September 29 2014

A Visual Typology: A Modern Face-Lift To San Francisco’s Victorian Homes

Take a walk with me. We are walking up a San Francisco street so steep you think it might be easier to crawl. You feel that if you were to extend your arms straight out you could touch the very ground you tread. Feel your calves burning? Good, now look up. Look at the homes lining the street. Rows of Victorian style homes are filed together almost resembling an untouched, tightly packed bookshelf. The architectural style is Victorian through and through. Over-the-top decorative trim, columns, turrets, bay windows, and shingles give the houses the feel of glorified, human-scaled dollhouse. Questionable color choices have been made: deep purples, lime greens, and pale yellows, with highligh[...]
September 29 2014

Time for Nairobi, Kenya to Manage its Urban Freight or Face Transportation Woes

Population growth in cities comes with a increased demand for goods. These goods need to be transported to get to their consumers. The movement of these goods within the city is what we may call urban freight. The developing world has put little consideration into the management of urban freight within its urban planning frameworks. Most cities deal with urban freight as part of the rest of the vehicular transport. In cities like Nairobi, Kenya, urban freight that contributes to daily traffic includes garbage trucks, construction material trucks, and delivery vans and motorcycles. Hand carts and cyclists are also popular because of the large [...]
September 29 2014

Paris, France Aims for Bicycle Trips to Account for 15% of Transport by 2020

More parking spaces for bikes, new bike paths on the main roadways, widespread 30km/h zones, and possibly wider bicycle paths or even banning automobile traffic surrounding markets; these are some of the measures included in the Parisian local government's new “bike plan.” The plan, which should be finalized at the beginning of December after a period of discussion, was presented during a meeting of the “bicycle committee” of Paris’ 11th arrondissement, in the arrondissement’s city hall on September 16 by a publicly-employed engineer. “We are still in the stage of thinking about the major principles,” indicates this municipal employee. All the same[...]
September 26 2014

#IAMTHEGRID: Two Years Later Jordan Rockerbie Reflects from Montreal, Canada

“Globally diverse content” Jordan encapsulates The Grid in three words. Between June and December 2012 Jordan Rockerbie joined The Grid blogging team from Kelowna, British Columbia and Banff, Alberta, Canada. Now, almost two years later, he reflects on his 6 months with The Grid. He attributes some of his success and current attendance in McGill University’s urban planning program to The Grid. “I wanted to go into urban planning before starting with The Grid,” Jordan explains, “and my employer who helped me the most to get into McGill said specifically that he had Googled me and found my The Grid posts.” He recalls those early days with The Grid, wh[...]
September 26 2014

In Montreal, Bus Drivers Demand a Law Prohibiting Bicyclists in Protected Lanes

Exasperated by the presence of cyclists in the streets’ protected lanes, the bus drivers of Montreal denounce the “inaction” of police officers in a petition. They demand the creation of a law that expressly forbids bikers to ride in lanes reserved for buses during peak hours. Driver Jency Mercier, who works for the Transportation Society of Montreal (STM), is the creator of this petition. The first version, which counted 122 names, was given to the National Assembly last June, but a second version has been in circulation all summer and counts “several hundred” signatures, according to Ms. Mercier.  She worries equally about the safety of cyclists and bus passengers.  “[...]
September 26 2014

Bike Sharing Program in Ames, Iowa Loses Out on Funding

As bike sharing programs continue to proliferate in cities and college campuses across the US, Iowa State University is in the midst of creating its own bike share program to be integrated with the City of Ames. The university is utilizing student work to design the bike network, and has allocated a small amount of money to developing the program. However, the ISU student senate recently denied further funding, putting the project on hold and bringing into question whether or not Ames is ready for a bike share system. Bike share systems allow users to borrow a bike from a station and return it to another station at the end of their trip, making cycling a viable form of tran[...]
September 25 2014

Green Alleyways in the City-Center of Montreal, Quebec

The Ruelles Market is at the corner of the Peel Street, in an alleyway adjacent to the Sainte-Catherine Street. While their counterparts in residential neighborhoods are becoming greener and livelier, the alleyways of the city-centre are, on the contrary, nearly empty. They are less welcoming, very somber in the evenings, scorching during the dogdays of summer, and passersby, who by far prefer the busy sidewalks of the large arterials, leave them behind. At the moment, these asphalted sections therefore serve mainly as storage for the garbage of the merchants. In addition, with the increased densification in the area, the lack of public and green spaces is obvious. It's foll[...]
September 25 2014

