Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

From Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company — The Sprawl Repair Initiative

The Sprawl Repair initiative grew out of the lessons learned in the revitalization of existing dysfunctional or incomplete built environments, in suburban or urban locations. DPZ sees any tract of developed land, however distressed or ill-planned, as a repository of embodied energy that, rather than being discarded, should be reclaimed, re-urbanized, and transformed into a more livable, economically functional, and ecologically sound habitat. The Sprawl Repair method provides the framework and step-by-step process to do so. To read more and download the Sprawl Repair Roadmap and Sprawl Repair Toolkits Overview: Technique: Sprawl Repair

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

From Planetizen
Mythbusting: Exposing Half-Truths That Support Automobile Dependency

TODD LITMAN Some commentators recently expressed outraged that governments spend money on cycling improvements. You could call them cycling critics, because they assume that bicyclists have inferior rights to use public roads and that cycling facility investments are wasteful and unfair, or call them automobile dependency advocates because their general message is that transportation planning should focus on facilitating automobile travel with little consideration for other modes. Read more: Mythbusting: Exposing Half-Truths That Support Automobile Dependency | Planetizen: The Urban Planning, Design, and Development Network

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

From WhatWasThere —Another
Theater That Became a Parking Lot

The Paradise Theater, which was built in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago, was billed as the world’s most beautiful theater.

From RaisetheHammer.org — Toronto's Chief Planner Keesmaat Addresses
Hamilton Ont The Ambitious City Conference

Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner for the City of Toronto and one of the most highly regarded planning professionals in North America, addressing The Ambitious City event in Hamilton Ontario . 
Keesmaat's first principle is that great cities design their places and streets for people, not cars. She contrasted the old paradigm of designing for cars, which simply leads to more cars, with the new paradigm of designing for people, which leads to more people.
Following from this, great cities have neighbourhoods with central main streets that provide a variety of amenities. "Places where you have multiple destinations within a five minute walk from home...give you a reason to be in public space."
To make great neighbourhoods work, people need a variety of ways to get around: walkable streets, bike lanes and good transit as well as automobile lane capacity. "If you do it right, you will encourage people to choose other ways to get around." Read more: Inspiring Talk on The Ambitious City by Toronto's Chief Planner - Raise the Hammer

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

From The Atlantic Cities — What Your
Street Grid Reveals About Your City

"It's true that Manhattan lacks the elegant squares, axial boulevards and civic monuments around which other cities designed their public spaces. But it has evolved a public realm of streets and sidewalks that creates urban theater on the grandest level. No two blocks are ever precisely the same because the grid indulges variety, building to building, street to street."
In most cities with wide streets and big blocks precious little space is allotted to pedestrians, 30 percent of a city’s area is typically dedicated to moving cars – "not counting the parking lots that push some southern cities over 50 percent. Read more: "What Your Street Grid Reveals About Your City - Sarah Goodyear - The Atlantic Cities

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

From Vancouver Heritage Foundation — House Style Encyclopedia

An interactive encyclopedia of traditional house styles and their architectural components — House Style Encyclopedia | Table

Saturday, December 7, 2013

From Planetizen Courses —
Bicycle-Friendly Streets: Design Standards

Bike Friendly Streets: Design Standards present examples of how cities are redesigning their streets to not only accommodate but encourage bicycling. From Road Diets that make room for bike lanes to total street redesigns, cities are stepping up to the challenge of providing a variety of options for the bicyclists in their communities. More at: Bicycle-Friendly Streets: Design Standards | Planetizen Courses

Friday, December 6, 2013

SFU Warren Gill Lecture Series —
Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

And in Summation and Conclusion (ahem)... My Thoughts Submitted to Nanaimo's Transportation Master Plan

Thanks to Nanaimo City Councillor George Anderson, Chair of the City of Nanaimo Transportation Advisory Committee for providing numerous opportunities to submit ideas to the Transportation Master Plan and to meet and discuss them in person.

These are the areas I will be looking to see addressed in the final Plan —

Elimination of all commercial inter-city traffic from the Island Highway and its return to its proper role as a city street in the service of the neighbourhoods it passes through. Speed limit max 30kph as it passes through neighbourhoods. A detailed, objective analysis should be completed on the economic and social impacts of this highway.

