December 12 2014

Learning to Ride a Bike Isn’t Child’s Play: Montreuil, France’s Six-Level Bike School

Is there a perfect age for learning to ride a bike? Not necessarily. Because not everyone learns to ride a bike at the same time, there are now numerous bike schools where one can learn to sit atop a two-wheeler with the help of specialized teachers. This is precisely the case with the bike school in Montreuil, France. The school is “a pioneering organization, entirely run by volunteers” that allows everyone, but above all, adults, to familiarize themselves with the practice of riding a bike in the urban environment. In existence for twelve years, Montreuil’s bike school has helped more than 2,000 students learn to become real, tough cyclists. This is thanks to using simple, yet[...]
December 11 2014

Discussion of Restoring Urban Waterways in Montreal, Quebec Picks up Momentum

Is it realistic to think about exhuming or recreating the streams and rivers that have disappeared in the wake of urbanization in the city of Montreal? Over the last few years, this idea has gained traction, even becoming the topic of a documentary in 2012 - with "Lost Rivers," by Caroline Bacle. Projet Montreal put the subject on the agenda for their most recent session of municipal council, which took place Nov. 24. The opposition party at City Hall will present a motion for Montreal to engage in the protection of the existing streams and evaluate the possibility of creating others within the framework of development projects. The rivers and streams of M[...]
December 09 2014

Folding Bikes Allowed on Trams & Buses for the First Time in Caen, France

Up until now, bikes have not been allowed on public transportation in the Caen agglomeration in Caen, France. They have recently started to find their place, but only folding bikes will be allowed on buses and trams. Beginning on Dec. 1, 2014, the rules concerning bikes on public transportation evolved. “Following users’ requests and a period of reflection on the Caen agglomeration bike policies, it seemed necessary to alter the rules in order to allow folding bikes on board. When folded, they barely take up any space.” Viacités, the public transportation union who is in charge of making this decision, insists, however, that the bikes be fold[...]
December 08 2014

Connecticut Since the Abolition of County Government in 1959

Most of New England is made up of counties that predate the Declaration of Independence. However, these counties exist largely as geographical regions, with few reminders of their former county governments besides old courthouses, maps, and online administrative forms. The neighboring state of Rhode Island abandoned their county governance over 100 years earlier than Connecticut. Vermont and Massachusetts maintain a weak county government similar to what Connecticut once had, but theirs, too, is growing weaker. At its height, Connecticut's county government was responsible for liquor licenses, and services such as roads, jails, and courts. At the time county level government was abolish[...]
December 08 2014

Trial and Error of CSAs and Farm Co-Ops is About to Pay Off in Baltimore City

The United States has lost over four million farms since 1930, which was around the time the economics and sustainability of farming was changed by factory farming and other challenges. Baltimore County has lost nearly 150 farms between 2002 and 2012. Data for Baltimore City was not available; however, the Farm Alliance of Baltimore City estimates there are around twelve urban farms in the city. Baltimore City residents have thus relied on supermarkets’ mass-produced food, though for many, even this option is not available, as 20% of city residents live in what the city’s planning department calls food deserts. Certain characteristics defin[...]
December 05 2014

No Credit Card Needed for Community Access Bikeshare in Ontario, Canada

Summer 2013 saw the birth of a new breed of bikesharing: Community Access Bikeshare or CAB, located in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Now just a year down the line, this modest bikeshare has countless ambitions to put community-based cycling infrastructure on the map. With seven stations already installed and a membership 125 strong and growing, the Community Access Bikeshare project might redefine what it means “to take the CAB.” Community Access Bikeshare is an example of a growing cycling trend being put into action as a tool to support the local community. Like other bikeshares, it is a project aimed at promoting green design and cycling culture in an automotive dependent[...]
December 05 2014

Gentrification is Hurting Neighborhoods in Downtown Kitchener, Canada

In the last few years, gentrification has been causing problems in downtown areas around North America, and now Kitchener (in Ontario, Canada) is no exception. While developments downtown can be good for intensification and improving urban design, current developments are beginning to marginalize long-term residents. [youtube=] In the last three decades, many North American cities have been following a pattern of unsustainable sub-urban growth. This pattern of suburbanization has been not only environmentally unsound, but has also has also worsened problems around social isolation. Planning took a turn in the 1990s after which the "down[...]
December 05 2014

