Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Christchurch Plans Copenhagen-Style Separate Cycleways HT @situpvancouver

Christchurch's push to become a premier cycling city is gaining momentum with ambitious plans for separating cyclists and motorists on busy routes. Ambitious new guidelines for the design of cycling facilities in Christchurch have been approved by the city council's environment and infrastructure committee and should get approval from the full council this month.

The guidelines map out how new cycleways should look and come as the council considers imposing a $20 levy on ratepayers to help pay for the proposed $70 million network. Research was done around the country and overseas before drawing up the guidelines, which are designed to ensure that network takes advantage of international best practice.

They recommend that major cycleways in busy urban areas should feature Copenhagen-style separated cycle paths and Dutch-style intersections with corner islands that keep cyclists and vehicles separate. In residential areas, the guidelines recommend the council use simple measures such as lower speeds, traffic restraints, way-finding, crossing treatments and landscaping to create neighbourhood greenways that are friendly for walking and cycling. Read more: Christchurch Cycleways Design Guidelines Approved | Stuff.co.nz

From Sit Up Vancouver
Counters, Pumps, Repair Stations
And Real Cycling Infrastructure

Counters, pumps and repair stations won’t get more people on bikes. Worse, they may reinforce the tribalism (“Woot! 2000 on the counter! One Less Car! One Less Car!”) and techno-fetishism (“Dude, are those DT-Swiss X470 29ers?”) which undermines normalcy in public perception and the desired mass modal shift. Read more: Sit Up Vancouver | Counters, pumps, repair stations and real cycling infrastructure

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nanaimo News Bulletin Guest Comment —VIU VP, Provost David Witty: Nanaimo has
Many Elements of a Successful City

DAVID WITTY There continue to be a number of national and international initiatives focusing upon the well-being of urban citizens and urban environments.

Recently, Canadian Gov. Gen. David Johnston has promoted Smart and Caring Communities. Healthy communities has been a topic on local, national and international agendas for a number of years, and Compassionate Communities has recently emerged as a topic in international conversations.

While each of these movements offers significant insight into the varied aspects that affect the well-being of society in general and cities in particular, there is a parallel concept that captures the collective notions of those initiatives and brings a broader range of factors into the discussion of cities: that emerging global conversation is called Successful Cities.

Leading the Way
2013 Youth Summit
On Sustainable Transportation

The Prairie & Territories Chapter and BC Committee of the Canadian Urban Transit Association presents Leading the Way - Youth Summit on Sustainable Transportation May 10 - 12, 2013. Calgary, Alberta University of Calgary

Youth aged 18 - 28 years from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and Territories with a keen interest in transit and sustainable transportation will meet to: More at: Leading the Way - 2013 Youth Summit on Sustainable Transportation

Sunday, April 28, 2013

From PlaceMakers
The Future of Municipal Planning:
Learning from Success

Howard Blackson It appears that process/policy-based Urban Planning, which primarily regulates private land, is morphing into regulatory/place-based Urban Designers responsible for addressing social issues (public health, social equity), economic issues (cost of services, return on infrastructure investments), and environmental issues (from natural land preservation to development that improve our quality-of-life). As generalists, Urban Designers implement tactical interventions, long- and short-term planning, mobility, architecture, engineering, and environmental plans. Their 3-dimensional, human-scaled perspective facilitates a break from more conventional, 2-dimensional, top-down, Land Use-based planning of the past and moves us towards cultivating more livable places. Read more: The Future of Municipal Planning 02: Learning from Success | PlaceMakers

Saturday, April 27, 2013

From Urban Design Review
Ken Greenberg — City Government
For the New Urban World

The 21st century city stands poised to play a critical role as a great problem solver and generator of prosperity. We are discovering that only dense cities can reduce our heavy environmental footprint and address the devastating progress of climate change. We are figuring out how to get more out of less, drawing on their inherent capacity to solve multiple problems laterally, not one at a time. And we are embracing Jane Jacobs’ profound insight that cities are not mechanical constructs, but ‘organized complexity’ better understood by analogy with the science of living organisms. But here’s the rub: while this new way of seeing the city is widely shared, we often find that we have inherited systems on auto-pilot that were designed to produce a very different kind of urban world. Read more at: Urban Design Review - UPDATE // CITY GOVERNMENT FOR THE NEW URBAN WORLD

