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Articles by Aaron M. Renn

Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century. He blogs at The Urbanophile.

Featured Article

Cross-posted from The Urbanophile.

I recently had the privilege of seeing Jan Gehl, godfather of Copenhagen’s bicycle network and a consultant to New York City and many others, speak. He was beyond awesome, but one thing that really stuck with me was how he got the tone completely right. One of his observations about how they transformed Copenhagen was, “We never talked about taking away things from people. We only talked about what they were going to get.”

This is a lesson too seldom heeded by urbanists, who almost seem to define themselves as much in terms of what they are against as in terms of what they are for. The anti-car rhetoric immediately comes to mind. All these urbanist things we want to do are talked about in terms of cars all the time. But what’s that got to do with it? If these are good policies, and have all sorts of benefits for citizens, why can’t we talk about that? Why don’t we defend our proposals on their own merits?

Carol Coletta of CEOs for Cities has a great saying that “eat your spinach” marketing doesn’t work. Coletta’s group has been working for a while now to try to cre... Read more