Regal and royal city names



Here’s my list of communities that include forms of royalty in their name. Please feel free to send along additions that I may have missed. Enjoy!

  • Annapolis Royal, NS, Canada
  • Front Royal, VA, USA
  • King City, CA, USA
  • King Cove, AK, USA (Thank you, Jean)
  • King George, VA, USA
  • King of Prussia, PA, USA
  • Kings Beach, CA, USA
  • Kingsburg, CA, USA
  • Kingsford, MI, USA
  • Kingsland, GA and AR, USA
  • Kingman, AZ, USA (Thank you, Jean)
  • King Salmon, AK, USA (Thank you, Jean)
  • Kings Point, NY and FL, USA
  • Kingsport, TN, USA
  • Kingston, Jamaica; ON, Canada; and NY, USA
  • Kingston Springs, TN, USA
  • Kingston-upon-Hull, UK
  • Kingstown, MD and NC, USA
  • Kingstree, SC, USA
  • Kingsville, TX, USA
  • King William, VA, USA
  • Kingwood, TX, USA
  • Los Reyes, Mexico
  • Marina del Rey, CA, USA
  • Montreal (Mount Royal), QC, Canada
  • North Royalton, OH, USA
  • Point Reyes Station, CA, USA
  • Port Royal, SC, USA
  • Prince Albert, SK, Canada
  • Prince Alfred, South Africa
  • Prince Frederick, MD, USA
  • Prince George, BC, Canada
  • Prince Rupert, BC, Canada
  • Princes Lake, IN, USA
  • Princeton, NJ, IL, IN and others USA, and BC, Canada
  • Princeville, IL, USA
  • Queen City, TX, USA
  • Queen Creek, AZ, USA
  • Real, Spain
  • Real de Gandia, Spain
  • Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA
  • Royal Center, IN, USA
  • Royal City, WA, USA
  • Royal Leamington Spa, UK (thank you, Brian)
  • Royal Oak, MI, USA
  • Royal Pines, NC, USA
  • Royalton, Il and PA, USA
  • Tsar Kaloyan, Bulgaria
  • View Royal, BC, Canada


A to Z – Cities starting and ending with the same letter (UPDATE)



Below is my list of cities whose name, in English, starts and ends with the same letter of the alphabet. Based on the list below, cities stating and ending with the letter “A” seems to be the most common by a large margin.

As this is an incomplete list, any additions are most welcome. Cheers!

UPDATE – additions to the original post are shown in bold.

