not as people to shake money out of, not as places to speculate our real estate futures and to shoot to kill, but as places where we can celebrate our achievements and what it means to be human. I might be wishing this every year, but I’m going to get us started there. If we block the streets in 2015, I pray that it’s to have a party, be at peace and be better neighbors.

High-Speed Rail

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 9.06.29 AM

I’ve been on more trains and planes than I can count on my fingers this year. I’m reading Tom Zoellner’s Train. I’ve met  and mingled with so many of my transit nerd herd folks this year. Hold the though of mingling with people to my next wish. I want to put out there that it would be nice for at least the routes outlined in green above to get started this year. Thanks to the US High Speed Rail Association for putting the map above together. (Check out the interactive version). Congrats to the Texas Central Railway and California High Speed Rail Authority for breaking ground in 2014. Kudos to All Aboard Florida for setting a 2015 start date. Yes, high-speed rail is a sticky issue. However, it’s an issue that we need to resolve. Streetcars are nice. But a 90 minute trip between major cities like DC and New York would be even better.

Seeing More of You and Making Better Places Together

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 9.08.17 AM

As I mentioned above, I flew and rode trains more than I’ve ever done in my life this year and it was great! I gave my first solo keynote,which is pictured above and you can watch here.  I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at Transportation Camp  DC and festivities surrounding the Transportation Review Board Annual Meeting in a few weeks. North Carolina folks, namely those in and around Greensboro are invited to join me at Scuppernong Books at 7 p.m. on January 17th for a book event. I will read from A Black Urbanist and will sign any copies you have. A very limited number will be for sale. Go ahead and grab a print copy here. There will be a DC book event on January 11 at 7 p.m. during the TRB festivities. I’ll post more information in the next few days on both events. CNU, CCDA and New Partners for Smart Growth are also on the tentative agenda as well. And if you want to help me make this wish come true contact me here.

Again, Happy New Year! See you in 2015!

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And Now, My Book, A Black Urbanist, Essays Vol. 1

Cover Image

After several years of writing, two months of editing and final writing and several bouts of fear and confidence, my first blog-related, adult book, A Black Urbanist, is now available for your purchase.

It is available in the following formats:

Print you want me to sign it and hold it in your hand. That privilege will cost more, so keep that in mind. The current link will take you to Blurb to order a non-signed copy. If you would like to order a signed copy, click here.

iBooks–The best of the digital editions, outside of the PDF, will be perfect for my fellow Apple heads, who may be reading on iPads and iPhones.

Kindle— for my folks who are stuck on their Kindles and like the mimicry of the book experience. However, I spent hours trying to get it just so and it still looks a bit wonky. Also, depending on the country, I get less royalties. However, for my international folks, this might be your best bet.

Gumroad—this is a nice protected PDF, with some color, and in a nice 8×10 paper size. You could print this if you wanted. I also get all the proceeds from these sales. Clicking on the photo of the book on my sidebar will always take you here first. Also, Gumroad has an app for iPhone and Android, that allows you to read it there. Search for it, it’s free.

The book is $10 on all digital formats and is $12.83 plus shipping in print and $25 pre-signed. All print prices include shipping and handling.

Once again, you can click here and get it instantly for $10 in a PDF format.

Also, if you are a fellow blogger, member of the traditional press, podcaster, TV person or anybody who is willing to either review or let me come on your blog/podcast/program to talk about the book, please fill out the form below  email me here and I’ll be back to you with a review copy in PDF format.

Thanks to all my family and friends and happy reading!

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This Little Ole Mountain House

05_Elise Becker_6336-Apartment Therapy

It’s been two years since I wrote about how much the North Carolina mountains moved me. Today, for my final Apartment Healing feature for November, I’m going to highlight a house that I’d love to have if I moved there.

This is Apartment Healing, the Saturday feature of the The Black Urbanist where I talk about my love of interior design. This month, I’ll be spotlighting a few of my favorite home tours from sites such as Apartment Therapy, AprhoChic and others that share my sense of simple, eclectic and transformative style, especially in spaces and places where its un-expected. Before we get back into the meat of the post, I’m releasing A Black Urbanist-Essays Vol. 1., this Monday. In honor of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday and in solidarity with those calling for support for black businesses this holiday season, the ebook is only $5, if you enter the code blacksmallbiz. Head here to get your copy.

I’m going to put the disclaimer out now, that this is technically a house in a town, that just so happens to be in  a mountain valley. Still, any house where I can look out of the window and see mountain ranges, is a mountain house.

I’d like to highlight is in Franklin, North Carolina. Apartment Therapy has named it Elise’s Electic Cottage in the Mountains. I was immediately drawn in by her use of primary colors and this image of the sunroom/bedroom.

I love a good sunroom, especially when there’s more to it than patio furniture. This one has a full bed, and if you aren’t shy, you can sleep in what literally is the front of the house. The rest of the house has lots of blue, yellow, green and love pillows and florals. The article describes the house as having the effect of Dorothy walking into the world of color.

As a resident of an emerald city myself, I can appreciate that. Find out more about this house in the original article here.

This post is part of my participation in #NaBloPoMo, the time of the year when bloggers come together to pump out daily content and connect. Find out more about that project and how I’m participating, here and here.

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A Different Kind of Parade

With this being a holiday week, as well as several events calling for political actions, we’ve seen more of our share of people parading through the streets. However, do people walk in mass just for fun? Do we have to wait for a holiday or be compelled by a human rights violation, or a charity  to take a casual walk around the streets? Today’s video shows that people can and do walk in mass, for the sake of walking and seeing sites as a group.

Today’s Video Friday and as I come to the end of my 30 day NaBloPoMo experience, I want to thank everyone that has read and shared my posts this month and for the past four years. For the first time, I’ve collected some of my major thoughts into a book. On Monday, I’ll be releasing the e-book, which you can grab for just $10 right here. And yes, for those who’ve been asking, there will be a Kindle version and a printed version coming in the next few weeks.

In addition to participating in NaBloPoMo, I’ve partnered with City Walk, a program that airs on KCET in Los Angeles, that highlights how people walk all across the nation. I thought initially I’d highlight a video of a marketplace today, but I think this one’s even better.

The Big Parade is a mass walking tour organized by Dan Koeppel, who among a multitude of accomplishments, has found time to create walking tours of many of the staircases in Los Angeles. He first mapped out a route in 2003 and started doing smaller tours. In 2011, these grew into The Big Parade, which draws hundreds of people and features special events and entertainment along the walking route.

Enough introduction, I think it’s best that you check out what they are up to yourself, as they head out on what I believe is the 2013 walk. The big 2014 walk was held at the end of May and if you want to join next year, bookmark this page to find out new information. They’re doing a anti-Black Friday walk today, in case you want to follow along on Twitter In the meantime, check out the video by clicking on the image below:

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 2.15.09 PM


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