From Business in Vancouver, Peter Ladner — Transportation Planning Needs to be
Co-ordinated, Accountable

"Transit is an orphan, sitting beside the road begging for new taxes while road, bridge, tunnel, rail and airport builders go straight to the provincial and federal treasuries and get what they need out of existing revenue."
Read more: Transportation planning needs to be co-ordinated, accountable | Peter Ladner | Business in Vancouver

Thursday, April 25, 2013

From The Pop-Up City
Dublin: International Capital Of Crafts?

Artisan crafts are making a revolutionary global comeback that goes beyond the coolness of bearded hipsters in Brooklyn. In the new economy more and more people demand authentic, locally produced, sustainable items that represent real value. Ireland has a unique history of craftsmanship, which could form a great basis for Dublin’s contemporary identity.

Read more: http://popupcity.net/2013/04/dublin-international-capital-of-crafts/#ixzz2RV3wLZF7
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial
Dublin: International Capital Of Crafts? — The Pop-Up City

In April 2013 Pop-Up City is spending two weeks in Ireland’s capital as Bloggers in Residence. We stay at Airbnb apartments in several districts across Dublin to experience, explore and blog about unique and crispy themes, issues, and initiatives that are coming right from the heart of the city’s vibrant design community.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

From Economics of Place
Small Town Placemaking,
Economic Growth on Display

Sometimes I think we place so much emphasis on community building in big cities that smaller places are often overlooked. However, most small towns deal with the same issues that larger ones do when it comes to matters like placemaking, entrepreneurial growth, talent retention, and sustainability. This conference puts a much-needed emphasis on these issues while adding a small town twist. More information on small town development ideas is available on the League’s placemaking page. Check it out to learn more about what’s working in these places and what you can learn from their experiences. Read more: Small Town Placemaking, Economic Growth on Display | Economics of Place

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Saddest Fade" on WhatWasThere

The William Livingstone House, constructed in 1893, commonly called Slumpy, was a French Renaissance house located in Detroit's Brush Park. William Livingstone selected Eliot Street in Brush Park and hired architect Albert Kahn who was working for the George Mason-Zachariah Rice firm. When he obtained this commission – presumably with Mason’s help – Kahn was only 22 or 23 years old and had just returned from spending 1891 in Europe studying the classical architecture of the Old World. More at: http://www.whatwasthere.com/b/3567 FB https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=509690729093607

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

From Streetfilms — The Street Life of Havana

The Street Life of Havana from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Project for Public Spaces' Ethan Kent recently visited Havana, Cuba and took some amazing photographs of street life, perfectly capturing the vitality of its neighborhoods. As you sit thru his reflections and wonderful montages of what he saw, think about what our streets might look like if they were designed for living and not for speed. More at: Streetfilms | The Street Life of Havana

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

City of Chicago Form-Based Codes —
A Step-by-Step Guide for Communities

Form-based codes include specification of what uses are permitted in a building or place, but focus on the physical character of development, particularly how it relates to the public realm that everyone share. A growing number of communities across the country and in our region have found that form-based codes are a more precise and reliable tool for achieving what they want, preserving what they cherish, and reventing what they don’t want.

PDF download of the Guide available here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

North Shore Green Markets
Transforming Communities

North Shore Green Markets is a set of markets that bring fresh food, products, entertainment, ideas and initiatives to North Vancouver residents to improve residents quality of life. Through the markets and it's programs we can transform communities block by block and empower all North Vancouver residents to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. More at: Welcome to the North Shore Green Markets website

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From TreeHugger —Architect Michael Green Calls Wood "The Most Technologically Advanced Building Material In The World."

michael green from Lloyd Alter on Vimeo.