Speed limit reductions to 30kph throughout all residential areas. 50kph restricted to a few arterials, and these with narrowed lanes, HOV and bus lanes, cycling infrastructure. A pedestrian friendly environment will follow naturally from these improvements.

Cancelling costly road infrastructure projects like the Bowen/Boxwood project. You can’t solve “congestion” by road building. No city anywhere has ever done it. Time to accept the proven law of induced demand. And related, I would like to see careful consideration given to Development Cost Charges revenues when they are used to justify road building projects. Recognition that they are taxes, not paid by the developer or the builder but by of course… the taxpayer. Are they “new monies” or diverted from elsewhere in the local economy? As taxes do they take their place in the intense competition between civic spending priorities. Are they used to pay for past road building projects and in that regard are they not part of a kind of Ponzi scheme?

The inequity between the municipal taxation yield between the inner city and the low population density suburbs should be recognized and addressed. A one size fits all transportation plan that attempts to cope with decades of poor zoning and land use decisions is, I fear, headed to failure. Cities like Nanaimo need “Inner City Containment Boundaries” in which amenities and infrastructure are commensurate with taxation yields that are four and five times higher per acre than the outlying areas. The suburbs should be prepared to see reduced services and increased taxes. The suburbs should continue to be a consumer alternative for those prepared to pay their costs.

• And finally, I want to submit as formally as possible (by some official protocol in place if required) a request to your Transportation Advisory Committee to require that the Transportation Master Plan be peer reviewed and critiqued. I’ve mentioned earlier SFU’s Gordon Price or former Vancouver Chief Planner Brent Toderian could offer fresh prospective. The organizations working with Red Deer Alberta, as you and your staff and consultant know, Danish architect Jan Gehl and Cities 8-80 headed by Gil Penalosa, would also be prospects. 

Few things will have a greater impact on the civic, social and economic life of Nanaimo than fresh thinking about mobility in a city that has been allowed to develop to four or five times larger in square miles than begins to be sustainable.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Motordom thrives in
small exurb cities like #Nanaimo

From newurbanismblog.com
The Importance of Street Design
To Walkability

Monday, November 25, 2013

From Fund for a Better Waterfront
As Shopping Malls and Theme Parks Replace
Town Squares, Our Democracy is Diminished

F Murphy photo
The street. It is the river of life of the city, the place where we come together, the pathway to the center. It is the primary place.
– William H. Whyte, City: Rediscovering the Center

Urban streets and sidewalks serve as the principle place of public contact and public passage. Streets, in fact, comprise the largest assemblage of public space in our cities. Every private lot is accessible from a street, the legally designated public right-of-way. When extended to the water’s edge, streets provide the very framework for public access to the waterfront. Streets are perceived as public. Our right to travel the street, whether by foot or bike or car, is indelibly etched in our consciousness. Read more: As shopping malls and theme parks replace town squares, our democracy is diminished | Fund for a Better Waterfront

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#SmartCityExpo Barcelona

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

From Planetizen
An Argument for Eliminating Traffic Lights

"Stop-and-go turns out to be less a way of increasing safety than a way of maximizing the value of vehicles with high top speeds (i.e., automobiles) rather than slower vehicles (bicycles, scooters, motorcycles). So filling your city with signalized intersections turns out to be a kind of backdoor subsidy to automobile ownership."Read more: An Argument for Eliminating Traffic Lights | Planetizen: The Urban Planning, Design, and Development Network

Saturday, November 16, 2013

HT Planetizen, From thegridto.com
Itemizing the Cost of a Great Street

The intersection of St. Clair Avenue West and Vaughan Road, which is among the messiest: St. Clair is wide, long, cut in two by a streetcar right-of-way, and follows a straightforward grid, while Vaughan is narrow, short, and hits on the diagonal as it chases a slithering ravine. In a city where there’s no such thing as a typical intersection, though, this one might just count as normal. Read more at: The Grid: How much does a street cost? And: Itemizing the Cost of a Great Street | Planetizen: The Urban Planning, Design, and Development Network

Friday, November 15, 2013

Great Places in Canada
Public Space Winner: St. John City Market

The St. John City Market is a popular gathering space for people of all ages. It is a place where vendors sell a range of local and international goods along four banks of stalls running the entire length of the building. The Market is well integrated into the City Centre both in terms of its architecture, its entrances from the outdoors, as well as an indoor connection to the City pedway system. Read more: Great Places in Canada

