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

Photo by Tom Dean

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

UR Here

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

UR Here

“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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UR Here: Cottages, conflict and control

Iowa City debates historic preservation

Let’s be clear, this column isn’t about the debate over Iowa City’s Dubuque Street Civil War-era workers’ cottages that are being torn down. This is a column about how we talk about it. Acrimony on both sides of the debate has filled our local media, online venues, Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, and City Council […]

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UR Here: Defining Success

I recently came across an article by “writer, entrepreneur, and video game designer” Jonathan Chee called “5 Key Traits Super Successful People Share.” Chee draws examples from four individuals of extraordinary achievement: a professional bodybuilder, a self-made multimillionaire, an orchestral clarinet player and a polyglot who is developing a new language-learning system. What struck me […]

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