Read more at: Architect Michael Green Calls Wood "The Most Technologically Advanced Building Material In The World." : TreeHugger

Email to Nanaimo Mayor and Council —
A Couple of Quick Thoughts and a Suggestion

Subject: Quick thoughts and a suggestion...
Date: 17 April, 2013 1:02:03 PM PDT
To: Mayor&Council@nanaimo.ca
Cc: "sasha.angus@investnanaimo.com Angus"

Mayor Ruttan and Nanaimo City Councillors,

A couple of quick thoughts re VICC GM Denise Tacon's presentation to the last Council meeting.

A HR pro would probably not recommend the approach, but full marks for nerve I guess. Facing her board of directors in a performance review where she is delivering very disappointing numbers, her approach was to deflect attention to externals such as the global economic climate and a handful of local noisy nay-sayers. It did appear to elicit some commiseration and sympathy from some Councillors so I guess it wasn't a bad tactic after all.

On a much more important note, I had the feeling that she was unable to answer, to some Councillors' satisfaction, questions about  projected revenues, multiplier ratios, and the volume and analysis of "millions of dollars injected into the local economy". These are very difficult to quantify but I'm sure you all agree it's important we have as clear and accurate a picture of them as possible.

From Schumacher Center
For New Economics
— What Jane Jacobs
Can Teach Us About the Economy

How is that economic stimulus package working for you? Think TARP was worth those billions? Perhaps our financial system is back from the brink, but just how far — or how long until we're staring down that same precipice — is not clear. Aside from healthy investment-house bonuses and the fact that General Motors still exists, most have seen little change. While our financial pundits are still scratching their heads over why our financial structure plummeted so spectacularly let alone what to do about it, many economic thinkers are turning to urban pioneer Jane Jacobs.  Ream more: Economic Ideas that Matter/Jane Jacobs | Schumacher Center For New Economics

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

From Inhabitat
Herzog & de Meuron Break Ground on
Solar-Powered Bordeaux Stadium

Herzog & de Meuron first unveiled plans for the gorgeous solar-powered Stade de Bordeaux in 2011 – and they just broke ground on it last week! The Swiss architecture firm designed the airy stadium complex for the Euro 2016 football championship. Set to be completed by 2015, the 43,500-seat stadium features a massive solar photovoltaic plant that will harness electricity for sports games as well as the area surrounding the stadium.

Read more: Herzog & de Meuron Break Ground on Solar-Powered Bordeaux Stadium | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building Herzog & de Meuron Break Ground on Solar-Powered Bordeaux Stadium | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

From Planetizen Courses —
Google Earth for Planners

These videos introduce you to Google Earth. The session will explore basic tasks for using Google Earth in planning. Topics will include finding places, moving around them, saving a location, viewing a site photo and capturing images for presentation. The subject matter is a compelling exploration of Washington DC with a discussion of the tool's applicability to planning. More at:  Google Earth for Planners - Introduction | Planetizen Courses

"'Whenever we increase road space we increase traffic. We are not fundamentally solving the problem of congestion." @BrentToderian

Sunday, April 14, 2013

From Planetizen Courses —
Twitter for Planning

Explore how to use Twitter to engage with the public in planning processes. Learn how to take those 140 character messages and turn them into meaningful analysis that can influence your planning process. More at: Twitter for Planning | Planetizen Courses

Friday, April 12, 2013

From polis — Poverty Below the High Line

Of all the factors that contribute to urban livability — including public health, education and infrastructure — policy is often focused disproportionately on economic growth. In pursuit of this assumed prerequisite for prosperity, municipal governments around the world are investing in urban design. At the same time, this investment is fueling inequality and displacement. The allocation of public funds to places of high economic potential favors the rich, creating an unfair playing field for all tax-payers. One of the most striking examples of this trend is the High Line in New York City. Read more: polis: Poverty Below the High Line

From Stroad to Boulevard
David Suzuki Foundation Video Advocates Use of BC’s Carbon Tax to Fund Transit

A video advocating for the use of BC’s carbon tax revenue on transit includes a sequence in which a four-plus-one stroad is turned into a complete street. (Click the arrows on the side of the image to see the sequence.) I note that the street transformation precedes the building redevelopments, which I think reflects reality: government, with their monopoly on streets, must lead private developers in stroad retrofits. No one’s going to hang a flower basket on a freeway; and developers rightly recoil from the horrible stroad environment, setting buildings back and putting parking out front. Read more: Stroad to Boulevard • A video advocating for the use of BC’s carbon tax...