Thursday, November 14, 2013

From Sustainable Prosperity
The Cost of Sprawl:
A Suburban/Urban Comparison

We tend to think of the cost of a house as only the price of the mortgage. But in reality, adding more houses to a community requires a lot more than the buildings. Sidewalks, water and wastewater pipes, schools and libraries, police and fire protection, and of course, roads. The lower density in the suburbs leads to higher costs to operate, maintain and replace all these services. These examples are taken from a recent study in Halifax Regional Municipality. More at: Sustainable Prosperity | The Cost of Sprawl: A Comparison : Sustainable Prosperity

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

From Strong Towns —Neighbourhoods First

Neighborhoods First. A low risk, high return strategy for building a strong town. Cities across the country are starting to realize that the “big project” approach takes up too much staff time, wastes too much political energy and distracts too much from the basic needs of existing neighborhoods. Risky, low returning projects too often become expensive boondoggles that haunt a community for decades. Public officials everywhere are desperately seeking an alternative. Take less risk and grow financially stronger all while directly serving the people already living and working in your city. That’s a Strong Towns approach. Read more and download the report at: Neighborhoods First - Strong Towns

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

From Planetizen Courses —
Tactical Urbanism: An Introduction

Designer and doer Mike Lydon, CNU-A, has one mission: Improving the livability of our towns and cities starting at the street, block, or building scale. In this first course of a two course series, Lydon introduces Tactical Urbanism. More at: Tactical Urbanism: An Introduction | Planetizen Courses

National Association of
City Transportation Officials

Urban Street Design Guide

Streets comprise more than 80% of public space in cities, but they often fail to provide their surrounding communities with a space where people can safely walk, bicycle, drive, take transit, and socialize. Cities are leading the movement to redesign and reinvest in our streets as cherished public spaces for people, as well as critical arteries for traffic. The Urban Street Design Guide charts the principles and practices of the nation’s foremost engineers, planners, and designers working in cities today. More at: Urban Street Design Guide | NACTO

Friday, November 8, 2013

Jeff Speck in ChinaDialogue.net
Time to Get Cities Walking Again

(Image by Ramanathan Kathiresan)
We Americans have learned that reorganising our cityscapes around the automobile was a bad investment, not to mention an environmental disaster. Like many European cities, our most forward-thinking municipalities have turned away from road investment in favor of transit, bicycling, and pedestrian infrastructure. The evidence seems to support a contention of Winston Churchill: “The American people can be counted on to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the alternatives." Read more: Time to get US cities walking again | Jeff Speck - China Dialogue

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mythbusters — 4 Way Stop Vs Roundabout

Lewis Villegas Says —
Geoff Meggs Gets the Urbanism Wrong

While the modern media regularly doles out succés de scandale it is important to set the record straight. Councillor Meggs posted his analysis: Contradictory voices: MPIC collapses in confusion. Of course, here we are served yet another icon of modern media, recalling Samuel Clements (aka Mark Twain) infamous reply to the erroneous report in the New York Journal of 2 June 1897, that “The report of my death was an exaggeration”. Far from being down and out, as of 20 october 2013 members of the MPIC are participating in the city-wide Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods.

Quotations in bold below are mis-characterizations posted on the Meggs blog. Civic politicians are tireless servants with full and busy schedules. Thus, we see this moment as an opportunity to explore the new paradigm in planning to be used outside the tower districts. As with everything new, signs of learning are progress. Read more: Vancouver Councillor gets the Urbanism Wrong | SUNN Vancouver Mount Pleasant

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

From Streetsblog Capitol Hill
Spend 30 Minutes Watching This Doc and You’ll Spend the Next 30 Walking

More at:  Spend 30 Minutes Watching This Doc and You’ll Spend the Next 30 Walking | Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

From Forbes — Light, Quick And Cheap:
The Big Shift In Urban Planning

Bryant Park from drug den to beloved meeting place.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the past, remaking cities has been the stuff of big visions. Think of Chicago’s Daniel Burnham, who declared, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood. Or Robert Moses, the public planning guru of New York City. Now, as cities across the United States try to rejuvenate themselves, there is a new mantra: lighter, quicker, cheaper.

