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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.

This is not an improvement for the humans.

Below, the intersection of 9th & Main streets in Kansas City, MO at the turn of the 20th century.

KC 9th and Main.jpg

Another couple of views:

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The same view today (courtesy of Google Street View), even after a couple of decades of concerted effort at downtown revitalization:

KC 9th and main today.png

Even beyond the lousy architecture is the noticeable lack of something important: people. The streets were "improved" in the era of freeway-building, old structures that housed activity were removed to make it easier to drive more quickly and copious parking was added.

As I said before, this is not an improvement for the humans.

This same story has played out all across America, in cities both large and small. We've destroyed so much of our civilization - places we love, places that we hate, but mostly places where people actually interacted with each other and where our society built wealth. There's so much work to be done to fix the mistakes of the 20th century.

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Opt-out of the parking war

Bad idea of the year nominee