The video has been taken down from the Susuki Foundation website for the duration of the provincial election campaign. Here (thanks to stroadtoboulevard.tumblr.com) is the 4 part sequence showing the evolution of a "stroad" to a shared boulevard shared by cars, transit, cyclists and other non-motorized mobility and pedestrians.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

From The Atlantic Cities
New Chicago Plan:
Pedestrians Come First

Tucked inside the new Complete Streets Design Guidelines that the city of Chicago is about to debut, pasted onto page 10, is a reproduction of a Chicago Tribune news blurb from May 6, of 1913 with this irresistible headline: “SPEEDER WANTS ALL STREET: Motorist Complains to Judge Because Pedestrian Gets in Way.”

Pedestrian advocates exactly a century later will be happy to know that our 19-year-old anti-hero, Harold Bracken (son of a saloonkeeper!), was fined by the court $200 for knocking over a pedestrian on Michigan Avenue with his speeding car. An equally awesome detail: Our injured pedestrian got up, jumped into a passing car, caught up with Bracken and had him arrested. In doling out the fine, a municipal judge declared, "The Streets of Chicago belong to the city, not to automobilists."

This is, in short, the guiding philosophy for how Chicago’s Department of Transportation is now planning to look at all of its projects. A local judge may have expressed the sentiment a century ago. But in reality, in the Second City – as in just about every American metro – autos have long dominated city streets and how we think about who uses them, why they exist and what defines them as successful. This summer, though, Chicago is planning to roll out a small-sounding but seismic policy shift: From now on, in the design guidelines for every effort from major streetscape projects to minor roadside electrical work, transportation work must defer to a new “default modal hierarchy.” The pedestrian comes first.

Read more: New Chicago Plan: Pedestrians Come First - Emily Badger - The Atlantic Cities

From Henriquez Partners Architects Archimemo — Council Approves Refugee "Welcome House Centre"

In an interview with the CBC yesterday, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS of BC) director Chris Friesen announced that Vancouver City Council has approved a new, first of its kind in the world, 58,000 square foot facility that will address the needs of immigrants and refugees.

Henriquez Partners Architects, ISS of BC, and Terra Housing are working together to create a fully integrated regional service hub that brings together a variety of essential organizations, programs, and services that address the needs of immigrants and refugee newcomers to Vancouver.Read more: Council Approves Refugee "Welcome House Centre" | Archimemo

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

From Living Streets — Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment

Living Streets is pleased to present its new report, Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment. Researched by a multi-disciplinary team of experts from the University of the West of England and Cavill Associates, the report brings together and evaluates the multiple health, economic, social and environmental benefits of investment in walking friendly public spaces. It draws on inspiring case studies of schemes which have resulted in safer and more attractive public places in neighbourhoods and city centres in the UK and elsewhere. Read more: Making the case for investment in the walking environment | Living Streets

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

From Planetizen Courses —
SketchUp for Planners - Advanced

Master the advanced features of SketchUp, including modelling historic structures and real-world buildings, working with SketchUp Plugins, and modelling complex forms.  More at: SketchUp for Planners - Advanced | Planetizen Courses

From The Atlantic Cities
A Digital Mixing Board for Your Street

We can imagine this coming in handy for both planners and newcomers to the planning process. StreetMix's developers are hoping to produce a mobile version for use with a tablet on the street, or in a meeting. As it evolves, StreetMix will also include more of the features you may really want in your ideal street: cycle tracks, parklets, edible medians. If you've got more ideas, Code for America wants to hear them: streetmix@codeforamerica.org. Read more: A Digital Mixing Board for Your Street - Emily Badger - The Atlantic Cities

