March 18 2014

Exploring the City: The Old Slaughterhouse of Thessaloniki, Greece

March 18th, 2014Posted by 

On February 17, 1896 was the year the first Olympic Games took place in Athens. After several long meetings, Thessaloniki’s city council decided to launch certain public projects for the improvement of the city’s infrastructure. Among them, the council proposed the demolition of the old slaughterhouse and the construction of a new one. That same year, […]

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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 07 2014

Kifissos & Ilissos Rivers: A Tale of Two Rivers in Athens, Greece

March 7th, 2014Posted by 

Imagine how different Athens, Greece would be, if there was a river, or two, complementing the urban environment. “But there is one!” some might say, there is Kifissos River, even though it may not be like the River Thames in London or the Seine, Paris. Kifissos River flows through the Athenian Basin. Various archaeological findings […]

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February 25 2014

Decentralizing Population Growth in Victoria: The Melbourne 2030 Plan

February 25th, 2014Posted by 

Like any thriving city in the western world, population growth and congestion is a major issue facing urban planners in Melbourne. Cities such as Melbourne have started to use generic plans to solve these issues. Furthermore, the city has a legacy to protect; in the past few years it was hailed as the most liveable city in the world. That […]

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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 03 2014

Building Community through Design: Toronto Design Offsite Festival

February 3rd, 2014Posted by 

Toronto has long been home to many Canadian designers, architects, and artists, but the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) has helped put them on center stage and fostered a public understanding and appreciation for great design. TO DO is an annual week-long independent design festival with a unique arrangement of exhibitions. Unlike the Interior Design Show, which is held […]

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January 20 2014

Toronto’s Planning Outpaces its Policy

January 20th, 2014Posted by 

In Scarborough, Toronto’s east end, a three-bedroom house will cost almost the same to buy as a two-bedroom condominium apartment. It isn’t difficult to guess which most home buyers might choose. Toronto’s Official Plan is to increase density in the city through mid-rise construction along designated avenues – arterial roads that could accommodate and become […]

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January 16 2014

Rethinking Placemaking: Book Review of “Urbanism Without Effort”

January 16th, 2014Posted by 

Ideas about cities are always changing, but the fundamentals of urban living stand the test of time. Urbanism Without Effort, written by Seattle native Chuck Wolfe, suggests that we consider the basics when faced with the complexities of planning cities. Using illustrations of various urban environments around the world, it articulates an idea that I have […]

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December 25 2013

A Farewell to The Grid from Alexandra Serbana

December 25th, 2013Posted by 

As my internship with The Grid is ending and the last month of the year 2013 goes by, I find myself standing at another one of life’s many crossroads. It is a bit ironic that the end of my blogging experience for Milan is due as I am about to leave the city that was […]

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December 19 2013

How Hidden Architectural History Shapes Seattle’s Downtown

December 19th, 2013Posted by 

Louis Sullivan famously stated “Form follows function.” One of the main functions of a downtown building should be to be usable to the public. In Seattle, this is done through privately-owned public spaces and architectural nuances. Sometimes this is obvious; but often the best public spaces are in hidden places. The Seattle Architecture Foundation leads […]

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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 05 2013

Planning Mixed-Income Communities: 5 Ways Yesler Terrace Does it Better

December 5th, 2013Posted by 

Can the barriers between people at different income levels be broken by simply having them live near each other? Seattle is attempting to answer this question through planned mixed-income communities. Yesler Terrace is a bold project operated by the Seattle Housing Authority. It aims at completely redefining the area, which happens to be the oldest public […]

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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 21 2013

Pike Place Market Was Almost A Hockey Arena

November 21st, 2013Posted by 

Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks, and is most favorable for tourist activity. While today no one doubts its importance and historic value, in the past planners had proposed to replace the market and revitalize the area with new development; even a hockey arena. Nowadays, it is difficult to think why such […]

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November 13 2013

Heated by Hard Drives: Urban Heating in Marne-La-Vallée, Seine-et-Marne, France

November 13th, 2013Posted by 

Until now, heat given off by data centers* was simply carried off into the air by means of various climate control systems. But in the past few years, inspired by Cherbourg, a city heated by seawater, initiatives for collecting and reusing of these calories have been established in order to provide heating for housing, offices, […]

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November 13 2013

One Univeristy, Two Differently Designed Campuses in Milan, Italy

November 13th, 2013Posted by 

The Polytechnic University of Milan is the oldest university of the city, and is also the largest technical university in Italy specialized in Engineering, Architecture, and Design. Founded in 1863, it has two main campuses in Milan where the majority of the research and teaching activity are located, and other satellite campuses in cities like Como, Piacenza, and Lecco. These two campuses are […]

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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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November 04 2013

Mega-Projects Explosion at Faliron Delta in Attica, Greece

November 4th, 2013Posted by 

The construction of the largest public cultural complex in Greece is currently being developed at an unabated pace at the Southern coastline of Attica next to Faliron Delta. Personally, I don’t remember a public project progressing faster since the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. This is because the project is fully granted by the Stavros […]

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October 30 2013

The Italian Rush: Does Noise Define the Milaneze Lifestyle?

October 30th, 2013Posted by 

Like all Italian cities, Milan is defined by its urban structure and habits of its citizens. As a resident of the city, it is easy to monitor the pattern of urban life. In the morning, side street bars are characterized by the rush of those drinking espresso before going to work, while the evening is driven […]

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