We are able to unveil the cover for the new 3rd edition of our book. The photographer blended four photos of the St. Louis Courthouse and Gateway Arch to create this dramatic shot, representing new and old preservation projects. Ilene was very involved with the Courthouse project, less involved with the Arch. We hope the book will be out by winter or spring.
University of Michigan Alumni Tour of Japan
In October, Ilene and Norm joined with 22 other University of Michigan alums and friends on a 12-day tour of the highlights of Japan. One highlight of a tour filled with many highlights was viewing the Golden Temple, with exterior walls covered with gold leaf. The tour group traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto, seeing incredible temples, shrines, and gardens. However, Ilene felt the best part of the trip was the food, and now that we are home we are now adding Japanese cooking to our everyday menu.
Four of us (Norm, Ilene, Ted Ligibel, and Sarah Marsom) are working diligently on the 3rd Edition of our book, Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice. We spent an entire afternoon together looking at the text on a big screen and discussing final edits. Each edition is more work than expected, but the revisions provide relevant updates. The final version will be going to publisher W.W. Norton & Company in just a few weeks. Stay tuned for the unveiling of a surprising new cover.
American Planning Association Presentation
Norm was a member of a group of the College of Fellows presenting at the annual APA Conference in New York City. The topic was “The Role of the 21st Century Planner.” A packed room listened to discussion of how city planners could better adopt new ideas and technologies into practice. Other speakers were moderator Andrea Brown (APA Michigan Executive Director), Mitchell Silver (former APA president), Bruce Race (University of Houston), and Janet Ruggiero (California planner).
Included in the audience was Ilene with her Jane Jacobs doll. (Ask her about it.)
For many years the city of Ann Arbor has been discussing proposals for a new development on a key site in the downtown next to the city’s library. The current proposal is for a massive mixed-use structure with a plaza in front. Ilene and I wrote a letter to City Council expressing our concerns with the current design. We have attached the letter here as a pdf.
It was interesting and exciting to see our book, Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles and Practices, translated into Korean. The illustrations are familiar, but the narrative is incomprehensible, so we are not sure how good the translation might be, but hope it is representative of the English version. In any case, we are pleased to see it being used in another culture.
On March 29th I was asked by Kempf House Museum in Ann Arbor to give a presentation based on my book, The Peace Corps, Sierra Leone, and Me. The book was based on a daily journal I kept for two years while serving as a Volunteer in a Rural Construction Program. The audience enjoyed hearing of my adventures fifty years ago in West Africa.
Ray Detter has been a community activist in Ann Arbor for decades. As our next door neighbor, we have worked with Ray on many of his projects. This fall we joined a small group of “conspirators” to plan a surprise recognition dinner for Ray. Over one hundred people came to an elegant dinner, with a few speeches by his old friends.
One outcome of that effort was that we raised funds to support the Ray Detter Community Service Award, to be given to a student(s) in an Ann Arbor high school who have been involved with a history project in the community. Ilene and Norm now head this Award Committee, which is enabled to give up to $1,000 each year.
During the winter Norm likes to spend time in his basement “man cave” working on his model railroad. Technically it is a 2-rail, o-scale layout–the size of a Lionel, but a more realistic two rails. The engines are running and he is adding models to complete a townscape. It is certainly a multi-year project, but is a nice warm room to escape to on cold evenings.
This year the Michigan Association of Planning’s annual conference included a popular session on visionary city planning. The panelists were all Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (there are only 8 or 9 in the state with this distinction). Norm, being a Fellow, served as moderator for the event. He presented ideas on how city planners could better promote master plans to city agencies, community leaders, and the public, He used as an historic example the unique and successful 1909 Plan for Chicago, a grand master plan by Daniel Burnham, who once said, “Make no small plans. They have no power to stir men’s souls.”
In May, Norm will join three planner/Fellows from other parts of the country to present a similar topic at the national conference of the American Planning Association in New York City. Their session is titled, “The Role of the 21st Century Planner.”