Malpassé Neighborhood in Marseille, France Faces Redevelopment and Evictions

Among the fourteen urban redevelopment projects in Marseille, France, the one in the Malpassé neighborhood has been the most sizeable since it was launched in 2010 by the City of Marseille, the National Agency of Urban Renovation (ARNU), and public sponsors. However, the neighborhood’s urban redevelopment project has been built on a foundation of anger, with renters accusing officials of unfairly forcing relocations. On November 17th a guided visit was held in this neighborhood of the 13th district in order to show off the previous four years of work and the numerous buildings that were finished during this time, or are still underway. The area saw the restoration of social hous[...]
December 05 2014

Reinventing Industrial Milan: Old Factories Brought Back to Life in a Cultural Context

Milan is a city with a strong industrial background that is an economically influential business, financial, and design center in Europe and beyond. By the late 12th century, Milan was one of Italy's most wealthy and industrious hubs due to its large production of armour and wool that increased the Lombary region's wealth. During the Renaissance era, Milan was part of the chain of cities (Venice, Rome, and Florence) that were producing luxury goods, textiles, and fabrics. At the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Milan became a major European industrial center due to its automobile, chemical, and heavy machinery production industries. It[...]
December 04 2014

Four Families Discuss Their Departure From Montreal, To Greenfield Park

Portraits of young families, which after having lived in some of Montreal's trendiest neighborhoods, have decided to cross the bridges and establish themselves in Longueuil, in the Greenfield Park arrondisement. "I like the vintage style of our split-level house." At first, Iveth Morales, 36, and Alex Farias, 35, both of Mexican origin, wanted to buy a house in Montreal "in order to have more space and privacy for my work," confides Iveth, a designer of jewelry, under The Angry Weather brand. "But it was really too expensive. Therefore we turned to the suburbs, Greenfield Park, which is near Montreal. At the end of August, we left our building in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie ar[...]
December 03 2014

Verdun’s First Microbrewery Reflects Gentrification of Montreal Neighbourhood

Often thought of as an impoverished working class neighbourhood, the borough of Verdun in Montreal, Quebec has been experiencing a renewal since the early 2000's. This eclectic area sandwiched between the Montreal Aqueduct Canal and the St. Lawrence River contains ample waterfront property with bike paths, parks and recreational facilities. Coupled with its proximity to downtown and the convenience of having three metro stations span the entire neighbourhood, it is becoming an increasingly attractive location for new immigrants, young families, and students wishing to pay lower rents than trendier central areas. This change in demographics has also resulted in[...]
December 03 2014

Architectural Heritage Loses Ground in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Among the aged temples and deteriorating colonial buildings in Phnom Penh, rise a new architecture of an international contemporary style that could be located anywhere in the world. Everyday new developments erase part of the city’s past, and without a strong effort to preserve some of the meaningful structures, Phnom Penh’s current construction boom could destroy the city’s architectural heritage. Phnom Penh has a unique and diverse architectural history that ranges from ancient Khmer culture to French influenced city planning and residential villas, to Corbusier’s modernist ideas with a Cambodian twist. Of course, none of[...]
December 02 2014

In Paris’ 14th District, Former Shelter is Transformed into Social Housing

The migrant shelter on the Rue des Arbustes in Paris’ 14th district has been completely transformed into social housing. The building is owned by the COALLIA group, and its transformation has been a part of the Plan for the Treatment of Migrant Workers’ Shelters. This metamorphosis is thanks to plans by Calq Architecture and construction by the BATEG enterprise (an affiliate of VINCI Construction France). The project combines great attention to design (including the modification of the building’s façade and a new layout) with technical prowess (including asbestos removal and thermal insulation and solar energy). New Spaces Link Privacy with Convivi[...]
December 02 2014

