Archive for February, 2017

George Washington University in DC has its own manhole cover design. The manhole cover pictures here is located next to the Foggy Bottom metro station. I’ve walked on this block dozens of times before and yet today was the first time I noticed the unique design on this manhole cover. 


Miami Sidewalks– Pedestrians Beware

Posted: February 16, 2017 in sidewalks

Miami has a high walkability score (78 out of 100) and ranks as the fifth most walkable city in America. It also has some artfully designed crosswalks. However, pedestrians need to be on high alert to survive a walk unscathed.  Sidewalks are pockmarked with driveways and cars will not frequently yield to a pedestrian, even when the pedestrian has the right of way.



Posted: February 14, 2017 in Books
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One of my favorite books as a child growing up in Brazil in the 1980’s was “Cidades” (“Cities”).  With its colorful illustrations of cities and settlements from around the world, this book sparked my interest in urban planning. I recently leafed through it and was pleasantly surprised to see that “Cidades” didn’t shy away from discussing favelas, a social issue which is even more pronounced today. 

The Street as Sidewalk

Posted: February 13, 2017 in sidewalks
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I try to avoid walking on streets that lack sidewalks, but that can be hard to do in Japanese small towns. In Konan, for instance, most streets in the older neighborhoods consist of a single lane that must be shared by cars going both directions, pedestrians, and cyclists. Because of the narrow street width, drivers slow down. Strategically placed signs warn children to look out for cars and trains. (See if you can spot a Pokemon warning sign in the first photo below).



The last picture (above) is of a relatively newer neighborhood in Konan, with a sidewalk running along one side of the street.

During a trip to Japan, I zoomed in on the individual Japanese characters and kana (syllables) in billboards, signs, and parking lots. Up close, the Japanese language takes on an artistic quality.


Konan, Japan

Posted: February 8, 2017 in manhole covers
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Konan, located in central Japan an hour northeast of Kyoto, is a town that no longer exists (at least as a separate entity). Approximately ten years ago it and four neighboring towns were aggregated into a new city, Koka, in the name of government efficiency. Hundreds of years ago Konan was home to members of the Koga ninja clan. Konan’s ninja heritage is still around today, via an amazing authentic ninja house that is open to the public.


Sidewalk Cafes

Posted: February 7, 2017 in sidewalks
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Sidewalk cafes add flavor and color to sidewalks. They offer a good vantage point to see and be seen. Here is a sampling of sidewalk cafes from three cities.

Sidewalk cafes are ubiquitous in Paris. The cafe in the first picture (top) is located next to the Seine, and the cafe in second (below) is located in St. Germain des Pres.


The sidewalk cafe pictured below is located across from Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square.

This cafe with built in seating is located in Warsaw, Poland.