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UR Here: Iowans need a lesson about home and community from Denmark

My maternal grandparents and other relatives immigrated to these American shores from Denmark. So I have to admit some sense of pride when the Danes show the rest of the world how to be a good society. Denmark is often atop the list of happiest countries. Their cultural concept of “hygge” — which means something […]

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UR Here: Examining the ‘loose parts’ of the natural world

As I was driving home recently from the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City after finishing my first-ever nature photography workshop, my camera-obsessed eye could not help but see everything outside my car’s window as a picture. The principles of perspective, line, shape, pattern, texture, echo, visual flow and weight that I had […]

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UR Here: How variation in building facades can change the paths we take

Recently, I was sitting at the front window café bar of Iowa City’s Z’Marik’s Noodle Café on Dubuque Street eating my krith-a-raki for lunch when I decided to conduct a little experiment. For 15 minutes or so, I kept track of how many people walked past on my side of the street and how many […]

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UR Here: Top-down management of Black Hawk Mini Park at odds with park’s original vision

In my previous column, I discussed “place-led governance,” in which urban development considers history, cultural meaning and an inclusive understanding of community members’ use. At the core of place-led governance lies the idea of the commons. For most people, the commons means natural resources such as air, water and soils. Absolutely true—but not sufficient. Current […]

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UR Here: The place is what’s Important

“If you build it, they will come” is baloney. Perhaps it’s heresy to question a platitude from one of Iowa’s sacred texts. But the ghostly voice from the cornfield seems to be whispering in a lot of ears as major changes loom for Iowa City’s downtown and near-downtown area. We have a new Downtown and […]

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