Sequential double “AA” city and town names



The following list identifies those cities and towns from 20 countries around the world that have a sequential “double a” in their name. Two of the communities included in the list actually have two (2) sequential “double a’s” in their name which is quite rare. Even rarer is the one (1) community with a sequential “triple a” name – Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA.

Laayoune, Western Sahara – Source:

These places tend to be most common the Netherlands, Denmark, Algeria, South Africa, Germany and in only one (1) state – Hawaii. As always, if you know of other cities or towns that were missed, please feel free to pass them along so they may be included. Enjoy!

  • Aabenraa, Denmark – Double/Double A
  • Aabybro, Denmark
  • Aachen, Germany
  • Aalborg, Denmark
  • Aalten, Netherlands
  • Aarhus, Denmark (see photo below)
  • Aarosund, Denmark
  • Ait Chafaa, Algeria
  • Akaa, Finland
  • Aka’aka, Wallis & Fortuna
  • Al Majma’ah, Saudi Arabia
  • Baata, Algeria
  • Bou Saada, Algeria
  • Brasschaat, Belgium
  • Burgh-Haamstede, Netherlands
  • Dadaab, Kenya
  • Daggakraal, South Africa
  • Daraa, Syria
  • Faaborg, Denmark
  • Fua’amotu, Tonga
  • Gansbaai, South Africa
  • Geraardsbergen, Belgium
  • Graaf-Reinet, South Africa
  • Graafwater, South Africa
  • Haaksbergen Netherlands
  • Haapsalu, Estonia
  • Haarlem, Netherlands
  • Haasts Bluff, Australia
  • Hassi Zahana, Algeria
  • Heerhugowaard, Netherlands
  • Honokaa, Hawaii, USA
  • Hyvinkaa, Finland
  • Jarvanpaa, Finland
  • Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA – triple “a”
  • Kaanapali, Hawaii, USA
  • Kaarina, Finland
  • Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands
  • Kankaanpaa, Finland – Double/Double A
  • Kapa’a, Hawaii, USA
  • Kapaau, Hawaii, USA
  • Khams Djouamaa, Algeria
  • Langebaan, South Africa
  • Larbaa, Algeria
  • Larbaa Nath Irathen, Algeria
  • Laayoune, Western Sahara (see photo above)
  • Lempaala, Finland
  • Loimaa, Finland
  • Maalaea, Hawaii, USA
  • Ma’an, Jordan
  • Maasband, Netherlands
  • Maasmechelen, Belgium
  • Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Maatkas, Algeria
  • Naalehu, Hawaii, USA
  • Naantali, Finland
  • Naujaat, Nunavut, Canada
  • Odendaalsrus, South Africa
  • Oldenzaal, Netherlands
  • Oudenaarde, Belgium
  • Ouled Boujemaa, Algeria
  • Paarl, South Africa
  • Raalte, Netherlands
  • Roosendaal, Netherlands
  • Rufaa, Sudan
  • Saacow, Somalia
  • Saanich, British Columbia, Canada
  • Saarbrucken, Germany
  • Saarburg, Germany
  • Saarlouis, Germany
  • Sana’a, Yemen
  • Sidi Naamane, Algeria
  • Soumaa, Algeria
  • Stadskanaal, Netherlands
  • Vaasa, Finland
  • Valkenswaard, Netherlands
  • Vantaa, Finland
  • Waalwijk, Netherlands
  • Xabaalo Barbar, Somalia

Aarhus, Denmark – Source:

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Favorite movie roles by actors past and present

Just a little fun on a rainy day. Below is a lengthy listing of my favorite film for each actor (male and female) past and present. Those not included were either an oversight or were not included because I do not have a particular favorite film they were in. The list will be updated and expanded over time. Enjoy!

