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An Online Journal of Architecture & Ideas

Feature Articles:

October, 2009
Susan Bilenker - "Good Old Urbanism - Part 5 - Portland ME"
I recently returned from a long trip that was also a very easy trip. As I reflect on my journey, I realize that the smooth logistics were entirely due to the confluence of efficient mass transit with a city that's compact and completely walkable.

September, 2009
Susan Bilenker - "Where Did all the Originals Go?"
The first surprise is how many storefronts are vacant even on Madison Avenue, that highly desireable stretch of Manhattan real estate. The economy is affecting even the stratosphere of destination retail. And the landlords here, as everywhere, apparently would rather have visibly empty space than offer short-term lower-cost leases.

August 2009
Stephen Mouzon - "Towards a Sustainable Architecture"
The Community: Should offer transportation choice (including walking.),    Should have ordinary daily needs available within walking distance, Should have streets and public spaces which are convivial and secure, Should have housing suitable for diverse age, income, and family structure . . .

July 2009
Susan Bilenker - "Best Shopping Towns"

Way before the age of the blog, I've kept personal visual journals in my head of my favorite towns. What makes them the best? For me, it's walkability, beautiful surroundings, interesting unique local businesses, and the friends I make along the way.

May 2009
Susan Bilenker - "Turtle Shell or McMansion?"
"Where's Home?" is taking on particular meaning for Boomers deciding what their next life adventure will be. And sometimes the answer is not what they would have expected to hear themselves say.

books on urbanism

September 2008
Susan Bilenker - "A Good Parking Problem"
It's difficult to find a parking space in downtown Westfield, New Jersey. Contrary to what you might think, this is a good thing. It means this busy commuter village of 30,000 residents has become a destination for high end shopping and high visibility dining, and lots of people want to be there.

 March 2005
Susan Bilenker - "Where's Home?"
If you live in one place, and have always lived in that place, then your answer to the question, "Where's home?" may simply be your street address, city, and state. If you ask that question of your clients, however, you may discover a more complex reality.

books on architecture

January 2005
Susan Bilenker - "What Are You Selling? Is it What Your Clients are Buying?"
"The client is thinking, 'I have to pay for what you want.'" Somewhere between, "I'm going to build my dream house," and "Here is the invoice for the architectural design services you requested for your dream house," there develops a perceptual shift between client and architect.

May 2004
Susan Bilenker - "Good Old Urbanism - part 4 - Sarasota, FL - Building the Future"
Renowned urban planner Andres Duany, who authored Sarasota's new downtown master plan, recently returned to check on its progress, and was quoted as saying that the current vogue for Mediterranean Revival ("Med-Rev") is a mistake, preferring that new buildings be designed in the style of the Sarasota School of Architecture.

books about Sarasota

January 2004
Susan Bilenker - "Good Old Urbanism - part 3 - Sarasota, FL"
Sarasota, a lush and quirky small city on Florida's Gulf Coast, is trying to use principles of New Urbanism to weave its various charming "old urbanism" districts into a cohesive live-work-culture-nature experience.

June 2002
Susan Bilenker - "Good Old Urbanism - part 2 - Rivertowns of Lower Westchester County, NY"
These three small hill towns nestled between the city of Yonkers to the south and Tarrytown to the north are Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry , and Irvington-on-Hudson. They ascend steeply uphill from the eastern shore of the Hudson River and look across to the dramatic craggy face of the Palisades

info about living in the Rivertowns

May 2002
Susan Bilenker - "Good Old Urbanism - part 1 - Aspen, Colorado"
First stop is Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Functioning alongside the Aspen you've heard about -- famous stomping-ground of the rich and famous -- is the everyday Aspen of locals like me, people who work and live here. It's really a less obvious, parallel universe to the glitzy destination resort experience.

January 2000
Rocky Mountain Institute - "Playing the Market"
By putting the right information into the right hands at the right time, the Institute stimulates technologies and techniques that work better and cost less. That those pearls also happen to benefit the environment need not concern the oysters. Effectively harnessed, competition is a powerful, dynamic force for change. By playing this catalyzing role within the private sector, RMI accomplishes far more than it ever could through conventional policy advocacy (or litigation) in the public sector.

January 1998
Padriac R. Steinschneider - "It Takes an Architect"
Unfortunately, as our litigious society erodes the viability of being the "one" responsible for anything, I have seen the practice of architecture implode to the point where, in an effort to restrict liability, the architect's responsibilities have become so limited that the architect can no longer function as the "one" who has created a building.

September 1997
Susan Bilenker - "Emotional Leadership"

For all the thousands of dollars you spent on graduate school (are you still paying it back?), you probably graduated with no training in some of the most crucial skills for sustaining a design practice.

books about practice management

April 1997
Barry B. LePatner, Esq. - "Five Dynamic Forces Changing the Face of the Architectural Profession" 

The years of unwinding the worst recession for architects since the Great Depression have given way to a new era characterized by five dynamic forces: the global economy, the technological/brainpower transition, the universal appeal of quality design, the aging of our global population, and the telecommunications revolution.

December 1996
Dr. Albert A. Bartlett - "Laws Relating to Sustainability"

Starving people do not care about sustainability. If sustainability is to be achieved, the necessary leadership and resources must be supplied by people who are not starving. The addition of the word "sustainable" to our vocabulary, to our reports, programs, and papers, and to the names of our academic institutes and research programs, is not sufficient to ensure that our society becomes sustainable.

books about sustainable design

August 1996
Jonathan Rose - "Community and Values"

The physical layout of a town, village or city reflects its underlying world view. Today our centers are dominated by retail malls or large office buildings representing the centrality of materialism and the corporation to our culture. The co-evolving culture and civic topology that result from this form is a degradation of civil society and the environment. Many communities have begun to take control of their futures. We believe this begins when a community identifies its core values, and then organizes itself around them so as to make them explicit.

May 1996
Peter Blake - "When More is Less & Less is More"

Over the past twenty-five years or so, at least half a dozen U.S. periodicals devoted to architecture and design have folded -- The Architectural Forum, Architecture Plus, California Arts and Architecture, Progressive Architecture, and several others that I probably should recall, but don't.

architecture and design magazines

To the Editor:

August 17, 1996 - Matthew Hurt

PROVOCATIONS is an online journal of architecture and ideas.

Editor: Susan Bilenker, info@design-site.net
Publisher: Susan Bilenker Communications for DesignSite™ .
Opinions expressed by authors published in Provocations are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Provocations, DesignSite, or Susan Bilenker Communications.

copyright 1997-2009 Susan Bilenker Communications.
Updated 10/18/09
Please send comments and suggestions to Susan Bilenker at


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