Tag Archives: blogging

Why No New Posts?

You may or may not have noticed that there have been no new posts for the last few days. That’s not because I’ve given up on the blog, it’s because I’m working on and figuring out how to redesign it (or relaunch it) with a scope that includes most of Wasatch Front.

I’m not sure when that process will be finished, but I’m think of late next week. (It’d be early next week, but I’m going out of town for a few days).

So sit tight and come back in a few days. Thanks!

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An Update, Or, This Is Now The View Out My Window

DSCN9611

The picture above is a view out my current window. So, I have officially moved to Salt Lake City. (If you’re interested, read this earlier post where I explain my new job, which is what precipitated the move.)

It is with difficulty that I write this because, as I’ve written before, I love Provo and consider it my semi-adopted hometown (I was born in Provo but grew up in LA). However, the commute was killing me and I can’t very well write about the evils of driving a lot without practicing what I preach. One of Laura’s and my goals is also to reduce our overall driving and moving allowed us to do that; I now commute on foot to work and only drive when going on assignments and Laura commutes via Frontrunner, bus and bike.

As I wrote earlier, Laura and I hope to come back to Provo to live. In the meantime we’ve been in Provo at least once a week because most of our friends and family are still there. In other words, you’re only slightly less likely to see us on the streets than you were before.

So, you might ask, what does all of this mean for this blog?

For starters, I’m planning to do some sort of relaunch in the near future in which this blog becomes a more pan-Wasatch Front urbanism site. I’ll still write about Provo because I like it, know more about it that other places, and because I think Provo is where most of the exiting developments in Utah are happening.

But I’ll also write about other cities along the Wasatch Front. In reality, I already do that so not much will change, except that maybe I won’t tie everything thought back into Provo’s Center Street, the Joaquin neighborhood, or whatever else. So in terms of content, much of the blog will stay the same.

I’m not totally sure when the relaunch will happen; I have a bunch of posts in the queue right now that I want to publish before doing it and I haven’t settled on exactly how the re-imagined blog will work. But it’s coming and I thought it was only fair to mention it.

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(Pro(vo)cation) Turns One!

Sunday, (Pro(vo)cation) passed the one year mark. Though many readers didn’t find this blog until later, it actually began Nov. 4, 2011. This was the first post that wasn’t originally written for another site, and this was the second post. So it seems time for a brief retrospective.

The 100 Block, a frequent topic on this blog.

First, thank you for reading. When I started this blog, I had no idea where it would go. Now, I’m consistently surprised by the response and I’m flattered, humbled, and a bit intimidated when someone tells me they read along.

When I started writing, I also thought I might write two or three posts a week for six months or so, and then I’d be done. Before long, however, I began writing more and more until I settled on the current format of three posts a day, five days a week.

So far, this blog includes 720 posts. As of Sunday night around 8:30, it had 38,773 all-time page views, most of which have come in the last six to eight months as the blog has gained more momentum.

A view of Los Hermanos, the old Carnegie Library and the Wells Fargo Building.

I think that number is great, but if you’re reading along here it also seems to represent a group of people who care about Provo. We may all have different opinions, but clearly there are a bunch of us who think Provo is worth having an opinion about.

Much to my surprise, these are the three most popular posts ever:

1. The LDS Church Muscles Its Way to Development Nirvana

2. The Interchange Boondoggle Part 1

3. Dawn of a New Era: Muse Music Changes Ownership

And these were the three least-clicked posts:

1. The Difference Between Walking and Walkability

2. Are the Olympics a Bad Investment for Cities?

3. Lingering, Loitering, and Lively Sidewalks

The Provo Library has also been discussed on this blog.

If you were to go back and read all the posts on this blog, you might notice a bit of evolution over time. The way I write these posts has certainly changed over the last year, and moreover I’m constantly learning or being told new things, leading me to revise and alter my positions.

In any case, one of my favorite developments recently on this blog is the addition of guest posts. There haven’t been a lot of them yet, but the posts people have submitted demonstrate that people feel passionately about Provo.

The Knight Building is just one example of Provo’s historic architecture.

They’re thinking about the city and they like it. If you’re reading this, I urge you to consider submitting something yourself; I’d love it if this blog evolved to represent a wide range of views, rather than mostly just the opinion of one guy.

In the meantime, feel free to make suggestions, send me pictures — of Provo or anywhere else that is worth studying — and point out problems. I plan to continue writing this blog for sometime yet, and hopefully it’ll continue getting better and better. And thanks again for reading.

The Rooftop Concert Series has come up repeatedly on this blog.

The conversion of the Provo Tabernacle into an LDS Temple also has come up often on this blog. This picture shows a smoke stack that, sadly, was demolished this year.

Provo’s thriving restaurant scene is one of its greatest assets.

Mountains, trees, and BYU are among Provo’s other assets.

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Contribute to (Pro(vo)cation)

Do you read this blog sometimes? Do you have an opinion about Provo, cities, or the built environment?

If so, I’m interested in hearing from you. More specifically, I’d like to experiment with having some guest contributors to this blog and if you’re reading this you’re probably the person I’m talking to.

Have a good idea about Provo or cities? Write it up and send it to me and I’ll post it on this blog.

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while now, and I like it for a few reasons. First, creating great cities is obviously a collaborative process. By making this blog a bit more collaborative, then, it’ll hopefully reflect the community better. I’ve also noticed that I learn a lot from readers. With more contributors, everyone’s knowledge — especially mine — should be refined.

The sky’s really the limit with what could be submitted. Maybe you’ve seen something that works particularly well or poorly. Maybe there’s a part of Provo that needs more attention, either in real life or online. Maybe you pass a cool piece of street art on your way to work or school. Really, if you see something fascinating in the city, take a picture of it, write down what it might mean and send it to me. One of the foundational principles of this blog is that with a bit of critical consideration anyone can have a an opinion and an impact. Like me, you don’t have to be an expert to contribute.

That said, I’m very much interested in hearing from experts as well. I’ve been amazed at the incredible things professionals in the city are doing right now, so if that’s you send me a post illuminating some idea, location, or plan. Maybe you don’t even live in Provo right now, but have insight into some urban principle.

If you’re thinking about some idea now, write it up quickly before you get busy or distracted. Don’t worry about it being perfect. Then email it to me (see below). Put something useful in the subject line, like “provocation submission.”

If you’re still reading, let me offer a bit of a suggestion as well. If you write something, consider taking a stand. Be argumentative. Make a point that someone could reasonably disagree with. This blog is called “provocation” after all, so be provocative. Being wrong in the end isn’t a big deal; I change my mind about things all the time and learning is sort of the whole point.

Relatedly, try to avoid blatant publicity or just going on about something that’s nice. I’m trying to scale back on those kinds of posts and there are other blogs for that stuff. Instead, if something is really great, explain why.

Also, my feeling is that short posts thrive on the internet. I’ll post long stuff if it’s good, but 600 words can feel laborious. Most posts on this blog are between 200-400 words. If you’re having a hard time cutting it down, write a series; I often write a few posts that are designed to be read in succession and then just link from one to the other.

Those are just suggestions, and they’re ones I violate everyday. But they’re the guidelines I give myself as I write.

So good luck and get in touch at james.dalrymple52(at)gmail[dot]com. (This is a regular email address that uses @ and a “.” but I’ve typed it out this way to make it more difficult for spammers to target me.)

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