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Let's build better cities


Greetings fellow urbanists, architects and humans that care about the built environment!

I am Michael Huston, a licensed architect and urban designer currently practicing in St. Petersburg, Florida. While educated and trained as an architect, I am an urbanist at heart.

I started this blog as an outlet for my observations and ideas which crowded my mind and distracted me from more important things, like improving my backhand on the tennis court.

Because I am a natural born skeptic, I rely on my own observations as my primary source of inspiration and verification, hence the name of this blog, The Empirical City.

In my opinion, the last 80 years has mostly been a disaster for architecture and city planning. Hopefully, by putting some ideas and observations out there, I can contribute to the dialogue and help shape better towns and cities for future generations.

Michael Huston

How I make a living (hint, it's not from this blog!)

I am currently associated with two design companies. I started Urban Arts Inc. in 2018 after moving to St. Petersburg, Florida. Urban Arts Inc. provides services in urban design and architecture. In 2020, I joined forces with long time collaborator, Jayashree Narayana, to form a new company called Civic Plan Studio. The new company offers services in land use planning, form-based codes, master planning, and placemaking.

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Exploring Mexico City in early 2020

A visioning session for a form-based code in Sunrise, Florida

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My story would not be complete without mentioning my six years as a senior designer at DPZ CoDesign. What a great experience to work for a company that you followed and admired for so many years! Here I am (lower right) with my colleagues and my beloved Cosmo who accompanied me to work every day.

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