New Bill Prioritizes Vehicles and Prevents Bike Lanes in Porto Alegre, Brazil

The emergence of new bike lanes in Porto Alegre might be restricted to city sidewalks, reducing the area for pedestrians. Bike lanes may only be implemented if the existing streets are extended, without taking space from cars, or reducing areas where vehicles can be parked. This might happen if the bill sponsored by John Carlos Nedel (PP), which began to be processed last week, is approved. The author of the bill emphasizes that it is in favor of bike lanes, but that the implementation should be preceded by planning so that there is more security for bikers, and so that space is only taken away from cars when there are other transportation alternatives. On the oth[...]
September 24 2014

Milan’s Public Transportation Initiatives Work to Move 10,000 Students Annually

When it comes to education, Milan is one of Italy's international student hubsBeing home to universities with high international ranks for fashion, design, engineering, and architecture, the city attracts more than 10,000 young people from countries all over the world every year. One of the most crucial issues when you are a student is transportation. Unless you're living on campus, or a few minutes away from your university, you need to have efficient methods for getting to class. Is Milan doing enough to provide a sustainable transportation system for its young international residents? This is the challenge for the Milanese Transport[...]
September 24 2014

Welcoming Community Involvement (and More) in Rennes, Brittany, France

On the first Wednesday of the new school year, some kids show their pride by rolling up their sleeves and working. -Could I use the wheelbarrow? -We have to lay down the soil without making holes. -Yes, but it’s hard. Fanny diplomatically explains the purpose of the work being done. -We are going to install a picnic table here. -With wood? -Yes, with wood! Who wants to help Charles make a bump for the bikes? -I want to. With our bikes we’ll be able to fly! Behind the construction site gates, the “Vegetal Labyrinth” transformed into a kindergarten. Melissa came because she was bored; Sofian, Atilla and his friends returned to their im[...]
September 24 2014

Omaha, Nebraska Encourages Citizens to Get Active Within Their Communities

The act of bicycling is a universally known means of transportation. However, biking serves different purposes for different people. Some cycle for competition, some for relaxation, and some to get to their job, to the store, or just about everywhere. Each day, cyclists and others who choose alternative means of transportation are forced to interact with each other. They must then come to an understanding of how to behave in order to ensure that the community moves safely and efficiently. Just like those who drive automobiles, cyclists need to have rules, guidelines, and infrastructure that ensure their safety - and that of others. Support from government, community, and[...]
September 23 2014

Research Reveals Solutions to Brazilian Public Transportation Issues

The increase in bus fare brings more headaches for the Brazilian citizen than electricity, water or telephone bills. This insight was revealed in unpublished research from NTU (National Association of Urban Transport) presented at the 2014 National Seminar. The Association surveyed 91 representatives from the transport sector, including opinion leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs, journalists, experts, parliamentarians, and representatives of municipal councils and academics. The survey asked, what solutions are there to the social demands for public transport? The many solutions proposed by the group of participants based on three central claims of Brazilians: Price, Qua[...]
September 23 2014

Limiting Cars & Transforming Brussels’ Saint-Lazare Square into an Esplanade

Saint-Lazare Square in Brussels, Belgium will soon become Esplanade Saint-Lazare. In July, the Saint-Josse commune submitted a request for an urban planning permit that would allow for the redevelopment of the area. This project has been in the works for several years under the “Meridien of Brussels” neighborhood contract. A master plan was requested to lay the groundwork for this project, which would reunify the Botanical Gardens of Brussels and rework the public space. The project would be under the same plan as the construction of the Silver Tower as well as the other expected developments in the neighborhood. After holding a competitio[...]
September 23 2014

Google Introduces Marseille, France’s Night and Sound Walks

An interview with Associate producer with Radio Grenouille Julie de Muer, the urban storyteller, filmed by Google Stories and Night Walk in Marseille: Julie de Muer's project is first of all radiophonic. Sound Walk first began a few years ago as the time for Marseille-Provence 2013 was approaching. Vincent Laganier (VL): How was the first sound walk born? Julie de Muer (JdM): Taking from the idea of the audio guide, a sound walk is a creation meant to be heard while walking. It was created specifically for this on-location hearing experience and proposes a journey of great nearness. It's the exploration of a landscape, from very close to far away, rather [...]
September 23 2014