  • Aba, Nigeria
  • Ada. OK, USA
  • Abuja, Nigeria
  • Accra, Ghana
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Ajdouscina, Slovenia (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Alafaya, FL, USA
  • Alma, MI and CO (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Alameda, CA, USA
  • Alamosa, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Alexandria, Egypt, VA, and LA, USA
  • Alpharetta, GA, USA (Thank you, Lynn)
  • Altavista, VA
  • Altona, MB, Canada
  • Altoona, PA and IA, USA
  • Ankara, Turkey
  • Annaba, Algeria
  • Apopka, FL, USA
  • Aqaba, Jordan
  • Arborga, Sweden ( Thank you, Silvia)
  • Arcata, CA, USA
  • Arriba, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Arvada, CO, USA
  • Arvika, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Asrhara, Eritrea
  • Assiniboia, SK, Canada
  • Atlanta, GA, USA
  • Augusta, GA and ME, USA
  • Aurora, CO, IL, etc., USA and ON, Canada
  • Aventura, FL, USA
  • Avesta, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Azuza, CA, USA (Thank you, Robert)
  • Cadillac, MI, USA
  • Dalesford, PA, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Deland, FL, USA
  • Dortmund, Germany (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Eagle, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Edwardsville, IL, USA
  • Elk Grove, CA, USA
  • Elk Grove Village, IL, USA
  • Empire, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Enschede, Netherlands (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Erie, PA and CO, USA
  • Esperance, Australia
  • Eugene, OR, USA
  • Evansville, IN, USA
  • Gatlinburg, TN, USA
  • Geelong, Australia
  • Gothenburg, Sweden and NE, USA
  • Greensburg, PA, USA
  • Gulyang, China
  • Hialeah, FL, USA
  • Keokuk, IA, USA
  • Keswick, ON, Canada
  • Kortrijk, Belgium (Thank you, Daniel)
  • Krasnoyansk, Russia
  • Laval, QC, Canada
  • Liverpool, UK and NS, Canada
  • Longueuil, QC, Canada
  • Lowell, MA and MI, USA
  • Mannheim, Germany and Manheim, PA, USA (Thank you, Kreso and Jonahtan)
  • Markham, ON, Canada
  • Nelson, New Zealand
  • New Britain, CT, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • New Haven, CT and IN, USA
  • New London, CT, USA
  • Newman, Australia and CA, USA
  • Newnan, GA, USA (Thank you, Robert)
  • Newton, MA and IA, USA
  • New Wilmington, PA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Nijmengen, Netherlands (Thank you, Jacques)
  • Nipawin, SK, Canada
  • Norristown, PA, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Northglenn, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • North Warren, PA, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Nunn, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Nynashamn, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Omro, WI, USA
  • Ontario, CA, USA
  • Orlando, FL, USA
  • Orebro, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Orono, ME, USA
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Otranto, Italy (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Oviedo, FL, USA
  • Owensboro, KY, USA
  • Prilep, Macedonia (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Puyallup, WA, USA
  • Radnor, PA, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Raymer, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Red Deer, AB, Canada
  • Rio Cuarto, Argentina
  • Rochester, NY, MN, IN, etc. USA and UK
  • St. Catharines, ON, Canada
  • Saint-Gilles, Belgium (Thank you, Daniel)
  • St. John’s, NF, Canada
  • St. Louis, MO and MI, USA
  • Salinas, CA, USA
  • San Luis, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Santa Claus, IN, USA
  • Santos, Brazil
  • Saratoga Springs, NY, USA
  • Sicamous, BC, Canada
  • Sint Niklaas, Belgium (Thank you, Daniel)
  • Sioux Falls, SD, USA
  • Snowmass, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Steamboat Springs, CO, USA (thank you, Deborah)
  • Sterling Heights, MI, USA
  • Strangnas, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Tivat, Montenegro (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Warsaw, Poland and IN, USA
  • Yazoo City, MS, USA
  • Yuba City, CA, USA

If every city looks alike, then we are failing as a profession



In response to a cartoon I posted yesterday on, (see above) a comment was made that planners are one of the reasons why so many cities look-alike. That was a very thought-provoking and rather disconcerting response.

With reflection, I would have to partially agree with the respondent. In too many instances, we as planners fail to fight the good fight and stand up for sound planning practices. Sure, we can be overruled by boards and commissions, but when one scans multitudes of master plans, long-range plans, comprehensive plans, and zoning codes from across the land, there are numerous similarities. What happened to context? What happened to most appropriate? What happened to all the criteria we should be (and were taught to be) using in our daily responsibilities as planners?

Certainly, some similarities between cities are to be expected. But if Boston looks like Birmingham, if you think you are in Scranton when you are really in Peoria, or if Tucson overly resembles Boise, then that is not a good thing. Variety is the spice of life and our communities should be as diverse, unique, and vibrant as each of us. Otherwise, what’s the point of having individually tailored plans and codes? We might as well have a national set of regulations that are applied uniformly across the nation to every village, town, township, city, or county.

Perhaps this is all simple case of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” or of, “if the ordinance survived a challenge elsewhere, it should be good to use here.” Needless to say, these are both somewhat lackadaisical approaches, but they could go a long way towards explaining the conundrum of sameness.

As professional planners, it is our job, no, it is our duty, to develop plans and codes that are best suited to the locality. Planners are not supposed to become one-size fits all land-use fashion designers. Some of you may recall the humorous (and perhaps a tad politically incorrect) Wendy’s commercial from the 1980s mocking a Soviet fashion show. In the advertisement, a model wears the exact same outfit for every purpose. Hopefully, as planners we are not mimicking that commercial in the application of our profession. To do so would be a great disservice to ourselves, our communities, and our profession.




