Author Archive

January 01 2014

A Farewell to The Grid, from Sunny Menozzi

January 1st, 2014Posted by 

Throughout the past year, I have lived in Honolulu, Hawaii; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Astana, Kazakhstan; and Boston, Massachusetts, all at varying distances from my native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Writing for The Grid during this exciting time was a great opportunity that empowered me to be an explorer of these cities. The Grid’s bloggers offer local insights […]

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December 18 2013

The Role of Beauty in Infrastructure: Kazakhstan’s Almaty Metro Inspires

December 18th, 2013Posted by 

I recently rode the Almaty Metro, in Kazakhstan, at present a single-line subway that opened in 2011 after being under construction since the late days of the Soviet Union. Exiting at Almaly station, I was captivated by a stained-glass mural, which led me to contemplate the role of beauty in infrastructure–specifically in American subway station […]

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December 04 2013

“Recent Waterscapes: Planning, Building, and Designing with Water” Book Review

December 4th, 2013Posted by 

Recent Waterscapes: Planning, Building, and Designing with Water edited by Herbert Dreiseitl and Dieter Grau provides a comprehensive overview of innovative water-related projects throughout the world. The editors argue: “Coping with ever greater amounts of stormwater run-off from increased urbanization and fierce heavy downpours does not mean endlessly multiplying the number and capacity of technical […]

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November 20 2013

Homeowners’ Associations: Friend or Foe of Aesthetic Diversity?

November 20th, 2013Posted by 

While in Almaty, Kazakhstan, I observed apartment-dwellers’ eclectic modifications to their balconies. As these extended from otherwise homogeneous Soviet-period apartments, I noted how this eccentricity contributed to the distinctive character of Almaty’s cityscape.                             In the United States, condominium and home owners’ […]

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November 06 2013

Pockets, Promenades, and Pyramids: Park Design in Astana, Kazakhstan

November 6th, 2013Posted by 

Three of Astana’s parks form a linear greenway: Astana Park, the Esil River promenade, and the park of the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. The uses of these parks are distinct functions of these parks’ designs and features. Collectively, these parks demonstrate how park design might encourage or discourage specific uses. Astana Park’s paths are, […]

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October 23 2013

Dear, Old, Dilapidated Places: Communal Relics that Connect Citizens

October 23rd, 2013Posted by 

The din of construction equipment echoes from sunrise to sundown in Astana – the cityscape itself remains under construction; commercial, civic, and institutional projects abound. As this Kazakh city evolves, what role should aged places play? In the final decade of the last century, Astana, formerly known as Akmola, Tselinograd, and Akmolinsk, became Kazakhstan’s capital. […]

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October 09 2013

Cycle Planning in Astana, Kazakhstan: With A Little Help from the Dutch

October 9th, 2013Posted by 

A cyclist biking in Astana, Kazakhstan The Dutch Embassy in Astana hosted “Dutch Week in Astana 2013” in mid-June. Through this annual event, the embassy aims to share Dutch culture with Astana’s residents and to raise awareness of Dutch contributions to Kazakhstan’s development. The most notable event was a bicycle ride. Through the Dutch Cycling […]

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September 25 2013

Expo 2017: “Energy for the Future” to be Held in Astana, Kazakhstan

September 25th, 2013Posted by 

Kazakhstan, a country with extensive oil and natural gas reserves, will hold an international exposition on sustainable energy in 2017. Expo 2017  - “Energy for the Future” is one of the international expositions regulated by the International Exhibitions Bureau. Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, bested Liege, Belgium in the 2012 bid to hold Expo 2017. Each city […]

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September 11 2013

The Legacy of Soviet Architects and Planners in Astana, Kazakhstan

September 11th, 2013Posted by 

Though Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa designed and planned Astana, Soviet theories on architecture, planning, and urbanism continue to shape the city’s built environment. A monumental, central axis and monolithic high-rise apartment blocks are legacies of Soviet architects and planners.  This aforementioned monumental axis dominates Astana’s layout. Buildings of civic and commercial importance are sequentially organized […]

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August 28 2013

Is Astana, Kazakhstan Pedestrian Friendly?

