Cite 95. Photograph: Raj Mankad.

Cite 95: Better than Big

The new issue of Cite (95) has been mailed and will be available soon at the Brazos Bookstore, CAMH, MFAH, River Oaks Bookstore, and other stores. Below is an introduction to the issue.

OffCite.org, the digital platform for Cite, has been visited by more than 100,000 users in the last year according to Google Analytics. That traffic is a game-changer. When coupled with online petitions, social media, gaming, and real-life advocacy, OffCite can have an impact, as we saw with the birth of Sunday Streets HTX.

Our print publication is thriving too. The New York Art Director’s Club recognized Cite 91 for its letterpress cover illustrated by John Earles putting us on the same list with the New York Times Magazine. External validation is nice but we go to so much trouble with Cite because the physicality of the print object matters. We invest the content, from the Latin investire meaning “to clothe” and “endow with meaning.”

The photoessay by Alex MacLean that fills this issue will not appear on your screen anytime soon. The selections we do share online will not compare to the experience of holding these pages — the size, sequencing, the reproduction quality.

MacLean’s photographs reveal the otherwise unfathomable, the hundreds of miles of trails and roads we are building, the churning through and shifting scale of entire neighborhoods, the piles of oil, gas, coal, coke, fertilizer, gypsum, and plastic. The energy! The money! If this “regular” issue has taken on a theme, it is ambition. Houstonian chutzpah has returned. Big alone is not good enough, though. This is the moment to commit to a more beautiful, equitable, and resilient city.

Sally Walsh at Houston Public Library. Photograph from the MFA,H archives.

Sally Walsh at Houston Public Library. Photograph from the MFA,H archives.

Judy Kugle’s article on Sally Walsh with photographs from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, archives is a reminder that a single individual — in this case, a woman without a college education — can raise standards for an entire city.

Torie Ludwin’s article is a call to action. She looks at highway reclamation projects around the world and the planning process for the North Houston Highway Improvement Project. The Texas Department of Transportation, arguably the single most important force that shapes Houston, is showing openness to new ideas. It is up to readers of Cite and members of the Rice Design Alliance to stay aware of this process and to broaden the criteria by which the city judges infrastructure design. Can we shift from moving cars to mobility, from maximum capacity to urban design?

Duplex illustration by Sarah Welch.

Duplex illustration by Sarah Welch.

One article isn’t ostensibly about ambition. The duplexes that Margaret Culbertson studies might be discrete, but in the context of this issue they stick out. The duplex accommodates difference. It is where the single mother and her children, the bartender, the student, the young architect have a chance to afford a decent place. Houston has more and more non-zoning methods to help manage our never-ending upheaval, including a preservation ordinance, but we are failing to preserve the democratic virtue of the duplex.

These articles are the beginnings of conversations. Please keep them going by sharing this issue and posts from OffCite.org.

Contents

Horizon Lines: An Introduction
Raj Mankad

Horizon Lines:An Essay of Aerial Photographs
Alex Maclean

Inside Modern Houston: The Life and Design of Sally Walsh
Judy Kugle

Will the Urban Highway Reclamation Movement Come to Houston?
Torie Ludwin

Discrete Duplexes: Houston’s Sunset Boulevard Double Houses
Margaret Culbertson

RDA News + Calendar

Complete Streets Coming Soon to Your Neighborhood
Jay Crossley

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      […] Cite 95. Photograph: Raj Mankad.The new issue of Cite (95) has been mailed and will be available soon at the Brazos Bookstore, CAMH, MFAH, River Oaks Bookstore, and other stores. Below is an introduction to the issue.  […]