Tag Archives: Walkability

NOW AVAILABLE | New Kindle Version of Poor Richard | Volume 1

A new version of Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 1) specifically tailored for Kindle devices is available for purchase from the Kindle Store. Be sure to check the online store in your country/currency (USA store available below).

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 1) collects together commentary, proverbs, and witticisms that originally appeared via The Outlaw Urbanist. Drawing inspiration from American Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, as well as many others, author Mark David Major crafts anew a series of astute observations, common sense proverbs, and general rules of thumb for anyone interested in the architecture, urban design and planning of our cities. Often eloquent, occasionally biting, and always insightful, these witticisms offer a valuable resource for the entire year, daily reminders for everyone involved in the building of our cities of their better angels and warning them against the worse demons of human nature.

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 1)
by Mark David Major
Foreword by Julia Starr Sanford
Forum Books
April 13, 2013

BISAC: Architecture/Planning

Purchase from Kindle Store here.

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PREVIEW | Foreword by Julia Starr Sanford | Poor Richard Volume 1

As architects, designers, and planners, we sometimes take ideas, problems, and situations and make them more complicated than they really are or, as Poor Richard says, “compress the most words into the smallest idea.” But when it comes to the architecture of our cities, sometimes the simplest solution really is the most elegant and, perhaps even more importantly, the idea behind that solution is best stated simply so. Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners excels at what is not typical for our profession, namely using the fewest words to express the biggest ideas, in a decidedly witty manner.

The breadth of inspiration Major draws upon for Poor Richard’s sayings and witticisms is inspiring: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Oscar Wilde, and Bill Hillier; the last of whom had a huge influence on Major’s career and outlook. This barely scratches the surface as the fingerprints of Le Corbusier, Andres Duany, Alvar Aalto, Steve Mouzon, Mies van der Rohe and Robert Venturi are also evident in many of the sayings in this book. However, it is Mark’s own genius, extraordinary wit, passion for good design and mastery of the history of planning that shape the pages of this hilariously righteous epitome of 21st century sense and sensibility.

Many of the ideas are common sense, more still are deeply profound, others require much thought on our part. Throughout the Almanac, Major uses humor to otherwise soften what are some hard truths for our profession. The ideas often question ‘conventional wisdom’ about the architecture of our cities. Ultimately, Major’s goal is a simple one, to compel us, as professionals, to examine more heartily our acceptance of current laws and practices as they have profound implications for the civil aspect of civilization and its lasting impression on the future.

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners is a useful and handy tool for any architect, designer, or planner to have on their desk and reference every day of the year for precisely this reason, ably assisted by the chiaroscuro of illustrations presented in a stark yet elegant manner. The message of Poor Richard, AN Almanac for Architects and Planners is clear: begin to think differently… and more carefully than ever, about our role as stewards of civility.

By Julia Starr Sanford
April 6, 2013
Amelia Island, Florida

Julia Starr Sanford is founding principal of Starr Sanford Design, a residential design and development firm based in Amelia Island, Jacksonville, and Rosemary Beach, FL. She is Founding Director of the Sky Institute + Foundation for the Future, a non-profit organization dedicated to building sustainable communities in the US, Australia, Bahamas, and Central America. She is a founding partner in StudioSky with Steve Mouzon and Eric Moser and member of the Congress for New Urbanism. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and Georgia Tech.

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners by Mark David Major, featuring Foreword by Julia Starr Sanford is available from CreateSpace (click here) and Amazon (click here) for $9.99, 136 pages, 52 black and white illustrations.

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Preview | Poor Richard | An Almanac for Architects and Planners


A high-resolution preview of the front cover is below.

The witticisms and sayings of Poor Richard are organized by calendar weeks, one generic theme per week, and a single saying for each day of the week – plus one for “years in the state of leaping” – adding up to a full calendar year. Each week of the calendar week is accompanied by a high contrast, black and white illustration designed or selected to get people thinking differently about cities. A high-resolution preview of “On Cities” for pages 86-87 with an accompanying illustration (inverted detail of the Nolli map of Rome presenting civic space in black and blocks in white) is below.

“On Cities” for the 34th Week in the Calendar Year on pages 86-86. Click on the image to see a high resolution version.

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners also includes a foreword by Julia Starr Sanford, a preface from the author, an Introduction incorporating the “Declaration of Planning Independence” previously published on The Outlaw Urbanist, bibliography and illustration credits, and an Afterword featuring The Outlaw Urbanist manifesto.

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners by Mark David Major, AICP, Foreword by Julia Starr Sanford, Forum Books, an Imprint of Carousel Productions, 136 pages, 5.0″ x 8″, $9.99 (in print); also available in eBook, format and price TBD.

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MORESO | What Would Jesus Do | The Sermon on the Street

Blessings on the poorly connected street,
For they shall find a grid to call home.
Blessings on the street that suffers isolation,
For they shall find comfort in a family of streets.
Blessings on the meek street,
For they shall inherit the city’s fortunes.
Blessings on streets that hunger and thirst for righteous design,
For they shall be filled with people.
Blessings on the safe streets,
For they shall provide mercy to pedestrians.
Blessings on the richly connected streets,
For they shall become a city.
Blessings on the placemakers,
For they shall be called the children of the city.
Blessings on those who are persecuted because of righteous design,
For they shall one day live in a great city.
Blessings on you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against the city.
Rejoice and be glad because great are your rewards in the city, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You are the salt of the Earth but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled over by the automobile.
You are the light of the city. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lantern and hide it. Instead they put it on a post in the street, and it gives light to all pedestrians on that street. In the same way, let your city lights shine before others, that they may see your good streets and glorify the greatness of your city.

Moreso is a series of short ruminations or thoughts of the moment, usually of less than 500 words, from The Outlaw Urbanist.

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Poor Richard’s Almanac for Planners | Issue 6

Courteous Reader,

I am tempted to win your favor by declaring I wrote this Almanac for Planners solely for the public good. However, this is insincere and you are too wise for the deception of this pretense. The fact is I am excessively poor and, unfortunately, excessively wifeless. To address both problems, I must begin to make some profit since every potential wife always asks, “What kind of car do you drive?” I always have to reply, “I walk”, and the potential wife thinks I am a deviant.

Indeed, this motive would have been enough to write this Almanac many years ago except for the overwhelming desire of the public and professionals to only hear what they want to hear and my overwhelming desire to secure a salary. I am now of sufficient age to no longer care about telling people what they want to hear but only about what they need to know. This has freed me to write this Almanac for Planners in increments of ten cause it worked for Moses and the Almighty. Hopefully, my Almanac gains your likes and retweets as a means of demonstrating the usefulness of my efforts but also your charity to this poor Friend and Servant,


On Cities

51. We should have greater faith in the capacity of our cities to reach a state of dynamic equilibrium without the excesses of our interference.

52. Cities are not about where we are from or where we are going but how we are getting there.

53. Bad planning and road rage are directly related. Always design happy cities, not angry ones.

On Walking

54. “As the crow flies” is a useless measure of walkability because we are not crows and do not fly.

55. An apple a day may keep the doctor away but walking costs less in money and apples.

On Walls

56. When Robert Frost wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors,” he was being sarcastic.

57. Private walls are often about hiding what we have, public walls are often about hiding what we don’t want to know.

58. The height of walls directly relates to our level of fear when those walls are breached.

59. The fatal flaw of walls is you can usually breach any wall by going around it.

On Social Justice

60. Social justice lies in opportunity, not reward.

The Issue 7 cometh soon!

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