Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment

Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Creating Places: A small city in name only

Courtesy of the classy skyline photo master Bill Cobb, check this photo of Reading, Pa. (linked here and seen below with a larger version when clicked upon). I can't recall if I've ever seen an aerial shot of Reading (or any photo of the city, for that matter), so my frame of reference is limited. But this is an outstanding image. Of note, the City of Reading covers a mere 10.1 square miles and offers a population of 88,000 (as of the 2010 Census count). That is an almost astounding 8,700 people per square mile, which explains the impressive building density shown in this photo.  For comparison, Murfreesboro, Tenn., has about 111,000 folks within its 39 square miles of city limits (about 2,846 people per square mile).


  1. thanks for sharing. Great example of a city growing the right way. Wouldn't mind finding myself in Reading for a few days and seeing it from street level.

    1. Chad,

      Thanks for the kind words. On occasion, I try to post an item regarding a place with which I feel the readers of this blog might not be familiar. It can be helpful by providing context and comparison.


  2. Why not check out a few of the smaller cities closer to Nashville? Evansville, Asheville, Lexington, Huntsville, Roanoke all come to mind.

    What ever happened to the series of comparisons to Nashville's peer cities, like Charlotte, Indianapolis, Columbus?

    1. Yes, agree on the cities near Nashville. I need to do that.

      You might have missed this from last November: