The city of Richmond was first designed by William Mayo in 1737 at the request of William Byrd II. The city was built to receive ships sailing down from the farms above the rapids and those sailing inland on the James River. At one time, Richmond was the densest, most industrialized city in the American South.
Today, Richmond is a politically isolated urban core surrounded by wealthier, suburban counties which often inflate their historical significance and deny the importance or relevance of their progenitor.
I love Richmond for it’s creative culture, old neighborhoods and relative anonymity elsewhere in the USA.
Minor League City is a series of posts I wrote in the winter of 2014 while Richmond debated the possibility of a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom. The first two posts, “Minor League City” and “Top 10 Reasons the Shockoe Ballpark is a Bad idea” are the result of countless conversations and hours of research. The third article in this series, “Baseball at the Heart” is the final post I wrote about the mayor’s project and sums my opinion regarding the true nature of this project. Combined, these three posts constitute 23% of the total views on this blog. As I wrote these pieces, I pulled from my knowledge of the planning, debate, and construction of I-95 through Richmond. The projects (their inception, development, and defense) have incredible similarity.
Start at the Edge is an idea I had one day that Richmond needs to spend time building up and beautifying the edge of the city. This idea then became two introductory blog posts: Start at the Edge and Start at the Edge (cont.) with more thoughts and ideas to come.
Cataloguing Richmond is basically a result of my desire to catalogue the beautiful urbanism of Richmond. The purpose is twofold: To develop my vocabulary for describing the elements of a city and to motivate me to read through Thadani’s The Language of Towns and Cities. Some of these posts are commentary while others are really just profiles. Here’s what I’ve found:
Other writings on RVA include:
In the past four years, I’ve discovered a history of this place stretching back before Europeans gave it its name. The city is divided by a river that was called the Yeokanta. This river that was the lifeblood of this region before the English sailed its waters as well as “the muddy umbilical cord tying the New World to the old” once the English arrived (The River Where America Began, 3). The river is the reason why people came to this piece of ground, the reason why they prospered, and remains as a source of energy and life in the city.