Friday, October 25, 2013

From The Guardian — Cycle-Friendly Cities Also Need to Welcome Walkers

The steep decline in walking sits uneasily against the background of solid public health evidence on the benefits of walking. Bristol City council has set out the health benefits of walking which include reducing the risks of a range of health conditions including cardiovascular and respiratory disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and deaths from all causes. Walking also helps to counter depression and maintain wellbeing.

Walking is very obviously a health promoting activity that has failed to register on the radar screen of key decision takers. Read more: Cycle-friendly cities also need to welcome walkers | John Whitelegg | Local Leaders Network | Guardian Professional

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Encore: The Shuffle Demons
The Spadina Bus

Monday, October 21, 2013

Slow, Steady Progress on SketchUp

Photo: Hudson Bay Company, Granville St Vancouver 1935. 3D model drawn in Google SketchUp match-photo. Small breakthroughs in inferencing, arrays and components. There's been great value in getting hopelessly lost then starting over.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Charlie Rose Chats with Vishaan Chakrabarti and in The Globe and Mail
Alex Bozikovic on A Country of Cities

And @alexbozikovic in The Globe: Why we’re better off living in hyperdense cities built around mass transit - The Globe and Mail

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

From TED.com
Jeff Speck: The Walkable City

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car -- which he calls "a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device" -- by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people. Jeff Speck is a city planner and the author of "Walkable City." Full bio »

From Cities for People
Living Innovation Zones in San Francisco

It is in our common interest to create a city where quality of life is the key objective. We all have an opportunity as well as a shared responsibility to help the city to become an attractive place to live and work.

But what does it take to inspire private companies to invest effort and money in developing the quality of the public space? Over time numerous financial models for private investment and operation of public spaces have been tested – models for POPS (Privately Owned Public Spaces), BIDS ( Business Improvement Districts) , PPP (Public – Private – Partnerships) have all been implemented and many lessons have been learnt. Now something new is happening in San Francisco. The acronym for this new initiative is LIZ – Living Innovation Zones. They have been developed in partnership between San Francisco’s planning department, the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation MOCI and Gehl Architects as a spin-off of the three-year development of the Better Market Street project on Market Street in San Francisco. Read more: Crowd-funding Public Space | Cities for People

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

New York Times / National Film Board
Op-Doc: A Short History of the Highrise

This project, created for The New York Times Op-Docs, is part of the National Film Board of Canada’s continuing HIGHRISE project, an Emmy Award-winning multiyear, many-media collaborative documentary experiment. 

More at: NYT Op-Doc: A Short History of the Highrise | Price Tags

From Henriquez Partners Architects — Granville at 70th Project
'15 minutes to everything'

Michael Braun politely begs to differ with those who believe that living centrally can only be achieved in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

“When you think about it, Granville and 70th is 15 minutes to everywhere,” says the marketing director for Westbank. “Over the last two or three years, people are starting to see this as the centre of the universe.”

The “15 minutes to everything” concept is emblazoned over the project’s marketing materials, pointing out its proximity to Vancouver International Airport and Richmond, shopping at Oakridge Centre and on South Granville, entertainment downtown, and recreational opportunities at golf courses, equestrian clubs, and the parks and beaches of the city’s westside. Read more: Granville at 70th project '15 minutes to everything' | Henriquez Partners Architects

Thursday, October 10, 2013

From Streetsblog.net — A New Kind of Grocer Wants a Walkable, Bikeable Location

Green Zebra Grocery in Portland. Image: People for Bikes
Lisa Sedlar, a veteran of big grocery stores like Whole Foods and Portland’s New Seasons, is the owner of Green Zebra Grocery in Portland, Oregon — a smaller store she thinks is better scaled to meet shifting demands.

Green Zebra Grocery in Portland will cater to frequent, lower-volume trips by customers on foot or bike. Image: People for Bikes.  Michael Andersen has the story at People for Bikes. Read more: A New Kind of Grocer Wants a Walkable, Bikeable Location | Streetsblog.net

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nanaimo's South Downtown
Waterfront Initiative

From: frankmurphy@thesidewalkballet.com
Subject: S Downtown Waterfront Initiative Survey
Date: 9 October, 2013 1:20:50 PM PDT
To: sdwaterfront@cityspaces.ca