Modification of Lighting in Magog, Quebec to Reduce Light Pollution & Energy Use

Currently, the city of Magog, Quebec has a policy regarding street lighting within its boundaries that will allow it to save nearly $175,000 per year while also reducing light pollution. Before the adoption of its policy on street lighting, the City of Magog carried out pilot projects in 2013 and 2014 in order to test the new approaches. It reduced the number of fixtures and specific sites and began using light-emitting diodes and LEDs in place of traditional bulbs. LEDs provide the double advantage of giving off less glare and requiring less energy. "The next stage is to make these practices uniform across the whole region serviced by [...]
December 01 2014

Dogpatch Destination: Pier 70 is San Francisco’s Center for Redevelopment

In the early 1900’s, the Dogpatch district was considered San Francisco’s industrial city-center with over 18,000 people working at Pier 70 daily. As one of the only neighborhoods to survive the destructive fires brought on by the earthquake of 1906, the Dogpatch stands as a living archive within the city. This district off the bay was once home to the largest ship and warhead building operation on the west coast during World War I and II. The architectural presence of the Dogpatch ranges from the wood framed Victorian homes of industrial workers to the industrial steel warehouses dating from between 1860-1945. These industrial structures have a ghostly presence. Their corrugated[...]
December 01 2014

Brownfield Redevelopment in Galway, Ireland Gives the Harbor A Second Life

With regards to redevelopment, a brownfield is land that has been previously used for industrial purposes. As industries change, a site may become vacant and eventually earmarked for redevelopment. The majority of waterfront redevelopment in Ireland, including the redevelopment of Dublin Port in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, was brownfield redevelopment. In Galway, Ireland, much of the brownfield redevelopment has taken place by the harbor. Large warehouses and storage yards have been replaced with attractive apartments and offices that overlook the harbor (which itself is due for redevelopment in the near future). Paul Carey, the [...]
December 01 2014

The Costs of Not Implementing Green Logistics: A Book Review

Green Logistics: Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Logistics (2nd edition, Kogan Page), by Alan C. McKinnon et. al, is a 2013 publication covering the best green-practices in supply-chain management.   Lead author McKinnon has written a number of articles and books evaluating supply chains, as have the other contributing authors. I evaluated the second edition of this book. A third edition is due for release in 2015. Green Logistics begins with the historical evolution of the field, describing the origins of supply-chain greening from an initial, instinctual “public dislike of heavy lorries (trucks),” to the current examination of waste management, [...]
November 30 2014

Portuguese Translator Nora Lamm Says Farewell to The Grid

The past 6 months as a Portuguese translator and content creator for The Grid has been a wonderful and enriching experience. I loved the opportunity to research articles from Brazil at a time when so much innovation, change, and disruption are occurring in that part of the world. Translating articles from Brazil, especially during the World Cup, was a fascinating way to learn about local events and perspectives regarding architecture, urban planning, and engineering. One of my favorite articles to translate was, “The Vision of Jaime Lerner for Curitiba, Brazil” which outlined Lerner’s achievements in transforming Curitiba from a polluted and inefficient city to a [...]
November 28 2014

Nairobi, Kenya Increases Polytechnic Education Opportunities for Growing Sectors

Urban poverty is a reality in developing cities. In many cities, thousands of people live on a dollar a day. Alongside this lies a challenge faced by many governments and municipalities in providing quality education for the urban poor. Urban poor have to face the trouble of overcrowded primary schools, shortages of teachers, poor learning facilities and fewer options as they progress through the educational system. Even for those who make it past secondary school, a place in a tertiary institution may be a dream. The informal sector has remained the key to survival for thousands of urbanites in developing countries. However, it is not as easy for them to set up, sustain and gr[...]
November 28 2014

Every University in Toulouse, France Will Soon Have A Community Garden

Since the beginning of the school year, fifteen students from the University of Toulouse 1 Capitole in Toulouse, France have been cultivating a small parcel of land. The initiative is one in a string of university gardens in the city. This includes the garden shared by The University of Jean-Jaurès and The University of Paul-Sabatier, where students grow vegetables between two courtyards. Students are now growing both leeks and flowers at the University. Indeed, in Toulouse, the gardening trend is attracting more and more students. Standing as proof of this, the shared garden on the University of Toulouse 1 campus, which was born at the beginning of the school year. On its opening night[...]

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