City Planner Leonardo DaVinci

We visited the Leonardo DaVinci exhibit in France yesterday in the home where he lived the last three years of his life.

City Planner Leonardo DaVinci

"Perhaps no idea speaks to the epic ambition and scope of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions better than his ideal city.""

"Da Vinci’s ideal city idea came about after the plague had ravaged Milan, killing off nearly a third of the city’s population. Leonardo wanted to design a city that would be more united, with greater communications, services and sanitation to prevent the future spread of such diseases."

His ideal city integrated a series of connected canals, which would be used for commercial purposes and as a sewage system." 

"The roads were designed to be very broad, most likely in response to Milan’s narrow streets where people were jammed together, probably contributing to the spread of the plague."

"Being an artist and architect, da Vinci’s city also would be a vision to behold, with elegant buildings featuring large arches and pillars. Da Vinci said of his style of urban planning: "Only let that which is good looking be seen on the surface of the city.""

Click to read more about Leonardo's Plan.

"Run, Hide, Fight: Surviving an Active Shooter Event"

Interesting video on Surviving an Active Shooter Event

Of course you have very little chance of being a victim of an active shooter event. Violence is responsible for less then 1% of all deaths according to the Wikipedia link below, and the percent of those violent deaths by mass murder is very small. But I suppose it does not hurt to be prepared.

Europe - North America Lattitudes Compared

Major European cities overlaid on North America, corrected for the identical latitude (click to view full sized):
image from 
North American cities, overlaid on Western Europe and Northern Africa at the identical latitude:
image from 
Much of Western Europe is farther north than the US-Canadian border.

Dinan, Brittany, France

Dinan is a charming walled city in Brittany.

Settlement of the Western Hemisphere

The theory of human migration from Siberia into the new world via a land bridge has long been the conventional wisdom.  The closest land connection from the old world to the new was between Siberia and Alaska. During the ice age there was a land connection between the two hemispheres since the sea level was lowered by glaciers as shown by the graphic below. The shaded area on the graphic below shows the land above water during the ice age.

This theory has been supported by DNA testing that indicates that most Native Americans are closely related to Asians by MtDNA that is inherited from mother to child, and by Y DNA that is inherited from father to son. The graphic below shows the theoretical movement of people from Asia to the western hemisphere by MtDNA.

The graphic below shows the likely path for the five major MtDNA haplogroups that pass from mother to child.  Haplogroups A, B, C, D follow a similar path from the old world to the new. The only surprise here is that Haplogroup X has few links to Asia, with more to the middle east and Europe.

The graphic below shows the distribution of the "Q" Y DNA passed from father to son. The majority of  Native Americans are descended from "Q" which is also located in Siberia. The two continents are shown to be interconnected by the graphics below.

The theory of a Siberian only connection to the human settlement of the western hemisphere has been challenged by a number of individuals who believe that the Clovis stone age technology is similar to the Solutrean stone age technology found in Spain and France.  "Across Atlantic Ice" by authors Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley presents an interesting theory that people could have traveled by boat along the ice pack that connected Europe and the new world during the ice age. They make their stone tools in a very similar manner and in way much different then those made in Asia.  They would have used boating and hunting technologies similar to modern Inuit peoples, hinting seals and fishing and living on the ice.

The graphic below below shows the location of MtDNA Haplogroup X passed from mother to child. Note the concentrations in the northeastern part of North America and Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. There is minimal connection to western Asia and Siberia.

The graphic below shows concentrations of the Male Y DNA R1. Note the concentrations in Europe and central Asia and northeastern north America. 

It appears likely that human migration into the new world was more complex then the conventional wisdom of a connection only from Asia to America on the land bridge. New DNA research will likely improve our understanding. But the last two graphics certainly support a possible connection via the Atlantic Ocean. 

Green Germany

Nicely landscaped roundabout.  We are at the American Air Force Base, Ramstein Germany. We just flew in yesterday.  The photos are from the 9th floor of the base hotel. Both the US Air Force and Germany do a nice job of building green and sustainable.