Monday, April 8, 2013

From This Big City
Four Videos About Smarter Cities

Smarter Cities: Computer models that predict the likely location of a crime and focus police resources to prevent it; intelligent traffic lights and parking systems that dramatically reduce congestion; all the information you need in an emergency when and where you need it – if a flood occurs an alert is sent out to emergency services, hospitals and traffic planners to coordinate the response. It’s all about the intelligent integration of data, technology, communications and good government.

Chaired by Tony Travers from the London School of Economics, the debate has now found its way online in the form of these four videos. More at: Four Videos About Smarter Cities | This Big City

Saturday, April 6, 2013

New York City Street Design Manual

The New York City Street Design Manual provides policies and design guidelines to city agencies, design professionals, private developers and community groups for the improvement of streets and sidewalks throughout the five boroughs. It is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource for promoting higher quality street designs and more efficient project implementation. Download: NYC DOT - Street Design Manual

From Planetizen Courses —
SketchUp for Planners - Intermediate Part 2

In addition to accurately modelling projects, as demonstrated in the introductory courses, SketchUp is also useful for illustrating more abstract concepts, such as FAR, dimensional requirements and design guidelines. This course demonstrates how planners use SketchUp to illustrate requirements in zoning codes, design guidelines and form based codes. More at: SketchUp for Planners - Intermediate Part 2 | Planetizen Courses

From Strong Towns — Embracing Congestion

CHARLES MAROHN When I suggest that we convert our STROADS back into streets -- changing unproductive transportation corridors into platforms for growth and investment -- the push back I get is that congestion will become unbearable. If we narrow those lanes, bring back the on-street parking, take out the turn lanes, remove the traffic signals, slow the automobile speeds and welcome a more complex urban environment, somehow we wouldn't all be able to rapidly get to where we want to go.

To this I say: AMEN!

We have spent untold amounts of wealth reducing the time spent in the first and last mile of each auto trip. The result: a nation of fragile and unproductive places, an economy subsisting on financial meth and other desperation moves along with a built environment that forces nearly all of us to drive everywhere we need to go. Read more: Embracing Congestion - Strong Towns Blog - Strong Towns

The Atlantic Cities Bracket Challenge Championship Round —
Pedestrian Street Vs Bike Lanes

It's all come down to this. Two early favorites, together responsible for about a quarter of the bracket winners, face off in our championship match.

The Pedestrian Street easily trumped the Waterfront Promenade, 69-31, to advance to the finals. On the left side of the bracket, Bike Lanes sent congestion pricing back to the theoretical realm, 60-40, in a match-up that many people found particularly aggravating, for reasons that commenter Quinn Raymond elucidated at the very start of the bracket challenge: "The final question is basically, 'Would you rather stab yourself in the face or the chest?'"

(Confused? Check out the Final Four, the Elite Eight, the Sweet Sixteen, or the initial post for more info on the entries.) More at: The Urbanist Toolkit Bracket Challenge - Henry Grabar - The Atlantic Cities

Friday, April 5, 2013

From Planetizen Courses —
Design in Planning: An Overview

In this course, Planetizen brings you an overview of design in planning. Using real world examples from design guidelines, plans, and manuals, city planner Jason Kambitsis looks at how code, practice and guidelines precipitate design and the form of our cities. This overview is for students of city planning or planners who desire a refreshing overview of land use and form based codes and best practices in design formation and implementation in the United States. Read more: Design in Planning: An Overview | Planetizen Courses

From Planetizen Courses —
SketchUp for Planners - Intermediate Part 1

Building on Introductory SketchUp for Planners, this course introduces intermediate SketchUp users to the program’s geolocation functions and demonstrates how to create more complex models of planned projects or developments. Additionally, this course illustrates how to create and export video walk-throughs of SketchUp models using the program’s animation features. SketchUp for Planners - Intermediate Part 1 | Planetizen Courses

