January 02 2014

Planning Decision-Making in China Calls for More Accountability

January 2nd, 2014Posted by 

Recent incidents of shifting plans without notifying residents have triggered the Chinese society’s attention on planning issues. For example, a proposed apartment building plan was changed to a gas station in Zhuzhou, and an underground parking lot in Changsha became a market. Some experts have said that local government officials change the plans without a […]

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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 31 2013

Shrinking the Gap Between China’s First-Tier Cities and Other Cities

December 31st, 2013Posted by 

On December 18, 2013, Yi Peng, Director of the International Financial Seminar Urbanization Research Center hosted an online webinar to answer questions about China’s urbanization policies. During the webinar, Yi Peng pointed out that even though three of the biggest cities in China, which include Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, have accumulated very large populations, they […]

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December 26 2013

Civic Participation in Jinan, China’s Historic Preservation

December 26th, 2013Posted by 

A couple weeks ago, a series of photos were posted online that showed some historic buildings in the city of Jinan were under threat of demolition as a result of a construction site. The photos attracted a lot of comments on the Internet, and many people accused the developers of damaging the century-old buildings. The […]

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December 24 2013

Beijing Proposes to Increase Subway Ticket Price

December 24th, 2013Posted by 

Recently, the Beijing municipal government announced that its subway system would charge higher prices during peak hours. This policy will mark the end of a ¥2 (yuan) per day flat rate. 60% of Internet users were against this policy, saying that increasing the subway price would not solve the overcrowding problem during peak hours; instead, […]

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December 18 2013

Growing a Garden City: A Book Review on Duany’s Agrarian Urbanism

December 18th, 2013Posted by 

Is agriculture the new golf? Former skeptic Andres Duany says it very well could be. I was fortunate enough to hear Duany speak on his book, “Garden Cities: Theory & Practice of Agrarian Urbanism.” As usual, he didn’t disappoint with his energetic and blunt character that never needs a flashy presentation or pretty pictures to […]

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December 12 2013

Guangdong Province Sets up Ecological Control Boundary to Tackle Sprawl

December 12th, 2013Posted by 

On November 27, 2013 the Guangdong Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development held a training workshop on “Greenway Construction Management and Ecological Control Line Delineation.” The workshop aimed to instruct cities in the Guangdong Province on how to set up the ecological control boundary by the end of 2014, which is expected to serve […]

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December 09 2013

Pipeline Explosion Exposed Qingdao’s Shortsighted Urban Planning

December 9th, 2013Posted by 

“Was it a planning problem or a design problem? Was it a technical problem or a management problem? Was it a business enterprise issue or a governmental issue?” China State Administration of Work Safety Chief Secretary Yang Dongliang asked these questions at a press conference after Sinopec’s Donghuang oil pipeline explosion caused sixty-two deaths and […]

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December 05 2013

Beijing Includes Tourism Development in City’s Comprehensive Planning

December 5th, 2013Posted by 

Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development Officer Zhou Zhengyu said during a presentation at the city’s municipal congress conference that Beijing would include tourism development into the city’s comprehensive planning scheme, which includes land use, transportation, and infrastructure planning. Zhou Zhengyu said at the conference that Beijing would place tourism development into the overall urban […]

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November 27 2013

How Cities Come Alive: A Book Review of “Life Between Buildings”

November 27th, 2013Posted by 

People and buildings are connected – they have been and will continue to be so. Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space is a classic that applies substance and quantitative research to the field of urban planning. Jan Gehl, author of Cities for People, takes his analysis beyond urban design to talk about how public spaces […]

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November 26 2013

The Challenges of a Dutch Inclusive Neighborhood

November 26th, 2013Posted by 

The Netherlands has one of the most unique affordable housing programs in Europe. Affordable housing, which roughly translates to social housing (Sociale Huurwoningen) represents nearly 80% of the Dutch rental housing units. This portion accounts for about 33% of the current total housing stock. Affordable housing in The Netherlands is considered a right rather than […]

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November 21 2013

New and Improved: A Book Review for Charter of the New Urbanism, 2nd Edition

November 21st, 2013Posted by 

It might have been 14 years, but we have a Charter Book back in print again. The Congress for the New Urbanism has updated the classic book, long out of print, based on the CNU Charter that was signed in 1996. The Charter itself remains unchanged; this edition of the book simply advances the original principles […]

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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 12 2013

Hainan Province Establishes “Big Sanya Tourism Circle” to Integrate Regional Tourism Resources

November 12th, 2013Posted by 

Regional economic integration that creates synergy among neighboring cities has become a trendy economic development strategy in China. In Hainan Province’s tourism industry, this concept is turning into realization. On October 26th 2013, a special conference took place in the Sanya Hai Tang Wan Westin Hotel. Sanya, the southernmost city of Hainan Province and China, […]

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October 29 2013

Amsterdam-Noord: From an Abandoned Shipyard to Amsterdam’s Creative District

October 29th, 2013Posted by 

While waiting for the ferry at the wharf behind Amsterdam Central Station, the Eye Film Museum designed by the Viennese architectural firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects stands with its futuristic design as a landmark on the IJ Lake northern shore. A fifteen minute ride on a free ferry took me along the shore, to what is […]

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October 01 2013

Morocco’s New Cities Program Lacks Basic Service Accessibility

October 1st, 2013Posted by 

In 2004, development work was launched in the first site, Tamansourt, nearby Marrakech, of Morocco’s “Villes Nouvelles” (New Cities) program. By 2020, the program aims to create 15 cities evolving around the major country’s urban centers to host a total of 1,150,000 residents. With an investment of over $12 billion, this program had opened 5,000 […]

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September 19 2013

Santa Rosa Infill Project Falls Short of Expectations

September 19th, 2013Posted by 

The idea began with great intentions: tear down a blighted building in Santa Rosa’s underused Courthouse Square and replace it with a multi-story mixed-use tower. The building in question, an antiquated AT&T long-distance switching facility, is an architectural eyesore and a barrier to Santa Rosa’s potential to create a thriving downtown. However, three years and […]

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September 09 2013

Micro Actions, Macro Changes: A Review for “Handmade Urbanism: From Community Initiatives to Participatory Model”

September 9th, 2013Posted by 

During the last few years, there has been a significant shift of interest towards grassroots interventions in the urban realm. A book like Handmade Urbanism: From Community Initiatives to Participatory Model is not just a compilation of grassroots initiatives, but an effort to set the foundations of a theoretical discussion around grassroots-driven urbanism. This endeavor […]

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August 26 2013

Greek Beaches and Coasts Heading Towards Privatization?

August 26th, 2013Posted by 

There is always a critical question that I pose to myself whenever a guest from other parts of Greece or abroad happens to visit me here in Athens. A full three-day tour can easily cover a visit to the Acropolis and the important archaeological sites around it, as well as to the adjacent vibrant areas […]

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August 07 2013

Lake Tahoe: A Product of the 1960’s Winter Olympics

August 7th, 2013Posted by 

Although discovered by John C. Fremont in 1844, the area of Lake Tahoe was slow to develop mainly due to its harsh winters and alpine location. However, as more people came west due to the Gold Rush, Lake Tahoe slowly began to develop into a tourist destination, especially when silver was found nearby in Virginia […]

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