Category Archives: Urban Studies

Urban planning, buildings & architecture, downtown Huntsville, and how cities grow

Big Spring Canal

This is the canal that comes from Big Spring, that in turn comes from underneath the Madison County Courthouse. There is a system of caves under the courthouse square. Although I’ve never been in those caves, I hear it was … Continue reading

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Huntsville is About to Become the Largest City in Alabama

Update: Looks like a lot of folks were pretty far off on the estimates – Huntsville became the largest city in Alabama sometime back around 2017 or 2018. The official census numbers for 2020 put Huntsville at 215,006. So my … Continue reading

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The VBC Triangle

No, this isn’t like the Bermuda Triangle. To my knowledge, no one has ever gone missing here! Here in Huntsville, Alabama we’ve had a few big economic developments in the past few years, to put it mildly. And as is … Continue reading

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The Filling-in of Downtown Huntsville

Back in 1950, Huntsville, Alabama was a sleepy little hamlet of maybe 15,000 citizens. Its courthouse square would have fit in quite well as the backdrop for Forrest Gump’s park bench scene in a small Alabama town. You remember: “Life … Continue reading

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Sidewalk Messages

I was recently in Crystal City, a section of Arlington, Virginia. While walking to the metro station, I noticed something new to me. It’s a sidewalk message. Not exactly an advertisement, but more like a public service announcement. To me, … Continue reading

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Some Huntsville Projects Still on Their Way

Last time in the topic of Urban Planning, I blogged about big projects that never made it in Huntsville. But some projects just take longer to come about. Here are some projects that either we haven’t heard from in a … Continue reading

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Big Projects That Never Made It in Huntsville

Every city has them, and Huntsville is no exception. They are kept in the closet and pulled out every once in a while to ask once again why they never came to be. Depending on your perspective, some were even … Continue reading

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Is Overpass Weaving Legal?

Admittedly that’s an odd question for most folks, even in the context of urban traffic flow. However, I suspect that many thoughtful drivers in Huntsville, Alabama know exactly what I’m talking about. To explain why, let me give some background … Continue reading

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Downtown Huntsville: Pre and Post World War II

I must confess the obvious here: I’ve been fascinated with downtowns and skyscrapers from an early age. I believe it was at the age of ten that my father took my brother and me to watch an Atlanta Braves game, … Continue reading

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Urban Density in Huntsville

Last week, I blogged on Huntsville’s ‘Heaviest Corner’; the place in downtown Huntsville, Alabama that had the greatest density concentration. Since then, I’ve had a few additional thoughts, so I’d like to look further into that topic here. Here are … Continue reading

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