Comment submitted earlier to your online survey —

Some preliminary thoughts — Early effort to build a public identity for the initiative — the new website, the boots on the ground fair that invited people to discuss the site while touring it, encouraging citizens to attend the (brutally early) committee meetings — is positive and welcome. I'd like to see this phase followed by one where the committee itself and its consultant move to a proactive role in educating people that to be truly successful in realizing the potential of this extraordinary site, there will need to be some discomfort inducing change in the way we have imagined and designed our city. More on this later but for now: I'm referring to dynamics such as Nanaimo's low population density and accompanying car dependency. A number of external factors impact the potential of the site and it's important (though generally in Nanaimo considered impolite) to air them in the earliest days of this process. For instance I'll draw attention to First Capital's Port Place blank wall and expanse of surface parking which has done probably irreparable harm to the Front Street streetscape and made a key piece of the site's interconnectedness puzzle a huge challenge. Also more later on connectivity. 

I'm still trying to get my mind around some of the complexities here. The combination of primary property ownership and rights of access in covenants and existing leaseholders are confusing me. Fascinating and full of potential but confusing. (See map).

While the City-mandated study area is quite rightly the entire waterfront area between the Snuneymuxw lands and the Gabriola Ferry (some say a at-least-broad-brush-stroke study should have been done as part of the 2008 Downtown Urban Design Plan and Guidelines), it's the City, Port and Provincial Crown lands north of the trestle bridge that hold short and medium term potential for redevelopment. Do I have that about right? And the redevelopment of this portion will require a shared vision with the Island Corridor Foundation and the Port Authority and will impact the existing leaseholders. Seaspan's right of access through the site holds the key to moving to the next step if I'm not mistaken. And in case this was all starting to look pretty simple, there is a memorandum of agreement between the City and the Regional District to locate a "transit hub" here. What exactly is meant by a "transit hub" in a sprawling City with a commercial highway running through its downtown scares the bejesus out of me. I see examples elsewhere of transit interconnections by design creating prosperous successful human scale urban "place". Time for an indication that we have some idea of how to do that here.

My initial focus will be the Esplanade and north waterfront connections. Key I think is identifying the characteristics and purpose of "precinct" here. Central is public space. Waterfront access is a primary opportunity of course but there's the chance to do something so much better than just a sea wall. Connected public squares and plazas connecting both at and to the waterfront and through the site. Connected and integrated. This is in general not something Nanaimo has done well. In terms of primary use, Nanaimo has long needed a downtown satellite campus of Vancouver Island University. As Gordon Price has pointed out one of the our biggest urban planning mistakes has been the remote isolated locations of university campuses.


A public sector education and training cluster here (ideally including the SFN) integrated with a convenient modern transit system (passenger ferry, light rail, inter city bus all included) holds much promise seems to me.

Meanwhile I'm re-reading Ken Greenberg's Walking Home about his experiences over his career working on many sites not unlike this one and close with this thought —

Who will break it to Nanaimoites that for any potential to be realized here there will be virtually no surface parking?

Frank Murphy
Selby St Nanaimo

Monday, October 7, 2013

From On the Commons
The Fall and Rise of Great Public Spaces

Opponents of Copenhagen’s first pedestrian street warned that people would abandon the area if cars were removed; now it’s the pulsing heart of the city. (Photo courtesy of Gehl Architects.) 

It’s a dark and wintry night in Copenhagen, and the streets are bustling. The temperature stands above freezing, but winds blow hard enough to knock down a good share of the bicycles parked all around. Scandinavians are notorious for their stolid reserve, but it’s all smiles and animated conversation here as people of many ages and affiliations stroll through the city center on a Thursday evening. Read more: 
The Fall and Rise of Great Public Spaces | On the Commons

Lewis Villegas on Oakridge —
"density without urbanism will add
sprawl and congestion"

Oakridge—Vancouver’s best suburban mall—is proposing towers in a BIG way. Adding density without urbanism will add sprawl and congestion. A subway stop by itself is not enough reason for towers. Oakridge neighbourhood lacks the mixture, number and quality of services and jobs available downtown in the only urban zone we have in the region. This is towerization at its worst! And the mistake is being repeated at Gateway minutes south on the Canada Line and elsewhere along our transit spines. Read more: The Towerization of NO-akridge | lewisnvillegas

