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 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

Thursday, September 5, 2013

From Strong Towns Blog
Setting Priorities at the Dept of Transportation


Last week I was asked to privately comment on a priority ranking system being developed by a state DOT. After providing a (not flattering) critique of the proposed ranking system, I then offered my thoughts on how I would develop one.

Since I'm quite confident my suggestions will generate little more than amusement for anyone beyond the individuals/organization that requested my thoughts, I've decided to share them here. I'm not trying to embarrass any specific DOT or endanger any relationship (I was asked to comment in private) and so I've replaced the name with XDOT. Go ahead and substitute whatever your local DOT is because my advice would be the same. Read more: Setting Priorities at the DOT - Strong Towns Blog - Strong Towns

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From This Big City
#citydata: Ten Facts About Cities

The #citydata series has been going down a storm on Tumblr and Facebook, sharing factoids about cities in a highly visual format. After consolidating the first ten parts into a post on This Big City a few weeks back, it’s time for another instalment.

Read more:#citydata: Ten Facts About Cities (Part 2) | This Big City

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

From Car Free Baltimore — 6 Small Ways
To Make Baltimore More Livable Right Now

Bellingham, WA. Small changes, big impact.
While Baltimore waits for a new arena, and a handful of other big projects, here are a few smaller things that can be done right now to make people say, “Hey, this place is alright”.

1. Low Cost Transit Improvements

Eric Hatch’s ideas are gold, so I don’t need to repeat them here. I especially liked his points about extending transit operating hours to 3am, adding light rail infill stations, and inter-neighborhood shuttle bugs. Having lived in Hampden for a few months now, I can say the neighborhood is a transit desert and needs better connections to Johns Hopkins and downtown. Baltimore has been car-focused for so long that we have to make transit twice as good to attract more choice riders. Small improvements which show MTA cares about quality are a first step. Also, may it’s time to rethink the entire bus network like Portland did in 1982. Read more: Ways We Can Make Baltimore More Livable Right Now | Car Free Baltimore

Monday, September 2, 2013