  • Amy Adams – Enchanted
  • Ben Affleck – Argo
  • Alan Alda – Same Time Next Year
  • Maherashala Ali – The Green Book
  • June Allyson – The Glenn Miller Story
  • Julie Andrews – Mary Poppins
  • Lauren Bacall – Key Largo
  • Kevin Bacon – Apollo 13
  • Alec Baldwin – The Hunt for Red October
  • Christian Bale – Ford vs. Ferrari
  • Anne Bancroft – The Miracle Worker
  • Warren Beatty – Bonnie & Clyde
  • Annette Benning – Regarding Henry
  • Ingrid Bergman – Casablanca
  • Humphrey Bogart – The African Queen
  • Marlon Brando – On the Waterfront
  • Yul Brenner – Anastasia
  • Josh Brolin – Hail Caesar!
  • Charles Bronson – The Dirty Dozen
  • Pierce Brosnan – The Thomas Crown Affair
  • Sandra Bullock – Gravity
  • Richard Burton – Where Eagles Dare
  • Ellen Burstyn – Same Time Next Year
  • James Caan – El Dorado
  • Jim Carrey – The Truman Show
  • Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
  • Jessica Chastain – The Zookeeper’s Wife
  • Julie Christie – Dr. Zhivago
  • Montgomery Clift – A Place in the Sun
  • George Clooney – Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • Jennifer Connelly – A Beautiful Mind
  • Sean Connery – The Hunt for Red October
  • Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born
  • Gary Cooper – Pride of the Yankees
  • Kevin Costner – Dances With Wolves
  • Daniel Craig – Skyfall
  • Bing Crosby – White Christmas
  • Russell Crowe – A Beautiful Mind
  • Tom Cruise – The Last Samurai
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
  • Jamie Lee Curtis – True Lies
  • Tony Curtis – The Defiant Ones
  • John Cusack – High Fidelity
  • Matt Damon – The Martian
  • Jeff Daniels – Gettysburg
  • Geena Davis – A League of Their Own
  • Viola Davis – The Help
  • Judi Dench – Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Johnny Depp – Finding Neverland
  • Bruce Dern – Nebraska
  • Laura Dern – Wild
  • Leonard DiCaprio – Catch Me If You Can
  • Kirk Douglas – In Harm’s Way
  • Michael Douglas – An American President
  • Richard Dreyfuss – The Goodbye Girl
  • Patty Duke – The Miracle Worker
  • Faye Dunaway – Bonnie & Clyde
  • Robert Duvall – Open Country
  • Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby
  • Emilio Estevez – Young Guns
  • Peter Falk – The Great Race
  • Sally Field – Forrest Gump
  • Joseph Fiennes – Shakespeare in Love
  • Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Collin Firth – The King’s Speech
  • Henry Fonda – 12 Angry Men
  • Jane Fonda – Cat Ballou
  • Glenn Ford – The Big Heat
  • Harrison Ford – Regarding Henry
  • Jodie Foster – Contact
  • Michael J. Fox – Back to the Future
  • Morgan Freeman – The Shawshank Redemption
  • Clark Gable – Gone With the Wind
  • Ava Gardner – Mugambo
  • Judy Garland – The Wizard of Oz
  • James Garner – The Great Escape
  • Ryan Gosling – La La Land
  • Cary Grant – Charade
  • Hugh Grant – Notting Hill
  • Alec Guinness – The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • Gene Hackman – Hoosiers
  • Tom Hanks – Bridge of Spies
  • Woody Harrelson – The Highwaymen
  • Richard Harris – A Man Called Horse
  • Rex Harrison – Dr. Dolittle
  • Anne Hathaway – Interstellar
  • Katharine Hepburn – The African Queen
  • Audrey Hepburn – Roman Holiday
  • Charlton Heston – Planet of the Apes
  • Dustin Hoffman – Rainman
  • William Holden – Stalag 17
  • Judy Holliday – Born Yesterday
  • Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
  • Trevor Howard – Brief Encounter
  • Holly Hunter – Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
  • Diane Keaton – Baby Boom
  • Michael Keaton – Birdman
  • Gene Kelly – Singing in the Rain
  • Grace Kelly – Rear Window
