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Welcome - my name is Kevin Klinkenberg, and this site "The Messy City" is my blog and company website. I started blogging on urban planning and design issues in 2007, and began working in the field in 1993. Please feel free to connect with me on any of the social media sites listed here. Thanks for reading.

Often the most telling drawings we do in urban design are scale comparisons, showing one familiar place against another familiar place so that people can better understand design and planning choices. For example, I did some crude comparisons several years ago to show a size comparison between Crown Center, the modernist-inspired urban redevelopment led by Hallmark Cards, and the Country Club Plaza, the famous shopping district planned by J.C. Nichols. Both are in Kansas City, MO. The drawings were meant to illustrate what a pedestrian-scaled block network looks like (among other things) and why one area is very successful but another has always struggled. Here's the sketches, drawn to the same scale, with the dashed circle indicating a 1/4 mile radius or approximately a 5-minute walk:

Amanda Graor recently completed a similar set of comparisons, after inspiration from attending a sporting event in Kansas City:

People always seem to be going up and down aisles and streets looking for closer parking – except when they’re at sporting events. Somehow, the sea of parking is comforting – you’ll walk in a lot for an undetermined distance and it seems okay because you’re headed toward the stadium. Get to a downtown area or a shopping mall, though, and if you’re more than 10 spots back you’re sure there’s another spot somewhere closer.

She has more comparisons on the site - well worth a look.

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