Nanaimo Tees Up the Next
Wasteful, Neighbourhood-Destroying Roadbuilding Project

Second only to the Island Highway, Bowen Road is another destructive, dangerous, neighbourhood-killing arterial stroad. This latest project brings to something approaching $20 million spent or to be spent on Bowen Road to address "congestion" at two intersections. Nanaimo seems to think it can be the one city in the world that can road-build its way out the problems created by the car. You may not be surprised to learn that this approach has produced no evidence of its efficacy. This first graphic identifies the problems as perceived by the Traffic Engineers: collisions, congestion, access, volumes, configurations:

In the second graphic the solutions brought to these problems are identified as "Planning Process Outcome". Problems that were concentrated on Bowen Road will be happily dispersed across the neighbourhood where they will apparently disappear. 

I asked City Councillor George Anderson, Chair of the Transportation Committee which is currently quarterbacking a Transportation Master Plan for detail (cost, maps, rationale, part played in the Transportation Master Plan etc) of the Boxwood Road / Bowen Rd project. He received and relayed this response from staff: (emphasis mine)

"Bowen Road and Northfield Road are arterial roads in the City network. The intersection of Bowen / Northfield has the highest collision history of any City owned intersection and is one of the most congested. The attached maps provide good information.

This project is intended to provide a long term solution to safety issues, traffic growth, access configurations and property development issues in the surrounding area.  The project will support the development of the surrounding area as an urban neighbourhood and mixed use centre that supports the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and public transit.  The main component of the plan is the development of an additional network link to reduce the demand through the Bowen / Northfield intersection. 

The Bowen Northfield intersection was identified for improvement in the late 90's. Since that time the City has monitored traffic volume and flow and has had design input sessions with businesses and residents in the area

The current cost estimate for design and construction of this project, which includes the Boxwood Road Connector and Northfield Road Improvements, is $6.9 million and this is almost entirely funded through Development Cost Charges. 

The current timing has the project construction scheduled for 2016 in the 5 Year Financial Plan. 

This project was determined to be a priority before the Transportation Master Plan process was initiated and significant money has already been spent to move this project forward. However, the Transportation Master Plan will consider the priority and scope of this project along with other Transportation Projects. "

If you haven't already, pause and think carefully about the second paragraph in the Traffic Engineers' response. Road-builders are going to create an "urban neighbourhood and mixed use centre that supports the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and public transit." This is of course terrific news if you happen to think they have any idea what they're talking about.  They just need one more "network link to reduce the demand" and we're the next Copenhagen. Some days you just fear for the English language.

Here's Peter Ladner commenting on Frances Bula's blog:

"Let’s put ALL the transportation projects into one pile, not just the transit ones. Let’s assume transit had as easy and unquestioning access to provincial money as highways and (some) bridges. Then let’s evaluate each project by agreed-upon criteria (people moved, capital costs, operating costs, economic impact, congestion reduction, health costs, environmental impact, land use impact, goods-movement, impact on other modes…) and prioritize the ones that rank highest. ... Remember, there’s just one taxpayer."

Note Ladner mentions people moved, not cars. I think he needs to accept that congestion reduction is an illusory goal. You can't road-build your way out of congestion. His criteria  cover important ground here but importantly, he misses the harm or benefits to our neighbourhoods.

From The Atlantic Cities
Lots of Cars and Trucks, No Traffic Signs
Or Lights: Chaos or Calm?

No traffic lights. No traffic signs. No painted lines in the roadway. No curbs. And 26,000 vehicles passing every day through a traditional village center with busy pedestrian traffic.
It’s called "shared space." Is it insanity, or the most rational way to create a pleasant place where drivers, cyclists, and people on foot all treat each other with respect?