  • Deborah Kerr – An Affair to Remember
  • Nicole Kidman – Lion
  • Val Kilmer – The Saint
  • Ben Kingsley – Gandhi
  • Kevin Kline – Dave
  • Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
  • Burt Lancaster – Birdman of Alcatraz
  • Vivian Leigh – Gone With the Wind
  • Jack Lemmon – The Apartment
  • Shirley MacLaine – The Apartment
  • Fred MacMurray – Double Indemnity
  • Amy Madigan – Field of Dreams
  • Matthew McConaughey – Interstellar
  • Tobey Maguire – Seabiscuit
  • Dean Martin – Airport
  • Lee Marvin – The Dirty Dozen
  • Frances McDormand – Fargo
  • Steve McQueen – The Great Escape
  • Ray Milland – Dial M for Murder
  • Helen Mirren – The 100 Foot Journey
  • Robert Mitchum – El Dorado
  • Marylin Monroe – Some Like It Hot
  • Frank Morgan – The Shop Around the Corner
  • Viggo Mortensen – The Green Book
  • Eddie Murphy – Dolomite is My Name
  • Bill Murray – St. Vincent
  • Patricia Neal – In Harm’s Way
  • Liam Neeson – Schindler’s List
  • Paul Newman – The Sting
  • Jack Nicolson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Edward Norton – Birdman
  • Maureen O’Hara – Miracle on 34th Street
  • Peter O’Toole – Goodbye Mr. Chips
  • Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare in Love
  • Dev Patel – Lion
  • Bill Paxton – Apollo 13
  • Gregory Peck – Roman Holiday
  • Sean Penn – Milk
  • Brad Pitt – Seven Years in Tibet
  • Sidney Poitier – To Sir With Love
  • Anthony Quinn – The Guns of Navarone
  • Robert Redford – Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
  • Keanu Reeves – Always Be My Maybe
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
  • Debbie Reynolds – The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  • Molly Ringwald – The Breakfast Club
  • Jason Robards – All the President’s Men
  • Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
  • Tim Robbins – The Shawshank Redemption
  • Julia Roberts – Erin Brockovich
  • Cliff Roberston – PT 109
  • Seth Rogan – 50/50
  • Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
  • Katharine Ross – Hellfighters
  • Rosalind Russel – His Girl Friday
  • Renee Russo – Tin Cup
  • Meg Ryan – City of Angels
  • Robert Ryan – Battle of the Bulge
  • Susan Sarandon – Bull Durham
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – True Lies
  • George C. Scott – Patton
  • Peter Sellers – The Pink Panther
  • Omar Sharif – Dr. Zhviago
  • Robert Shaw – The Sting
  • Martin Sheen – The Way
  • Talia Shire – Rocky
  • Frank Sinatra – Von Ryan’s Express
  • Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
  • Sylvester Stallone – Rocky
  • Barbara Stanwyck – Double Indemnity
  • James Stewart – Spirit of St. Louis
  • Emma Stone – La La Land
  • Barbra Streisand – The Way We Were
  • Meryl Streep – Out of Africa
  • Hillary Swank – Million Dollar Baby
  • Gloria Swanson – Sunset Boulevard
  • Channing Tatum – Hail Caesar!
  • Elizabeth Taylor – A Place in the Sun
  • Charlize Theron – Mad Max Fury Road
  • Emma Thompson – Alone in Berlin
  • Spencer Tracy – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • Dick Van Dyke – Mary Poppins
  • Jon Voight – The Odessa File
  • Denzel Washington – Philadelphia
  • John Wayne – In Harm’s Way
  • Sigourney Weaver – Dave
  • Richard Widmark – The Alamo
  • Gene Wilder – Young Frankenstein
  • Robin Williams – Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Bruce Willis – The Sixth Sense
  • Kate Winslet – Finding Neverland
  • Reese Witherspoon – Wild
  • Natalie Wood – Splendor in the Grass
  • Joanne Woodward – Three Faces of Eve
  • Rene Zellweger – Jerry McGuire
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Geography of Tractor Supply’s distribution network

