Archive for the ‘Land Use’ Category

March 18 2014

The Reasoning Behind the Washington, D.C. Height Act

March 18th, 2014Posted by 

There is a piece of local lore circulating around Washington, D.C., attempting to explain why the city is so short. The myth claims that developers have been prevented from building up because it is inscribed somewhere that the Washington Monument and US Capitol must be the tallest structures in the city. However, the real reasoning […]

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March 14 2014

“Hatches, Matches, and Dispatches” Building of Kenya Continues to Stand

March 14th, 2014Posted by 

A city may start as a few shops, a road junction or even a railway station. The City of Nairobi is no exception. Starting as a railway headquarters in a swampy area, it has grown to a huge cosmopolitan concrete jungle. The historical growth and initial urban design of the city can be appreciated through […]

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March 13 2014

Former Factories Receive a Second Life in Waterloo, Ontario

March 13th, 2014Posted by 

When we think of old buildings, images of dilapidated, abandoned structures come to mind. Often, for the sake of progress, old buildings are demolished, and a part of the city’s history turns to dust. However, in the city of Waterloo, Ontario, some old buildings are given a new lease of life through the practice of […]

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March 12 2014

The Economics of Gentrification in Washington, D.C.

March 12th, 2014Posted by 

This past decade has seen Washington, DC host one of the most rapid transformations in the United States. Once a city in decline, known for crime and plagued by disinvestment and poor governance, a quick look at the District’s skyline will tell you that much of that is no longer the case. With forty-seven cranes […]

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March 12 2014

Industrial Mills of Jones Falls Redeveloped for a New Baltimore

March 12th, 2014Posted by 

My previous blog discussed the chronic undercrowding in the City of Baltimore and the current plans to reverse it by charming homebuyers with reduced property tax rates. The City has also been charming developers of the once abandoned stone mills clustered around Jones Falls. The lure is still tax related, but this time in the […]

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March 10 2014

Book Review: ‘Rebel Cities’ by David Harvey

March 10th, 2014Posted by 

David Harvey is unabashedly political in his book Rebel Cities, published in 2012. He roots urban planning firmly in the realm of human rights and draws a distinct ‘line in the sand’ between cities which honor the rights of its citizens and those which have been ‘bought out’ by greater powers.   “The results of […]

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March 05 2014

Is Legal Marijuana a Problem for Urban Planners?

March 5th, 2014Posted by 

On November 6th, 2012, the state of Colorado became one of just two U.S. states to legalize the recreational sale of marijuana with the passing of Amendment 64. The first stores to sell marijuana legally officially opened for business on January 1st, 2014. According to an e-mail from a City of Denver spokesperson, there are currently thirty-seven […]

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March 05 2014

The Great Local vs. Chain Store Debate, as seen from Somerville, MA

March 5th, 2014Posted by 

It’s Sunday morning in Union Square, Somerville, located some twenty minutes by bus from downtown Boston. Should I get breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts, or at Union Square Donuts, which has hazelnut donuts? Should I get groceries at Target, or at Capone, a local deli? Should I get my prescription filled at Rite Aid or at….then […]

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February 28 2014

Nairobi’s Informal Urban Markets Threatened

February 28th, 2014Posted by 

The marketplace is important for any society. People buy goods they need and traders earn their daily bread. The City of Nairobi has recently seen development of large shopping malls. Targeting the upper and middle classes, they have classy restaurants, large supermarkets and secure parking. The recent increase in road and highway construction, together with […]

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February 28 2014

The Irish Aversion to High-Rises and How Dublin is Dealing with Urban Sprawl

February 28th, 2014Posted by 

Urban sprawl in Dublin can be attributed to the hostility to high-rise living felt by many people in Ireland. The demand for homes is there, but it is not being met with apartments for two main reasons. Firstly, a majority of Dubliners don’t want to see high-rise buildings in the city. Dublin City Council recently […]

