We all have to make tough decisions. When it comes to city planning, there’s no tougher decision to make than the modernization or preservation of historic culture. European cities, like Berlin, have mustered up the courage to dismantle their historic gas-powered lamps in an attempt to reduce energy output for their modernization efforts. On the other hand, cities like Edinburgh have creatively held onto both a modern and historically protected world without having either clash. Partnered with UNESCO, Scotland’s capital city showcases its urban planning marvels Old Tow[...]
Milan is rich in industrial history. A nearby site includes the former Innocenti factory, most notable for producing Lambretta Scooters in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The present service-oriented economy means that many old factory sites are claiming vast swaths of land, acting as holes in the urban fabric. Overcoming such obstacles is a contemporary theme in urban planning, and local participation should be encouraged in order to produce the best possible outcomes for these areas.The scene is familiar in Segrate, a small town just outside the eastern border of Milan. A new shopping mall from major retail developer Westfield Group is in the works for this industrial[...]
Miami has found its magic again. With the approval of Miami 21 in 2009, it accomplished an unprecedented feat and became the first major city to adopt a form-based code. With the motto, Your city, Your plan, Miami’s experiment is a solitary example of the importance of public support through outreach and marketing. Thanks to Miami 21, the city is emerging from a crippling recession in a stronger position than before. May 20th marks three years since its implementation. Miami 21 has improved several aspects of our[...]
Neighborland was born out of a street art project by Candy Chang, where nametag-like stickers reading “I wish this were a __________” invited the passerby to imagine possibilities for empty storefronts. The project generated onsite civic input for improving abandoned properties in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Today, Neighborland has grown into a website that helps democratize communities by allowing residents to voice what improvements they want in their city and where.
The site’s basic premise is a prompt: “I want ______ in New Orleans.” Users suggest bike lanes, pocket parks, retail centers and new food truck laws[...]
“There is growing concern for the issue of sustainability — whether the Earth's resources will be able to meet the demands of a growing human population that has rising aspirations for consumption and quality of life, while maintaining the rich diversity of the natural environment or biosphere.” – American Planning Association (APA)
Communities across the country continue to face the effects and challenges of a changing climate. As we move into the future, there is a pressing need to plan for these changes, and ensure that local, regional, and national efforts are coordinated. The need for community involvement in the planning process has never been greater. Comm[...]
In December 2011, a former Grid blogger, Yosef Robinson, wrote a piece about the reconstruction of the Turcot Interchange, a major highway junction in Montreal, Canada. The original proposal came about as the aging infrastructure was beginning to crumble. The project faced fierce opposition, as it planned to widen the interchange (going against everything we know about dealing with congestion), and also proposed to take the interchange off of its pillars and down to street-level. This would result in the expropriation of a large number of homes in the St-Henri neighbourhood and building a giant wall, 5 stories high in some places, throughout St-Henri.[...]
A tremendously ambitious book, A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein attempts to create a language that developers and urban planners can use to shape our environment. The author’s intent is to create a universal language that can be applied to all development projects, in an attempt to encourage the creation of more functional, magnificent places. Such an undertaking is colossal by its very nature, and while the authors haven’t written something that is flawless, they have succeeded in crafting a book that I believe will be a truly great resource for urban planners, designers, and developers alike.
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 by the Census Bureau, as of 2011. Both share commuters, tourists, and bargain shoppers alike. As a part of a midtown place-making project, the Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission sent out a Call to Arti[...]
Maybe one of the biggest surprises you’ll find in Detroit is the presence of a great bike culture. This is surprising for two main reasons:
Detroit is the Motor City: a major part of your associations with Detroit deal with the auto industry here, and the impacts of the industry’s elite on transportation and infrastructure in the city; streets in Detroit are built for a single use – travel by automobile, right?
Detroit is an extremely poor city, so poor the State of Michigan has placed it under Emergency Financial Management; Detroit can’t possibly be investing in bicycli[...]
The city of Lincoln, Nebraska has strived to become a top green community within the Midwest region. One way that Lincoln has successfully shifted toward sustainable thinking is through its implementation of the Cleaner, Greener Lincoln Initiative.The Cleaner, Greener Lincoln Initiative has encouraged “green” living within the city of Lincoln and has been implemented throughout the city from city department buildings, public schools, and even much of the community in general. The city has implemented several focus areas including: Maintaining good air quality; Water quality and c[...]
The summer of 2012 saw a drastic uptick in the number of shootings and murders across the city of Chicago, Illinois. While many metropolitan areas, including New York City, have been experiencing historic lows in their homicide and violent crime rates, Chicago saw 532 murders last year, a number higher than troop killings in Afghanistan. And so naturally social theorists, community development officials and urban planners cast about for the root cause of all this violence, hoping to find some explanation for all these seemingly senseless acts.
A map of Chicago's homicides in 2012Mostly by coincid[...]