August 28th, 2013Posted by 

Pedestrian safety is one of the main determinants for walkabilty. Astana’s government has incorporated pedestrian-friendly mechanisms into the city’s transportation network. On Turan Avenue for example, with the push of a button, pedestrians can instantaneously stop traffic barrelling down the four-lane thoroughfare. Displays appear and count the number of seconds that pedestrians have to cross. […]

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August 14 2013

Shopping Malls as Primary Civic Spaces in Astana, Kazakhstan

August 14th, 2013Posted by 

Shopaholics from afar will not be disappointed by the plethora of malls in Astana, Kazakhstan. Leisure-oriented venues – Mega, Asia Park, Keruen, Sary Arka, and, of course, Khan Shatyr – boast countless stores, numerous cineplexes, restaurants, and cafes. While these commercial establishments are well appointed, further elaboration on their ample amenities would be superfluous. The role that Astana’s malls play in the city’s […]

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July 31 2013

Will Daring Architecture Produce Monotony in Astana?

July 31st, 2013Posted by 

Astana has a predilection for post-modern, avant-garde architecture. The construction of wildly creative, contemporary architecture in Dubai and Tokyo cemented these cities’ reputations as modern urban centers. Likewise, Astana will be “the Dubai of Central Asia,” according to Kazakhstan’s government, a bastion of modernity in a region that tends toward the traditional.  This penchant for […]

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July 17 2013

Streets on the Steppe

July 17th, 2013Posted by 

From late May until early September, the weather warms and the light of the day seems endless in Astana (presently, the sun graces the sky until nearly 10 pm). During these halcyon months fishermen, swimmers, and boaters dot the Esil River and families and young couples alike delight in strolls about the city’s parklands. However, […]

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July 03 2013

Astana, Kazakhstan: Metabolism and the Symbiosis of the Built and Natural Environments

July 3rd, 2013Posted by 

To sunder Kazakhstan’s Soviet legacy from the nation’s hopes for the coming century, President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the national government said farewell to Almaty and established a new capital in 1997. In 1998, the government invited planners and architects to compete to design Astana, the new city. Kisho Kurokawa, a renowned Japanese architect, won the […]

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June 19 2013

Astana, Kazakhstan’s Heyday is yet to Come, so What Should it Learn from a Nineteenth Century City?

June 19th, 2013Posted by 

Most of Astana’s residents live in high-rise apartments, like those pictured above. Astana, Kazakhstan. In Cities of Tomorrow, Sir Peter Hall writes, “Stockholm in 1950 still looked and felt like a small city: a metropolitan area, including suburbs, of only about one million people, in which a 20-minute walk from the center would bring a […]

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June 05 2013

The Indispensable Greenery of Astana, Kazakhstan

June 5th, 2013Posted by 

Astana, Kazakhstan. Astana’s extensive greenery contrasts sharply with its backdrop, the Kazakh steppe, an expansive plain characterized by whipping winds and extreme seasonal temperature fluctuations. In the winter, temperatures plummet to -45, while in summer, temperatures rise to 99 degrees Fahrenheit! Astana’s parks and recreational spaces, landscaped institutional and civic commons, and tree-lined thoroughfares are practical […]

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May 22 2013

When Student Renters Crowd Out Homeowners

May 22nd, 2013Posted by 

Home to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Museums and Library, Phipps Conservatory, and the expansive Schenley Park, Oakland, a neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a product of the City Beautiful movement. It is a center of knowledge, art, and culture, enriched by its civic spaces and ample greenery. The University of […]

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May 08 2013

Washington, DC: Who are the Developers Competing to Repurpose Walter Reed?

May 8th, 2013Posted by 

Located in northern Washington, DC, to the east of Rock Creek Park and south of Silver Spring, Maryland, Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), once redeveloped, will fuse new commercial establishments and residences into a community of established residential neighborhoods. The Department of State will retain the smaller portion of the 113-acre WRAMC campus, while […]

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April 24 2013

The Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina: Preserved or At Risk?

April 24th, 2013Posted by 

Why is the Village of Pinehurst Important? Pinehurst was and is: A convalescent resort built for New Englanders in Moore County by American Soda Fountain Company magnate James W. Tufts; A New-England-style village and recreational resort, planned and landscaped by landscape architecture pioneers Fredrick Law Olmsted and Warren H. Manning, that would court those in […]

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April 10 2013

A Makeover for a Lively, But Car-Dependent Shopping Center

April 10th, 2013Posted by 

Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fayetteville’s forward-looking, 2030 draft “Growth Vision” imagines the city’s evolution: the sprawling, car-dependent home to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base – characterized by its bedroom communities, “big box” stores, and chain restaurants – will grow into a city of walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Is this feasible? Perhaps. The Expansive Cross Creek […]

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