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February 27 2014

Seattle’s Issaquah Highlands Redefines the Term “Village”

February 27th, 2014Posted by 

About twenty miles East of Seattle, a suburban area called the Issaquah Highlands, is now referring to itself as a “village.” Hillside residents are excited by the transformation. It infuses new retail, parks, and homes with front porches rather than dominating driveways. Architecture and streetscape design is more focused on people, and cars don’t dictate the […]

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February 26 2014

Consortium of Developers Wins Urban Boundary Dispute in Waterloo, Ontario

February 26th, 2014Posted by 

The Region of Waterloo, a regional municipality located in Southern Ontario, created an Official Plan that sets growth and density targets over the next twenty years. With the goal of intensification, the region limited urban boundary expansions to only seventy to eighty-five hectares from 2011 to 2031. In response, a consortium of developers took the […]

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February 20 2014

Funding a Revolution: The Rise of Fabricated Housing in Kansas City, Missouri

February 20th, 2014Posted by 

Due to higher efficiency and better performances of factory production and assembly lines, manufactured homes are increasingly becoming more popular due to affordability in urban design and housing contexts. Local organizations such as the Legal Aid of Western Missouri, are exploring the option of building manufactured homes on lots in the area as part of their Economic Development […]

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February 18 2014

In Arizona, Smart Growth Means the Need for Smart Transportation

February 18th, 2014Posted by 

Since the 1960’s, Arizona has led the country in growth, remaining one of the top three states with the highest population and employment growth rates. However, when the housing market crashed in 2007, growth slowed tremendously, giving the state an opportunity to reflect on how it handled the last fifty years. As of 2011, 129,780 […]

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February 14 2014

How Walkable is Nairobi’s Central Business District?

February 14th, 2014Posted by 

Are you comfortable walking in your city? After parking your car or getting off a bus, do you agonize at the fact that you must take a walk through crowded streets to your destination? ‘Walkability’ is not discussed frequently in African cities. However, the ever rising urban population and increased human traffic is raising questions […]

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February 13 2014

Should Seattle Be Worried About Affordability?

February 13th, 2014Posted by 

Compared to some of its counterparts, Seattle is not terribly expensive. But as population quickly grows, decision makers will have to grapple with affordability. Recently elected Councilwoman Kshama Sawant made rent control a staple of her campaign. Others believe relaxing planning rules so developers can build is the best remedy. The enigma of affordability plagues […]

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February 10 2014

Why Dallas, Texas is the USA’s Worst City for Cycling

February 10th, 2014Posted by 

In 2012, Bicycling Magazine named Dallas, Texas the worst city for cycling for the second time. The lowest percentage of cyclists in the country and the lack of a single bike lane played a major role in the decision, but the title was given in great part because of the city’s failure to follow up […]

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February 05 2014

Horrible Historic Preservation in 3 Easy Steps

February 5th, 2014Posted by 

Historic preservation has come a long way from the protesters in front of the old Penn Station in New York, and today it also focuses on issues such as placemaking and the revitalization of neglected buildings and neighborhoods. However, when it is done badly, historic preservation can hinder development and even unintentionally destroy what it […]

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January 31 2014

Outdoor Advertising: A Right or Privilege in Nairobi?

January 31st, 2014Posted by 

The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is one of the most iconic buildings in Nairobi and literally defines the capital city’s skyline. Completed in 1973, it is a stunning 105-meter mega structure of twenty-eight floors. It has a helipad on its roof and a revolving restaurant on the top floor. Its unique shape and towering […]

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January 28 2014

Large Venue Events Spur Controversy in Buenos Aires

January 28th, 2014Posted by 

One of the most appealing facets of Buenos Aires is the variety of cultural offerings that the city enjoys: concerts by international artists, museums, theatre, musicals, sport matches, jazz festivals, you name it. However, there is something curious about the built environment in which those activities take place. In most of Latin America, spaces for […]

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