The list below identifies the existing eight (8) distributions centers in Tractor Supply’s warehouse network. The oldest is located in Pendleton, Indiana (1999), northeast of Indianapolis on I-69, while the newest (2018) is in Upstate New York along I-90 in Frankfort (Utica).

  • Casa Grande (Phoenix-Tucson area), AZ: 651,000 sq. ft. (2015)
  • Frankfort (Utica area), NY: 924,000 sq. ft. (2018)
  • Franklin (Nashville-Bowling Green area), KY: 834,000 sq. ft. (2011)
  • Hagerstown (DC-Baltimore area), MD: 780,000 sq. ft. (2005/expanded in 2015)
  • Macon, GA: 667,000 sq. ft. (2013)
  • Pendleton (Indianapolis area), IN: 752,000 sq. ft. (1999)
  • Waco, TX: 654,000 sq. ft. (2003)
  • Waverly (Lincoln area), NE: 591,000 sq. ft. (2005)


Frankfort, NY Distribution Center – Source:

Posted in business, cities, commerce, economic development, geography, history, infrastructure, land use, logistics, Maps, planning, shipping, shopping, spatial design, Statistics, transportation, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Largest “ville” suffix cities in the world


Brazzaville – Source:

Returning to a series of posts about city suffix names, below is the list of the largest cities in the world that contain the suffix of “ville.”  Minimum of 50,000 population was necessary for inclusion. Cities from 17 states are included, as well as two (2) Canadian provinces.

By far the most of these cities are located in North America, even though the word “ville” is French in origin:

“from French ville, town, city from Classical Latin villa: see villa.”


If Kinshasa, Congo has kept its original name of Leopoldville, it would be the largest city on the list.

Libreville – Source:


  1. Brazzaville, Republic of Congo = 2,308,000 (2019 est.)
  2. Jacksonville, FL = 903,889 (2018 est.)
  3. Libreville, Gabon = 703,904 (2013)
  4. Nashville, TN = 669,053(2018)
  5. Louisville, KY = 620,118 (2018)
  6. Fayetteville, NC = 209,468 (2018 est.)
  7. Huntsville, AL = 197,318 (2018 est.)
  8. Oakville, ON, Canada = 193,832 (2016)
  9. Knoxville, TN = 187,500 (2018 est.)
  10. Brownsville, TX = 183,392 (2018 est.)
  11. Townsville, Australia = 180,820 (2016)
  12. Clarksville, TN = 156,794 (2018 est.)
  13. Naperville, IL = 148,304 (2018 est.)
  14. Roseville, CA = 139,117 (2018 est.)
  15. Gainesville, FL = 133,857 (2018 est.)
  16. Victorville, CA = 122,318 (2018 est.)
  17. Evansville, IN = 117,963 (2018 est.)
  18. Lewisville, TX = 106,586 (2018 est.)
  19. Vacaville, CA = 100,584 (2018 est.)
  20. Greenville, NC = 93,137 (2018 est.)
  21. Asheville, NC = 92,452 (2018 est.)
  22. Fayetteville, AR = 86,751 (2018 est.)
  23. Somerville, MA =  81,562 (2018 est.)
  24. Aubervilliers, France = 77,452 (2013)
  25. Jacksonville, NC = 72,896 (2018 est.)
  26. Drummondville, QC, Canada = 68,601 (2016)
  27. Greenville, SC = 68,563 (2018 est.)
  28. Rockville, MD = 68,268 (2018 est.)
  29. Janesville, WI = 64,565 (2018 est.)
  30. Pflugerville, TX = 64,432 (2018 est.)
  31. Noblesville, IN = 63,133 (2018 est.)
  32. Burnsville, MN = 61,203 (2018 est.)
  33. Taylorsville, UT = 60,192 (2018 est.)
  34. Hendersonville, TN = 57,576 (2018 est.)
  35. Huntersville, NC = 57,098 (2018 est.)
  36. Watsonville, CA = 53,920 (2018 est.)
  37. Summerville, SC = 51,692 (2018 est.)
  38. Sartrouville, France = 51,599 (2013)
  39. Bentonville, AR = 51,111 (2018 est.)
  40. Belleville, ON, Canada = 50,716 (2016)
  41. Collierville, TN = 50,616 (2018 est.)


