November 27 2013

Boston: The Importance of Not Being Just a “Fair-Weather” City

November 27th, 2013Posted by 

People who live in and visit the Boston area are spoiled for public spaces, for places to enjoy nature, to play, relax, read, picnic, and engage with others. The city’s streets abound with quirky street festivals, public libraries, and dogs and children playing with Frisbees along the esplanade of the Charles River. Yet how many […]

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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 13 2013

Lima’s Central Market: Noisy Chaos or Colorful Streetscape?

November 13th, 2013Posted by 

Where is it possible to find a genuine milliner, a hat-maker capable of producing a newsboy cap, a straw fedora, a bowler hat, and a felt cloche hat? In the same place where thousands of people in Lima, Peru, visit every day to get household necessities, silver balloons, food, crocheted doilies, clothes, folk medicine, and […]

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November 04 2013

Above the Freeway, Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park Celebrates One Year

November 4th, 2013Posted by 

Texas is full of clichés. From “Everything’s bigger in…” to the familiar cowboy caricature, Texas is synonymous with a culture that characteristically ostentatious and southern. Maybe more than any of the state’s other major destinations, Dallas carries the consequence of an epic television show of the same name – glamorizing the state’s many eccentricities through […]

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October 11 2013

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s ArtPrize Invites Commentary on Public Space and the Built Environment

October 11th, 2013Posted by 

This year, Grand Rapids is celebrating the fifth year of their revolutionary art competition, ArtPrize. Since the fall of 2009, ArtPrize has taken over downtown Grand Rapids and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world to the West Michigan city. The premise: any business within the ArtPrize district downtown can become […]

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September 23 2013

Greek Nationalist Party Chrisi Avgi Jeopardizing Public Spaces

September 23rd, 2013Posted by 

We have become accustomed to pop-up interventions in the public realm that reveal the countless  innovative ways citizens  (sometimes along with architects or urban planners) can transform open spaces, even for short periods of time. Nevertheless, not all “pop-up” interventions have the same effects. It’s been five years since the economic crisis broke out in […]

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September 05 2013

Pedestrianization and Popups Expand Downtown Oakland Business Opportunities

September 5th, 2013Posted by 

The temporary pedestrian plaza, Latham Square, had an introductory opening at Telegraph Avenue and Broadway on August 16, 2013, with a Grand Opening targeted for September and the permanent revisions to be completed in 2014. After months of community outreach, numerous local stakeholder meetings, a public design forum and study of area traffic, the pilot […]

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September 04 2013

The 2013 Top 10 Websites For City Builders – With Coverage of the Top 20

September 4th, 2013Posted by 

Shortly after posting our last Top 20 list, Brent Toderian, an engaged Twitter follower and professional urban planner, suggested we compile a list of websites for “multidisciplinary urbanists / city-builders.” To make a slightly longer story short, we took his idea to heart and created this new list. We gathered every relevant site, none of […]

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June 24 2013

Summer in Montréal, Canada: My Living Room Just Got a Whole Lot Bigger

June 24th, 2013Posted by 

I decided to take this blog post, my last for The Grid, to the field, literally and metaphorically. I am sitting in Parc Laurier, a park close to my home in Montréal’s Plateau neighbourhood. I have gone back to basics, pen and paper in hand. I sit under a tree observing the park and its […]

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May 20 2013

Successful Public Space: The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in Minnesota Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

May 20th, 2013Posted by 

“Great public spaces are where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges take place, friends run into each other, and cultures mix. They are the “front porches” of our public institutions – libraries, field houses, neighborhood schools – where we interact with each other and government. When the spaces work well, they serve as a […]

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May 13 2013

Combining Public Art and Infrastructure: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s Bike Racks

May 13th, 2013Posted by 

Combining infrastructure and public art is something I’m passionate about. It just seems so obvious, both aesthetically and financially, to combine the two harmoniously. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has accomplished just that. Coeur d’Alene (“KOR-duh-LANE”) Idaho is about a forty-five-minute drive East on I-90 from Spokane, Washington. The two cities and their suburbs are considered the same metro area […]

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March 15 2013

Seattle’s New Front Porch: The Redevelopment of the Waterfront

March 15th, 2013Posted by 

Historically, port cities located their industrial zones near the waterfront for the convenience of transporting goods. Often times, highways or railroads were later constructed near the industrial waterfront. But as contemporary manufacturing and shipping processes are significantly more efficient and require less space (since transportation moved from bulk to shipping containers), these port cities are […]

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March 01 2013

Lessons of Observation: What William H. Whyte Would Say

March 1st, 2013Posted by 

We’ve all seen empty public spaces before. So what makes some urban spaces fail while others succeed? William H. Whyte, author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980), conducted pioneering studies on human behavior in urban plazas by using direct observation and time-lapsed photography. His intuitive analytical approaches to the research provided obvious […]

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February 21 2013

Democratizing Urban Design: A Public Square for Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia

February 21st, 2013Posted by 

Vancouver, British Columbia can only be described as picturesque; mountain framed and seaside, the city begs to be photographed and experienced by tourists and locals alike. Along with the gorgeous scenery and temperate climate has arisen a high demand for real estate in the downtown peninsula, which has gradually resulted in a real lack of […]

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February 07 2013

Taking to the Street: Redefining Public Space in Vancouver, British Columbia

February 7th, 2013Posted by 

How can city streets be better used to create a sense of community and engage locals in conversations about public space? That’s the question that The Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN), a grassroots organization focused on public space issues, sought to explore during their four week “Lunch Meet Series” last summer. Each Thursday during July 2012 […]

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October 24 2012

(The GRID Blogger) Courtney McLaughlin: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

October 24th, 2012Posted by 

A big Global Site Plans welcome to our newest blogger, Courtney McLaughlin from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Courtney McLaughlin is completing her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. An avid traveler, her interests are public space modification in Canadian cities and sustainable urban planning. As an aspiring landscape […]

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September 15 2012

Lively Streets in Istanbul, Turkey

September 15th, 2012Posted by 

Talking about daily Turkish life, streets play a vital role in the traditional setting: Children plays games on the streets; elderly people sit on the sidewalks and spend time talking to each other; women enjoy the most juicy gossip while knitting or cracking sunflower seeds between their teeth, etc. This picture might be portrayed in […]

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April 18 2012

Current Debates Over the Planning of Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey

April 18th, 2012Posted by 

Taksim Square, in Istanbul, Turkey, is one of the liveliest public spaces in the city. It was a part of the modernization project of the newly-formed republic in the late 1930s. Like many other parts of the city, it was based on the plans of Henri Prost, the prominent representative of the French school of […]

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April 13 2012

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design in New York City, New York

April 13th, 2012Posted by 

We’ve all had the experience of peacefully strolling along a city street at night, enjoying the scene around us. We’ve also had the experience of walking somewhere after dark where we feel unsafe, and hurrying to reach our destination. But what is it exactly that creates this dichotomy of experience? The urban planning theory of […]

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March 05 2012

Madrid Rio: An Exemplar in Great Urban Public Space

March 5th, 2012Posted by 

Imagine taking one of the busiest highways in your city, sinking it underground, and replacing it with a dynamic urban park that caters to residents of all ages and backgrounds. Now imagine designing and building this feat of engineering in less than a decade. While most cities would find this task impossible to complete (ask […]

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