He is interim director of UNLV’s Downtown Design Center and coordinator of the hospitality design concentration at the UNLV School of Architecture. And he’s an expert on the relationship between architecture and music—the rhythms of space. We asked him to pick the best ideas from the outside world that Las Vegas should borrow:
1. Superior water reclamation and distribution. Singapore’s “NEWater” reclamation plants supply 30 percent of the nation’s total water demand and are projected to supply 50 percent by 2060. The reclaimed water is one of “Four National Taps”—a strategy that has made Singapore an international model for water management.
2. More walkable neighborhoods. What do New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Portland, Ore., have in common? They’ve all got walking neighborhoods where you can not only enjoy yourself but carry out your daily existence without hopping in the car. What else do they all have? Public transit!
3. Safer bicycle routes, and more of them. Austin, Texas, offers the nation’s first “defensive cycling” class for bike-traffic offenders. Its new bike-route map covers more than 450 square miles and includes street slope information and off-road options.
4. More restaurants that allow BYOB with a small corkage fee. Among the many charms of Honolulu is that it has more than 30 restaurants that allow you to bring your own booze.
5. Urban rail. In the West, Portland’s MAX and streetcar system sets the standard—it’s not only a great way to get around, but it’s also become a central part of the city’s hip urban aesthetic. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s BART is renowned as one of the nation’s safest—and quietest—public transit systems.
6. Everyday farmers markets. Ithaca, N.Y.—home of Cornell University—is, well, a little different from Las Vegas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t borrow one of its traditions. Ithaca’s Farmers Market, open five days a week, is comprised of 150 local growers and craftsmen. It’s an urban delight—and it’s reassuring to know it’s almost always there for you.
7. The civic self-confidence to be absolutely who we are.