Nicely landscaped parking lot.

Green roof. This is of course a good idea but most of them look a bit scraggly.

Nice sunset.  There are wind turbines all along the crest of the ridge.

More scoop about our travels at:

Carbondale Redevelopment Opportunities

Great Opportunities for Redevelopment

The City of Carbondale is developing two Tax Increment Financing Districts. The large district above is in the historic downtown. Southern Illinois University is at the south end of the District. Major roads intersect the district from all directions. The AMTRAC station is near the center of the District.

The City will use TIF to assist redevelopment.

The smaller district above is located west of the downtown area. The District includes two large historic structures.


Gary Williams
Economic Development Coordinator
City of Carbondale
200 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale, IL 62902

PH: (618) 457-3286
FAX: (618) 457-3224


One of my favorite cartoons.  I think they made by butt too big, though.


Streetcar Plans Plow Ahead 

Cities Use Federal Funding to Back New Routes but Some Call Projects a Waste

Each case is of course different. Streetcars may make sense in some cases. But I recall the comments of my boss Clay Weaver at the Chicago Regional Transportation Authority when I was enthusiastically planning new rail lines.

 "Before you spend many millions of dollars on new rail lines why don't you try a bus first to see if anyone will ride it?"

Good advice.

Tinley Park Comprehensive Plan


Village staff led by Craig Hullinger AICP developed the Comprehensive Plan in house.  The plan proposed the Downtown Improvement Plan / Transit Oriented Development  Plan, the Housing Renovation Plan, the extension of 183rd Street, extensive landscaping improvements, the development of a Village wide bikeway system, forest preserve improvements, flood control improvements, the Tinley Park Convention Center and the Economic Development Incentives required to fund these improvements.

Nearly 1 in 7 Americans Received Food Assistance

A sad commentary on our economy.

SNAP participation up more in some States than others
In 2011, nearly one in seven Americans (14.3 percent of the total population) lived in a household that received food assistance benefits from USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This represents a 3.4 percentage point increase from 2009 when 10.9 percent of Americans were receiving SNAP benefits. 

This chart is one of the new maps in ERS's Food Environment Atlas, updated on June 29, 2012. For more information on SNAP and other nutrition programs, visit the Food and Nutrition Assistance topic page on the ERS website.

Webinar: Essential Smart Growth Fixes: Ideas for Rural Communities, Thursday, August 16, 2012, 2:00-3:00 Eastern - This webinar will focus on tools and strategies that can help rural communities spur economic growth while maintaining their rural character. Presenters Ben Herman (FAICP and Principal of Clarion Associates, a national land use firm) and Dean Severson (AICP and Principal Agricultural and Rural Planning Analyst for the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Planning Commission) will highlight zoning strategies from EPA's recent publication, "Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning, Zoning and Development Codes," and provide tips for implementation. Download the report from
smartgrowth/publications.htm.  AICP members can earn Certification Maintenance credits for this activity. Please note this is a repeat of the webinar held on July 19. No pre-registration is required. https://epa.connectsolutions.

Resilience in Planning

Getting Serious About Resilience in Planning

Resilience is a term much bandied about these days in the planning and development professions. Buildings, plans, economies and even cities are expected to be resilient to unforeseen externalities in a world of rapidly changing technologies, climates, and cultures. With this in mind, Kevin C. Desouza and his colleagues at the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech would like to engage you, the planning and development community, in a discussion of what exactly it means to be resilient in a planning context, whether this is a laudable goal, and, if so, how we can achieve it.

Read More:

Underground Home Beats the Heat

follow a tree-canopied path down past Roman archways, down farther to a cool, blessedly cool, underground sanctuary, down to the architectural and horticultural wonder that is the Forestiere Underground Gardens

Thanks to Mike Yui for sending.

Feeling Guilty

Feeling guilty. We will miss Hurricane Ian that is headed for our home near Sarasota, Florida. We are in the Pacific Ocean on a cruise heade...