Temples enshrine the psychedelic era…and more

Temples_-_Sun_Structures - wiki

“Sun Structures” – Source:

I discovered Temples listening to Impact 89fm – Michigan State University’s student radio station when they played the richly 1960’esque “Shelter Song.” As the first track on their debut full-length album, Sun Structures, the song aptly introduces Temples and a whole new generation to the amazing guitar riffs and rhythms of great bands like The Byrds, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, early Led Zeppelin, the Moody Blues, and even in one song reminiscent of Heart. While this may sound like sincere flattery and a case of imitation, Sun Structures is also refreshing in its own right – for one it’s a hell of a lot better than most music being released today. It also exudes mesmerizing guitars.  Some may claim guitar rock is dying and/or dead – it sure isn’t when you listen to this album!

The great classic psychedelic rock sounds emanating from Sun Structures evoke memories of songs we Baby Boomers cut our teeth on and is far more enjoyable to listen to than the bass-thumping headaches of rap, the bubble gum schlock of modern pop, or the overtly corporatize and partisan blather of most modern country music.

For a band that formed just two years ago, Temples are a polished, poised, and immensely talented foursome from Kettering, England. So much so, that in 2014 they have already played SXSW, Coachella, and Glastonbury, with Lollapalooza next on their plate.

Sun Structures is my favorite new album to date in 2014 (Beck a close second). It contains 12 songs spread over 53 minutes – a welcome length compared to so many recorded sprint sessions. Of the dozen formidable tracks, my favorites include:

  • “Shelter Song”
  • “Keep in the Dark”
  • “Sun Structures”
  • “Mesmerise”
  • “A Question Isn’t Answered”
  • “Move with the Season” – a guitar riff eerily similar to “Love Alive” by Heart
  • “The Golden Throne”
  • “Sand Dance” – reminds me of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
Who's Next - Source:

“Who’s next” – Source:

Lastly, I have got to say something about the album cover. Not only is it an uncanny reminder of Who’s next, but it is one of the coolest covers I have ever seen from an architectural and historical standpoint. According to the band’s interview on KEXP radio, Rushton’s Triangular Lodge, shown on the cover, is an historic structure built in 1593. Wow! – the building alone is worth a visit for architectural and historical junkies. Given its placement on this debut album, its place in British history has been secured for many centuries to come.

The searing imagery of “Rush”



Kathy and I watched Ron Howard’s latest film, Rush last night. It’s a terrific film (and true story) that deserved many more awards and kudos than it received. Far better than stupidly decadent Wolf of Wall Street or the mind-numbing American Hustle, Rush was a full body rush of energy, faced-paced images, and searing imagery.

The steadfast courage and inner strength portrayed by Daniel Bruhl as Formula One champion Niki Lauda to overcome a horrifying fiery crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix will inspire viewers and makes this film far more memorable than most of the schlock that dominated Hollywood last year. Go see/rent this film, for it deserves multitudes of accolades. You will also develop a great appreciation for Niki Lauda.

“The Gentleman From Finland” gets derailed



I really wanted to enjoy this book. The image of riding the Trans-Siberian Express across the width of the Soviet Union is a fascinating concept. Given how much I enjoyed Robert Goldstein’s more recent book, Riding with Reindeer, I figured this one would be loads of literary fun. It starts out that way, but in the last quarter of the book, it loses steam quickly and he gets caught up in too many dream sequences. It was almost like the author was not sure how to conclude the book, so he derailed the project instead. Don’t get me wrong, there are some quite enjoyable parts to The Gentleman From Finland, but in the end it falls flat leaving the reader wanting a more complete and descriptive travelogue and less tangential side tracks into the abstract.

DC’s stunning Chinatown friendship gate

0601140956One of my favorite activities while traveling is to make an effort to see the Chinatown friendship gates in cities that I visit. Among those I have personally observed are the friendship gates in Boston, Chicago, Sacramento, and San Francisco. From a human scale, Boston’s is hard to beat and San Francisco’s is certainly iconic, but the gate in Washington, DC’s Chinatown (just east of the intersection of H & 7th Streets) is simply stunning for its overall beauty, size, and artistic intricacy.

0601140958 (2)

Walking out of the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Station, the friendship gate immediately captures your attention and holds it tight. It is quite an impressive visual treat. Next time you happen to be visiting our Nation’s capital, hop on the Metro and stop to take a look at the city’s Chinatown friendship gate – it’s worth the trip! Cheers!

0601140954 (2)