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

From This Big City
Dissecting the City Economy

We often talk about success and failure of cities. Success is usually associated with availability of jobs, vibrant start-up scene and growing population. Growth is a widely accepted indicator of success, yet not any growth is the same. A new report by Centre for Cities, a London based urban think tank, looks at spatial patterns of economic growth in the 63 largest cities in Britain. The report shows that a majority of UK urban economies are growing less concentrated and this may have consequences for their economic performance in the future. Read more: Dissecting the city economy | This Big City

Monday, September 23, 2013

From NYC Department of City Planning — Active Design: Shaping the
Sidewalk Experience

The Department of City Planning has produced the two-part publication Active Design: Shaping the Sidewalk Experience and its supplement, Shaping the Sidewalk Experience: Tools and Resources as a study focused on the critical public space network –sidewalks. The documents present the work not from the perspective of those who drive past sidewalks or of those who construct them, but of those who actually use them. It is the point of view of the pedestrian—the person inhabiting and experiencing the sidewalk—that has been prioritized. Active Design: Shaping the Sidewalk Experience uses the conceptual framework of the “sidewalk room” to grapple with the complexities of the policies, players, and physical form of shaping the pedestrians experience of this space. More including pdf files of the complete guides: Active Design: Shaping the Sidewalk Experience - New York City Department of City Planning

Sunday, September 22, 2013

From the National Film Board
Highrise: The Towers in the World,
The World in the Towers

Interactive views from the global highrise. A 360° National Film Board documentary by Katerina Cizek. You see them all over the world. Concrete residential highrise buildings are the most commonly built form of the last century. On the outside they all look the same. But inside these towers of concrete and glass, people create community, art and meaning.  An Emmy-winning, multi-year, many-media, collaborative documentary experiment at the National Film Board of Canada, that explores vertical living around the world. More at: Highrise

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

City of Nanaimo Development Application Received for 21 Storey Downtown
Waterfront Hotel

This application for development of a 21 storey (240 suite) hotel, including commercial units, proceeds to the Design Advisory Panel on at 5:00 pm September 26 at the Annex building on Dunsmuir Street. The proponent, the Chinese tourism corporation SSS Manhao, has had an offer to purchase the property accepted by the City but there still are a number of conditions to be met including this development permit. Local news coverage: City council approves downtown hotel deal - Nanaimo News Bulletin and from the City's website: DP000854 - 100 Gordon Street | City of Nanaimo

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

From EstudioD3 — 500 sq ft East Village NYC

Union of BC Municipalities Convention — Vancouver Sept 16 - 20

Saturday, September 14, 2013

City of Toronto Urban Design Awards

From the forward — The Toronto Urban Design Awards present an opportunity every other year to pause, take stock and recognize the work we are doing, collectively, to create a great city. The city, after all, is expressed and emerges in the places and spaces that we experience and share in common, and the way we design these places has the potential to enhance our connectedness to each other, to both the past and the future, and to the environments that sustain us. When we get urban design right, the massing, placement, and detail of our buildings enhances the public realm and both enables and enlivens our experience of the city as pedestrians. 

Jury Report PDF here.

Nanaimo South Downtown
Waterfront Initiative

The South Downtown Waterfront Initiative is a long term planning project in Nanaimo, led by the South Downtown Waterfront Committee. This process involves developing visions and opportunities for this complex and challenging property that extend 20 to 30 years into the future. 

Read more: Nanaimo South Downtown Waterfront Initiative: HOME

Thursday, September 12, 2013

From TED Blog — Jeff Speck's
Most Walkable Cities in the World

Jeff Speck, the author of the book Walkable City, will be speaking at TEDCity2.0 — which will take place in New York City on September 20. (Email rsvp@ted.com for more information on attending.) Speck picked some of the cities he’s found the most delightful to explore on foot. He qualifies his picks saying, “These lists are silly and inevitably wrong, but here are the places that I’ve been to and that I’ve enjoyed walking around the most.” Read more: The most walkable cities in the world | TED Blog

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From Grist — Parking Rules Raise Your Rent

City requirements for off-street parking spaces raise rents. They jack it up a lot at the bottom of the housing ladder. Proportionally speaking, the bigger the quota and the smaller the apartment, the larger the rent hike. For one-bedroom apartments with two parking places, as is required in places including Bothell and Federal Way, Wash., as much as one-third of the rent may actually pay for parking. A flotilla of studies supports that claim, but first, a case study of residential real estate development may illuminate how critical parking is to the affordability of housing. Read More: Parking rules raise your rent | Grist

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013