Posted in Africa, Canada, cities, culture, Europe, geography, history, Language, North America, Oceania, place names, States, Statistics, toponymy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Environmental/health benefits of street sweeping/cleaning


Global Environmental hybrid-electric street sweeper – Source:

This past Monday afternoon, Traverse City’s street sweeping/cleaning crew came down our street and swept/cleaned it. Two machines were utilized during the operation – one an Elgin and the other a Global. They removed most of the dirt, grit, salt, grime, oil, dust, and debris that had gathered over the winter months from our street. Needless to say, our street looks much better now.

Elgin hybrid-electric street sweeper – Source:

Their efforts got me to thinking that other than here in Traverse City, I do not readily recall ever observing street sweeping/cleaning take place on any street or road I have lived on previously. That doesn’t mean it never happened, but I certainly do not remember seeing it occur or remembering the improved road appearance afterwards. Meanwhile, in nearly 4.5 years here, I recall seeing the sweeping/cleaning crews hard at work multiple times on our street, as well as on other thoroughfares throughout the city.

Elgin CNG street sweeper – Source:

Observing their efforts on Monday made me realize there really are a lot of benefits derived from routine street sweeping/cleaning, not the least of which are prolonging the life of the pavement, increasing safety, as well as improving property values and community aesthetics. But, in addition to these three, there are many environmental/health benefits (often interrelated) from regular street sweeping/cleaning. These include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:

  • Protect the local watershed – street sweeping/cleaning safely removes many contaminants that would otherwise wash into and pollute nearby streams and waterbodies.
  • Remove of algae-causing materials – regularly swept/cleaned streets helps remove those yard waste items (grass clippings, weeds, leaves, etc.) that contain nitrogen or phosphorus and contribute to the buildup of algae in waterbodies.
  • Protect drinking water resources (particularly surface water resources) – when your community relies on surface water for its potable water supply, keeping contaminants out is of paramount importance.
  • Improve stormwater management – clogged or backed-up storm drains filled with dirt, sand, rocks, debris, etc., which can lead to localized flooding and/or icing in cold weather. Street sweeping/cleaning helps remove these materials and keeps them out of the stormwater drainage system.
  • Protect wetlands – street sweeping/cleaning removes contaminants and other debris from entering nearby wetlands, which in turn allows these natural filters to maintain greater water storage and filtration capacity.
  • Protect wildlife and outdoor pets – routine street sweeping and cleaning removes trash and other waste products which otherwise could be ingested by wildlife/pets, injure them, or be dangerous in other ways.
  • Maintain and protect permeable/porous pavements – one of the biggest headaches related to installing permeable/porous pavement, particularly in northern climates, is the accumulation of dirt, dust, debris, ice, etc. amidst and between the pavers. Routine street sweeping/cleaning (including parking lots) helps them provide the filtration and stormwater capacity they were designed for and prevents potential damage from freezing and thawing.
  • Improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists – for those who commute by foot or bike, or those who just enjoy a leisurely walk or ride, the removal of accumulated debris along a street makes it safer to travel. It also helps keeps pedestrians and cyclists from having to swing in and out of the primary travel lanes to avoid the debris. It is important to note that separate paved multi-purpose trails ought to be swept/cleaned, as well.
  • Reduce potential for freshwater salinization – particularly important in cold-weather climates, routine street sweeping/cleaning helps reduce excess road salt accumulated throughout the winter months. Any and all road salt removal helps reduce the risks to freshwater resources from increased salinization.
  • Pest infestation deterrent – the removal of accumulated trash and debris along streets and roadways helps to reduce the likelihood of unwanted rodent and pest infestations.
  • Dust control – dust is a common air pollutant with can cause both environmental and health problems. Regular street sweeping/cleaning helps reduce the accumulation of dust and control its distribution into the atmosphere. As one who suffers from dust allergies, this benefit is very appealing. Particularly interesting is the development of waterless dust control street sweeping/cleaning equipment, which are especially useful in arid climates (see photo below).

