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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October 18 2013

Minneapolis’ Auto-Oriented Infrastructure Comes at A High Cost

October 18th, 2013Posted by 

Minneapolis traditionally has followed urban growth patterns similar to Manhattan’s strict grid system. However, in an urban planning effort to utilize the automobile, a system of freeways has been created over the past fifty years to support urban sprawl. Still, the question must be asked; besides the miles and emissions of our automobiles, what are the negative effects […]

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October 16 2013

Can Temporary Urban Gardens be the New Park(ing) in Milan, Italy?

October 16th, 2013Posted by 

Milan is facing a problem that has been a challenge for urban planning ever since the invasion of cars: the issue of parking spaces. Where and how many are questions that need answers in order to satisfy agglomerated cities all over the world. But nowadays, even too much parking can give rise to issues, and […]

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October 02 2013

Quadrilateral of Fashion: Milan’s Planning Design Shapes its Economic Districts

October 2nd, 2013Posted by 

Often called the ‘design heart’ of Italy, Milan is a city that provides a cultural and economical diversity which is reflected in the urban planning and layout of its districts, as well as in the events that take place during the year. Quadrilatero della Moda, also called Via Monte Napoleone, represents Milan’s fashion district, a […]

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September 26 2013

Farewell From Chicago: Andrew Kinaci Signing Off

September 26th, 2013Posted by 

It’s incredible to be writing my last post for The Grid, as it seems like my internship has just begun. The author from the Willis Tower Skydeck In my day job, I work for an energy affiliate of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, an urban sustainability think-and-do tank. I applied for this blogging position as […]

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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 18 2013

The Magic of Colonne di San Lorenzo in Milan, Italy

September 18th, 2013Posted by 

By day a piazza, by night an adventurous hangout; this is the transformation that as urban planners we attempt to provide within a city. But can this type of functionality emerge in places we least expect? Once the structure of a second century temple or public bath, the Colonne of San Lorenzo now represents a well-known […]

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September 05 2013

Sonoma County’s Mobile App Assisted Rideshare Program Shifts Into Second Gear

September 5th, 2013Posted by 

An innovative ridesharing program has taken hold in Sonoma County, California, as  WeGo Sonoma continues to utilize the real-time mobile rideshare app known as “Carma.” The app allows drivers and riders to post their planned and needed trips, and creates a system of payment so the cost of the trip is shared between both parties. Unlike services […]

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