Lofts Book Cover

This is a book review that I wrote for New Urban Living Magazine. The review was originally published in the May/June 2005 issue.

My perusal through Lofts, from the Good Ideas series by Harper Design International, was enjoyable as well as educational. Edited by Ana Cristina G. Canizares and published in 2003, this book is an eye pleasing exhibition of several uniquely rehabilitated lofts from all over the world. With over 800 full-color photographs and well thought-out explanatory captions, the ideas from Lofts are captivating and easily ingested.

A description of the recent increase in popularity of loft living composes the brief introduction just inside this sleek binding. Then, the work of numerous photographers begins to tell the story. These photographs depict lofts that are atypical, artistic, elegant yet practical, and ultramodern. [...]

Seaside Style Book Cover

This is a book review that I wrote for New Urban Living Magazine. The review was originally published in the September/October 2004 issue.

Despite the title, Seaside Style, by Eleanor Lynn Nesmith, is not only about an architectural style or interior decorative theme, it offers more than that. It also depicts a lifestyle – a lifestyle of living comfortably and satisfyingly along the Gulf Coast and enjoying what coastal life has to offer. It begins with a description of this lifestyle and Seaside’s physical locality that is so strong the reader can almost see, hear, and feel the sights, sounds, and salty breezes off the Gulf. The Introduction also includes a brief but detailed account of Seaside’s early stages and the development of its set of guidelines and codes which are based on engaging and complimenting the landscape rather than simply building on it. [...]

Great Good Place Book Cover

This is a book review that I wrote for New Urban Living Magazine. The review was originally published in the November/December 2005 issue.

Despite its title, The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg is much more than a description of local hangouts.  It’s a detailed analysis and endorsement for, what he calls, third places.  According to Oldenburg, the number of these great good places has been declining since World War II, and the effect of their loss has been harmful to our well-being.  The effects of this loss reach far beyond the individual to families, communities, and cities.

Third places, those ‘great good places’, are the “core settings of informal public life.”  Third place is the generic name given to a number of places “that host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work”. [...]

City Comforts Book Cover

This is a book review that I wrote for New Urban Living Magazine. The review was originally published in the March/April 2005 issue.

In David Sucher’s book, City Comforts: How to Build an Urban Village, he admits that he started this book with no outline. It merely evolved from photographs that he took while ‘observing’ cities. The photographs are of things that seem to “work” well in bringing people together and fostering the type of environment that encourages the chance encounter. His book is composed of and about these photographs. The result is a useful, well-organized and easy to use manual full of working solutions for several could-be problem areas in the modern American city and ways to give these areas more potential. These are solutions for creating, what Sucher calls, an urban village, and this is what the author feels most people really desire in their surroundings but are largely lacking in them. [...]

Sidewalks in the Kingdom Book Cover

This is a book review that I wrote for New Urban Living Magazine. The review was originally published in the January/February 2005 issue.

Through his recent book, Sidewalks in the Kingdom:  New Urbanism and the Christian Faith, Eric Jacobsen introduces the New Urbanism movement to members of the Christian faith.  Through logical and concise arguments, he succeeds at explaining the precise connections between the movement and the faith.  By doing so, he is attempting to establish a renewed interest in restoring existing urban centers and slowing sprawl.  He is certain that Christians will begin to consider the city, as less of a problem or a ministry need, but as a better way of life.  He is also confident that they will realize that by choosing a more urban lifestyle, they are choosing the unique and wonderful opportunity to minister through everyday moments just as Jesus did.  On the other hand, by choosing to encourage and perpetuate the suburban model, they may be, according to Jacobsen, “worshiping false gods in the name of American values.” (p21) and removing themselves from important interactions and ministering opportunities. [...]