Elgin’s waterless Pelican Sweeper – Source:


These environmental/health benefits, combined with the introduction and increased use of more environmentally friendly street sweepers/cleaners [hybrid-electric and compressed natural gas (CNG)], are important reasons for communities of all sizes to adopt regular and routine street sweeping/cleaning protocols. They also clearly demonstrate that street/road care and maintenance and not the only positive reasons for employing street sweepers/cleaners.

Lastly, streets and roadways should not be the only surfaces where sweepers/cleaners are used – the same benefits are derived on airport tarmacs, runways, paved trails, parking lots, and other similar surfaces. The more often they are employed, the better for improving overall environmental and community health.

TYMCO CNG street sweeper – Source:


Posted in Advocacy, Alternative transportation, bicycling, Biking, Cars, cities, civics, climate change, commerce, ecosystems, environment, geography, government, health, hiking, humanity, infrastructure, nature, Pets, placemaking, planning, pollution, recreation, rivers/watersheds, spatial design, sustainability, transportation, urban planning, walking | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Can you name this city?

With our entertainment options being limited during this time of national/world crisis, I decided to temporarily revive a former satellite image guessing game once held here on – Can you name this city?

For your consideration – an impressive satellite photo of a major city. Of particular note is its airport situated on a narrow spit of land with the main runway extending into the abutting harbor. Good luck to all.


Kingston, Jamaica

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Longest roadway tunnels under North American airports


Tunnel beneath Tulip City Airport – Source:

The following list identifies the longest road tunnels in the North America that operate beneath airport infrastructure. Any additional, corrections, or suggestions are most welcome, particularly for those tunnels without data or of other locations not included.

Calgary Airport Tunnel – Source

  1. 3,696 feet – McCarran International Airport, Nevada for SR 217 (1994)
  2. 2,080 feet – Los Angeles International Airport, California for Sepulveda Blvd. (1953)
  3. 2,034 feet – Calgary International Airport, Alberta (2016)
  4. 1,909 feet – John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California
  5. 1,601 feet – Addison Airport, Texas (1999)
  6. 1,500 feet – Hartsfield International Airport, Georgia for I-285*
  7. 1,420 feet – Lambert International Airport, Missouri for Lindbergh Boulevard (2002)
  8. 1,100 feet – Memphis International Airport, Tennessee for Winchester Road
  9. 1,000 feet – Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Michigan for Dingell Drive (North Tunnel)
  10. 1,000 feet – Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Michigan for Dingell Drive (South Tunnel)
  11.    991 feet – Long Beach Airport, California for Spring Street
  12.    887 feet – Tulip City Airport (Holland), Michigan for South Washington Street (2005)
  13.    800 feet – Van Nuys Airport, California for Sherman Way (1959)
  14.    800 feet – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Intl. Airport, Florida for U.S. 1 (2014)*
  15.    640 feet- General Mitchell Field, Wisconsin for College Avenue (2011)
  16.    213 feet – Port Columbus International Airport for Sawyer Road (2002)
  17.    180 feet – Port Columbus International Airport for Sawyer Road (2002)
  18.    180 feet – Port Columbus International Airport for Sawyer Road (2002)

*May be considered a bridge instead of a tunnel.

Unknown length (more information needed):

  • Buffalo International Airport, New York for Aero Drive (1960)
  • Long Beach Airport, California for Route 19 – Lakewood Boulevard (1958/1982)
  • Nashville International Airport, Tennessee for Murfreesboro Road
  • Nashville International Airport, Tennessee for Donelson Pike
  • Roanoke-Blacksburg Airport, Virginia for Route 118 (Airport Road Tunnel)(1985)
  • San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, Puerto Rico for Avenida Aeropuerto
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington for S. 188th Street (1961)


Posted in aerospace, air travel, airport planning, airports, aviation, bridges, Canada, cities, history, infrastructure, land use, North America, planning, spatial design, traffic, transportation, Travel, tunnels, urban planning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tall Timbers – The rise of the wooden skyscraper

In recent years, a new trend in high-rise construction has emerged – the development of skyscrapers constructed largely of wood products (can also referred to as mass timbercross-laminate timber, and/or engineered-wood).