TD Place, Ottawa: Stadium Serves as an Example for Not Building Parking

What is the appropriate number of on-site parking spots for a sports venue with a capacity of 24,000 seats? At TD Place in Ottawa, the answer is: hardly any at all. The newly renovated stadium is located in Lansdowne Park, a forty-acre site in the heart of the Glebe neighbourhood just south of downtown Ottawa. Lansdowne is embedded in a dense, thriving community of single-family dwellings, mid-rise apartments, and businesses. Residents across the city are drawn to the neighbourhood’s food and retail. But drawing in 24,000 people for a football game is a whole other monster. When the plans for TD Place were first proposed, local residents were worried. How could the Glebe possibly[...]
September 22 2014

“Autogeddon:” Is The Automobile Killing San Francisco’s Infrastructure?

Pedestrian and cyclist safety has always been a pressing issue in the San Francisco Bay Area, with injuries and fatalities currently reaching record highs. In this post, I would like to steer clear of contributing to my previous tirades about the lack of pedestrian safety in San Francisco, leaving that to my previous article addressing the topic. Instead, I would like to discuss the core of the problem regarding pedestrian and especially bicycle safety in cities; a lack in infrastructure. San Francisco may have slathered some paint here and there to indicate bike lanes, but the automobile continues to rule. Those who choose to walk or ride are often expected to succumb to[...]
September 22 2014

The View at High Tide: Normandy’s Mont Saint-Michel New Walkway and Pier

The high tides of September 2014 are an ideal opportunity to discover the new bridge built by Dietmar Feicthtinger Architects, which was opened to pedestrians in July. In several months, after the disappearance of the old causeway, the famous rocky island of Mont Saint-Michel will definitively recover its maritime character. On September 9th at 8:21 p.m., Mont Saint-Michel was an island. Due to the high tides, this mythic, rocky Norman island was surrounded again by water the next evening at 9:05 p.m. With tide heights reaching 113% and 115% of their average height, it is even easier to imagine the site’s near future, when it will recover its maritime nature, resulting in a mor[...]
September 19 2014

In Brussels, Belgium, the Demolition of an Overpass Will Give Neighborhood New Life

The decision was previously predicted and is now official: The Reyers overpass situated in Shaerbeek will be destroyed between now and 2015. Brussels Ministers came to the agreement this Thursday during their beginning-of-the-school-year meeting. And so in Brussels, a page turns for this badly-aged, forty year-old work of art. The Brussels-Capital Region can no longer finance its necessary renovation and upkeep. “For the safety and for the livability of the area, the demolition of the overpass is the best option,” explains Pascal Smet, Brussels’ Minister of Public Works and a member of the Socialist Party-Different (SP.A). He has announced tha[...]
September 19 2014

The Iconic Form of Montreal’s Plexes Wavers with Condominium Construction

Residents that walk the streets of Montreal, and visitors alike, are often drawn to the city’s architecture, particularly its iconic form of the plexes. These two to three story, flat-roofed residential buildings may take the form of duplexes (two units), triplexes (three units), or multiplexes (four to six units), and are most widely recognized for their outdoor metal staircases. Though a rich part of the city’s built environment, their dominance in the urban grid has shifted due to the increasing popularity and production of new condominium developments. A common building form in the late period of industrialization, duplexes and triplexes were originally constructed wi[...]
September 19 2014

The Ames, Iowa Economy in the Wake of VEISHEA Cancellation

The city of Ames, Iowa will be saying goodbye to VEISHEA, the largest student-organized festival in the United States, after a university task force declared its cancellation this past month. This festival’s importance to the city of Ames lies in its ability to draw in tens of thousands of visitors, thus stimulating the local economy. Now in the wake of its cancellation the Ames economy may suffer. VEISHEA was an annual celebration for Iowa State University (ISU) that lasted for one week each spring. Each letter in the name stands for one of the original colleges in the University: Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial S[...]
 

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