More at: Lots of Cars and Trucks, No Traffic Signs or Lights: Chaos or Calm? - Sarah Goodyear - The Atlantic Cities

Thursday, April 4, 2013

From Sustainable Cities Collective
Making Cities Places For
The Young and the Aging

While young couples can maintain a large suburban home and rely on their automobile for their mobility, some elderly people have trouble driving, and in some cases are unable to drive. In this case, it is crucial that neighbourhoods be walkable, and that they offer public transit options that are reliable and frequent, as well as safe and comfortable. For one thing, public transit should be accessible by wheelchair.

Montreal is not perfect for the elderly either. Public transit is not easy to maneuver given decreased mobility – and one cannot always get a seat on the metro or the bus. Furthermore, Montreal is famous for its 3-story walk-ups. Acceptable for a young couple, the steep and outdoor stairs of these apartment buildings are treacherous for some elderly residents. Read more: Making Cities Places For the Young and the Aging | Sustainable Cities Collective

—@acoyne sings @JeffSpeckAICP @strongtowns songbook: explains
"induced traffic" "road pricing"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

From good.is — Brent Toderian on Density, Neighborliness, and the Concentrated 'We'

Brent Toderian
When I think about neighbors, I think about density. That's likely because my work includes occasionally travelling the world talking about great city-building, including what I call "density done well."

I discuss all the public interest benefits of smart densification in cities, designing for more people on less land using less resources, from lowering our carbon footprint and increasing our energy resiliency, to making walking, biking and transit more inviting, improving our public health, and avoiding the bankrupting economic costs of sprawl.

However, my favorite way of thinking about density is by looking at people. Putting more people together in beautifully designed neighborhoods and places, supports everything that makes us human, from creativity, tolerance, and happiness—to even sexiness!

Last weekend, while running errands in my downtown neighborhood, surrounded by my fellow Vancouverites, I was inspired to tweet this thought:

"Great cities are a place to revel in a shared civic life. It's the people, the mixed & concentrated "we" that I love so much about cities!

Read more: Density, Neighborliness, and the Concentrated 'We' | Living on GOOD

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

From Project for Public Spaces — Placemaking Leadership Council April 11 - 12

Placemaking Leadership Council to be held in Detroit, home of wonderful Campus Martius Park / Photo: PPS
For those of us who are passionate about the public spaces in our communities, this is an extraordinary time. The general awareness of the importance of a strong sense of place—to the economy, to our social fabric, to human health—is growing stronger every day. Placemaking is, at this moment, being transformed from a useful tool to a vital cause by people throughout the world. As one of those rare processes that can bring people with different objectives together under the same banner, Placemaking is uniquely suited to help us grapple with the complex challenges that we face in a globalized society. After almost four decades of working in this field, we are reaching out to peers new and old to form a Placemaking Leadership Council to consolidate and strengthen Placemaking as an international movement. Read more: Project for Public Spaces | Announcing the Placemaking Leadership Council

Monday, April 1, 2013

From Project for Public Spaces
Detroit Leads the Way on
Place-Centered Revitalization

Future plans for Cadillac Square call for a lively marketplace / Image: PPS
Project for Public Places' involvement began last September, when PPS joined Terremark Partners,Shook Kelley, and Gibbs Planning Group for a charrette organized by Rock Ventures. “We proposed developing a Placemaking vision for the major public spaces, and refining the plan through the Power of 10 concept,” says Meg Walker, a Vice President at PPS who worked on the project. “That’s been a key factor from the start. A lot of developers aren’t as enlightened as Dan Gilbert…they wouldn’t necessarily think about the glue that’s holding this all together.”Read more at: Project for Public Spaces | Detroit Leads the Way on Place-Centered Revitalization

From Good.is — How To: Build a Better Block

Unhappy with what's going on in your neighborhood? If you're like most people, you might attend a meeting at your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organization and may soon realize that the loudest voices at these meetings tend to have the fewest new ideas. That was the experience of Jason Roberts, an IT consultant and bike advocate living in the historic Oak Cliff Community in Dallas, Texas. But rather than join the chorus of complainers, he took action. Read more: How To: Build a Better Block | Design on GOOD