Use of these natural materials have the benefits of a reduced carbon footprint (15-20% lower than steel), lighter weight (approximately 1/5 that of concrete), quicker construction times (25% faster), prefabrication, and being a renewable resource.

The list below identifies those skyscrapers (completed or under construction) which are primarily built of timber and =/+ 100 feet in height.

  1. Ascent (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: preliminary site work underway) = 283 feet (as revised in March 2020)/25 stories

Ascent – Source:

2. Mjøstårnet Tower (Brumunddal, Norway: 2019) = 280 feet/18 stories

3. HoHo Tower (Vienna, Austria: 2020) = 276 feet/24 stories

4. Terrace House (Vancouver, British Columbia: under construction) = 232 feet/19 stories

Terrace House – Source:

5. Sara Cultural Centre (Skellefteå, Sweden: under construction) = 226 feet/20 stories

Sara Cultural Centre – Source:

6. Brock Commons Tallwood House (Vancouver, British Columbia: 2017) 174 feet/18 stories (hybrid timber tower with a steel and concrete core)

Brock Commons Tallwood House – Source:

7. Treet (Bergen, Norway: 2015) = 173 feet/14 stories

Treet – Source:

8. Light House (Joensuu, Finland: 2019) = 157 feet/14 stories

9. Sensation (Strasbourg, France: 2019) = 125 feet/11 stories

10. SKAIO (Heilbronn, Germany: 2019) = 112 feet/10 stories

11. Forte (Melbourne, Australia: 2012) = 105 feet/10 stories

Forte – Source:

A number of other timber high-rises have been proposed worldwide. But, because projects are often proposed without actually being built, the list above only includes those that have been completed or are underway.

One may wonder about possible dangers of tall buildings constructed of wood, particularly fire. In some instances this has been addressed by constructing a concrete and/or steel core surrounded by mass timber or cross-laminated timber construction. Secondly, studies have shown that charred mass timber/cross-laminate timber remains very strong. In fact,

“The unburnt wood, protected by the charred wood, retains up to 100 percent of its initial strength.”

Source: Fire Performance, reThink Wood

Furthermore, studies show:

“During a fire resistance test of a 5-ply cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel wall, the panel was subjected to temperatures exceeding 1,800 Fahrenheit and lasted 3 hours and 6 minutes, far more than the two-hour rating that building codes require.”


As more information becomes available, building codes, particularly here in the United States, will need to be modified to allow taller mass timber structures that the current limit(s). When completed, Ascent in Milwaukee will greatly supersede the current tallest mass timber tower in the United States, Carbon 12, an 85 foot tall apartment building in Portland, Oregon (see image below).

Carbon 12 – Source:


Posted in architecture, art, Canada, cities, downtown, economic development, environment, Europe, geography, history, Housing, infrastructure, land use, nature, new urbanism, North America, Oceania, placemaking, planning, revitalization, skylines, skyscrapers, spatial design, States, Statistics, sustainability, Travel, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Planning Lessons from Phoenix

Dusk view of Phoenix from South Mountain Park

Prior to 2019, the last time I had been in Phoenix was 1970. While I certainly expected the city to have changed in those nearly 50 years, I was unprepared for the largely unchecked growth and monumental differences that had taken place. Now that I have visited Phoenix multiple times in the past year, here are some thoughts on planning lessons that one can derive from this once implausible urban empire.

