Sunday, December 28, 2008


This is a blog about the re-creation of cities. It is about the end of the suburbs, the end of the pseudo-suburbs that have infiltrated cities and the end of a hundred years of mistaken thinking about cities.

To introduce myself, my name is Jon Koller, I am a recent graduate from a Civil Engineering program in a cozy midwestern town. My training focuses on structural engineering and I have interests that stretch from chickens and pigs to kombucha and banjo. Most of all I like cities.

It deeply saddens me that so little regard is given to our social interactions within--and with--built places. Cities must provide comfortable, regenerative space. Cities must be places of great safety and resilience. Cities must be sustainable in every sense of the word.

I was lucky enough during the final semester of my Masters coursework to take a class focusing on a specific brownfield redevelopment project in Chicago. This opportunity truly opened my eyes to the greenwashing surrounding the New Urbanism developments which I have strongly supported in the past.

Since then, I have been greatly affected by the works of Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander and J.H. Crawford. I certainly don't agree with everything they say, and in many cases they directly contradict one another, yet they all offer a great deal of sense and reason that continues to guide my thoughts.

My advice to people trying to get their start in this world has always been to start a blog, so here this one is. The beginning of this blog also happens to coincide with a cross-country urban tour through 15 or so American cities. While this blog was not created solely with the "Grand Tour" in mind, a great deal of the learning from that trip will be reported here.

My fiancée, Hannah Lewis, has graciously agreed to become the Supreme, Number One In Charge, Editor-in-Chief and ensures that my grammatical inventions fail to see the light of day. If you see photographs that you might consider well composed, they were most likely taken by her. Unless otherwise noted, all photography on the site is original.