Author Archive

December 28 2012

Goodbye, Netherlands; Farewell, The GRID

December 28th, 2012Posted by 

Completing my semester-long stint in the Netherlands also means saying goodbye to The Grid. Writing here has helped me to navigate and distill the sometimes-complicated experience of living and participating in a new social and urban context; for this I am grateful. A blog can be a sounding board for a writer, an opportunity to […]

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December 14 2012

Scaling the Randstad: Walkable, Dense, Connected Cities

December 14th, 2012Posted by 

After living the majority of my life in the United States, specifically, in the expansive state of Texas, there are two aspect of cities that I’ve had to reconcile when considering various urban processes here in The Netherlands: scale and time. Scale because things are close and accessible here. The hour-long drive I would sometimes […]

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November 30 2012

How Does Shared Space Work? Integrating Biking, Driving, Walking, and Playing

November 30th, 2012Posted by 

The small town of Haren, located in the northern Netherlands, was recently launched into (inter)national fame when a Project X party catalyzed riots and vandalism by partygoers; however, I first knew the place for its well-known, but similarly contentious woonerf (pl. woonerven). A Dutch approach to the more commonly known term “shared space,” woonerven are […]

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November 16 2012

Infrastructure for the Elderly: Learning from the Netherlands’ Aging Population

November 16th, 2012Posted by 

Unlike other countries, the Netherlands appears to be on track to support it’s growing elderly population financially; however, as in many places with historical infrastructure, a big question is whether or not the built environment suites the needs for traditionally differently-abled populations. Newer cities with more modern designs are more likely to accommodate access for […]

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November 02 2012

Historical GIS: Using Modern Methods to Unearth the Past

November 2nd, 2012Posted by 

The concept of Historical GIS (HISGIS), the geocoding (and often digitizing) of spatial historical data for visualization or analysis, has existed for at least a decade. One of the most simple but effective examples that I know of is UCLA’s Hypercities project. Another is Welikia. Both have superimposed historical maps onto a Google-type current map […]

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October 19 2012

The Way the Dutch Do it: 8 Ways The Netherlands Makes Biking Easier

October 19th, 2012Posted by 

From the urban planning viewpoint, Amsterdam is even more synonymous with urban biking than it is with legal soft drugs. The prior contributes to making the city more livable, the latter to attracting plenty of tourists. In such densities found in The Netherlands, cycling lowers car traffic, reduces pollution from automobiles; when done right, it […]

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October 05 2012

Working with the Tide: Amsterdam’s Battle Against Rising Sea Levels

October 5th, 2012Posted by 

While the Netherlands boasts some of the greenest urban environments, it is important to remember the local relationship between then landscape and its inhabitants over the past 2,000 years. For generations upon generations, the soil, sea, and sand have been manipulated in response to the needs of a growing society. Perhaps the most poignant statement […]

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September 21 2012

The Shipping Container Life: Temporary Uses in The Netherlands

September 21st, 2012Posted by 

Although experiencing the great need for temporary adaptive reuse projects in Phoenix, Arizona, I might say that I didn’t expect The Netherlands to require such measures to activate their urban spaces. I’ve been living in one example of temporary use: a shipping container apartment complex. It may be obvious to some, but the benefit of […]

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September 07 2012

Designing for Play: Children in the Public Realm

September 7th, 2012Posted by 

Amsterdam is one of those places I fell in love with before I ever visited. Architect Aldo van Eyck is the primary reason behind this. WWII left the city devastated with bomb-demolished buildings on many blocks, and the newly brandished professional’s first assignment was to begin designing neighborhood playgrounds – some in place of leveled […]

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August 24 2012

Reducing Urban Stressors through Design: Nature in Amsterdam

August 24th, 2012Posted by 

Moving from a low-density neighborhood afforded by a desert city to the compact built environment of Amsterdam mandates more of a mental and physical shift than I initially expected. For me, being around people is a positive experience. Hearing a neighbor’s shower turn on or door close can even be comforting: others are alive and well; however, living in […]

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August 10 2012

Canal Oriented Development in Heritage Planning: Phoenix & Amsterdam

August 10th, 2012Posted by 

After two years in Phoenix, Arizona I am moving to the very antithesis of the valley’s urbanity, climate, and culture: The Netherlands. Phoenix, a place known for heat and sprawl, also houses a fairly transient population. As a student, I played my part; as an urban planner I explored the many homogeneous, place-less corners and […]

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July 27 2012

Community Space to Cultural Space: Latino Urbanism and the Transformation of the Built Environment

July 27th, 2012Posted by 

As described by James Rojas, Latino Urbanism, found in many first and second-generation immigrant communities throughout the United States, can be defined by both the social and built characteristics of a neighborhood, such as: Practice of street vending; Home design where the font yard is used as a courtyard; Fences that act as points of […]

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July 13 2012

Insert Park [Here]: Vacant Lots for the Public in Phoenix, Arizona

July 13th, 2012Posted by 

The city best known for sprawl is also combating another problem: downtown vacant lots. In Phoenix, Arizona conventional methods of attracting developers just aren’t cutting it with little financing to support any major projects. In response, a grassroots, tactical urbanism approach has emerged among citizen groups redefining urban planning. The Roosevelt Row CDC is exploring […]

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