  • The changes that have occurred in the Phoenix area in the past half-century are simply mind-boggling. It wasn’t like I was expecting to see the Brady Bunch drive past on the Black Canyon Freeway, but the sheer extent of the changes made it feel like my previous visit some 50 years ago had just been some kind of a day dream.
  • Mountains, regional parks, a national forest, and Native American reservations that once marked the outer limits of urban development now have become isolated pockets of solitude surrounded by a sea of humanity.
  • Phoenix has the infrastructure bones to allow for higher density development, particularly in the city core, in Tempe, and in Scottsdale. More encouragement is needed throughout the metro area in other suburban downtowns such as, but not limited to Mesa, Glendale, Chandler, and Gilbert.
  • Sky Harbor International Airport is the most convenient and readily downtown-accessible major commercial airport in the country. Despite all the development that has occurred in the surrounding area, the city/region have been smart to maintain and continuously improve the airport in its current location, versus seeking a distant, undeveloped site in the desert.

Sky harbor Airport in relation to downtown Phoenix – Source: flight


  • Tempe Town Lake is an artificial water body constructed along the normally dry Salt River for recreation, aesthetic, and flood control purposes. Love it or hate it, the lake is certainly an eye-popping surprise to anyone who has not been to the Phoenix area since it was completed 1999.



  • It’s nice to see some attempts at providing mass transit such as light rail; though greater financial, private-sector, and political support is needed to reduce the auto-centric dependency of the Phoenix metro area.
  • A recent report by indicated that 36 percent of the Phoenix metro area is paved (roads, highways, parking lots), with ten percent (10%) of the total land area being just parking lots. This is an incredibly inefficient use of land in a place that needs to coexist more effectively with its often brutal, yet fragile environment.
  • Despite the boom that has occurred here over the past half-century, the untouched portions of the Sonoran Desert continue to serve as a peaceful counter-balance to the rat race unfolding amidst the human-built environment.
  • Though too often thought of as a vast, endless, wasteland to be exploited, the Sonoran Desert of one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems on Earth, worthy of more love, respect, and protection than it has received to date.

Map of the Sonoran Desert (dark yellow) – Source:

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Favorite beers by state and country


Below is my list of favorite beers by state and country. Most of the ones in the United States have been tried at the brewery or brewpub. Brands from outside the United States have been tried in restaurants there or were bought from stores where they are available here in the USA. These rankings may change over time as new beer are tried and in a reflection of changing tastes.

  • Australia – Fosters
  • Belgium – Stella Artois
  • Canada – Moosehead Lager
  • China – Tsingtao
  • Czech Republic – Pilsner Urquell
  • Denmark – Carlsberg Pilsner
  • England – Bass
  • Germany – Beck’s
  • Greece – Mythos
  • India – Kingfisher
  • Ireland – Harp
  • Italy – Peroni
  • Japan – Sapporo
  • Mexico – Bohemia Pilsner (been a fan of this beer since 1976)
  • Netherlands – Heineken
  • Portugal – Sagres
  • United States
    • Arizona: Barrio Brewing (Tucson) – TJ’s Raspberry Ale
    • California: Lost Coast Brewing (Eureka) – Tangerine Wheat
    • Colorado: Avery Brewing (Boulder) – Joe’s Pils
    • Massachusetts: Wachusett Brewing (Gardner) – Blueberry Ale
    • Michigan: Silver Spruce Brewery (Traverse City) – German Pilsner
    • New Mexico: Ponderosa Brewing (Albuquerque) – New Mexican Lime Lager
    • New York: Genesee Brewing (Rochester) – Cream Ale
    • Ohio: Schoenling Brewing (Cincinnati) – Little Kings Cream Ale
    • Pennsylvania: Penn Brewery (Pittsburgh) – Penn Pilsner
    • Utah: Zion Canyon Brewery (Springdale) – Engel Landen Pilsner
    • Wisconsin: Pabst Brewing (Milwaukee) – PBR…though I do want to try the renewed version Rhinelander.


Bold – Three (3) favorite mass produced beers and my three (3) favorite craft beers.

Italics – tasted at the brewery/brewpub or in the country where its produced.


If you love beer like I do, here’s a link to a couple of beer guides available through*:



*A small commission is earned from purchases that are made using these links to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Posted in advertising, Asia, beer, branding, brewpubs, Canada, Europe, fun, geography, Ireland, Latin America, Mexico, North America, Oceania, States, third places, tourism, Travel, UK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment