Mark Hinshaw

Mark Hinshaw is a retired architect and city planner who lived in Seattle for more than 40 years. For 12 years he had a regular column on architecture for The Seattle Times and later was a frequent contributor to Crosscut. He now lives in a small hill town in Italy.

Italian Lessons: Sociability versus Efficiency

I was given a prescription by the surgeon to address the recovery process. One day, there was a knock on the door, which I answered it in my pajamas and robe. It was the local pharmacist, asking if I needed any refills. I had never imagined a pharmacist making house calls.

An Unexpected Kindness

In our little Italian village, an extended construction project across the street turns into an opportunity for unexpected kindness.

A Kinder, Gentler High School?

The secondary school system in Italy, not unlike some other European countries, offers options to students when they are about to enter high school. Eventually attending a university and making a plan to do so is one option. But there is another, equally good one. That is to enter a high school that specializes in specific talents and skills. There are a several types. They include technical, pre-professional, and cultural tracks. 

With a Little Help From our Friends…

We had to learn how to live all over again – where to shop, where to find things, where to go when we had a problem, who to ask our questions – but learn we did. 

Venice is Back in Business. Sort of

Along with this diaspora of ordinary working families went most of the local shops and cafes. Long gone are the little shops carrying clothing and jewelry made in an adjacent room. Also gone are the small, quirky galleries selling authentic works of hand-blown Murano glass. They have been replaced by shops carrying mass-produced tchotchkes for tourists who want souvenirs to cram into their carry-on bags. 

Cats as Traffic-Calming Devices

No one wants to be blamed for harming a cat aleeping in the lane. Drivers really pay attention and watch the road. After four years, I know now all the cats by sight. I have not noticed any missing

The Perils of Being an Electric Car Pioneer

A German company that supplies charging posts recently conducted a survey of car buyers and found that at least 30 percent were very skeptical of electric cars. The greatest fear was being stuck somewhere with a car that cannot move.

Lessons From Amsterdam: Reclaiming Your City

If an objective is to tip the scales in favor of local interests and away from international ones, then some control on the type and location of outside investment is going to be necessary. Limiting the location and number of airbnbs owned by a single person or company is one method.

So You Want to Visit Italy (Or Better Yet, Move There). Here’s How

First, let’s clear up a couple of common misconceptions. Anyone can buy property in Italy; one does not need to be a citizen or even a legal resident. However, without a specific visa, one is limited to staying a maximum of 90 days in a 180 period.

Eataly — When Even Italy is trying to Fake Italy

Already Eataly has outlets in 37 major cities around the world, and the American invasion (New York, Chicago, Boston, Vegas, Dallas, Hollywood) is under way, providing merchandise, food, takeout, delivery, classes, and spectacle. Among the various ideas floated for the empty ground floor of Seattle's downtown Macy's: an Eataly.