Friday, January 31, 2014

How Most Traffic Engineers See Your City

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Best City Blogs Around the World

To get a better view of what's really happening across the world, get to know the local urban voices who cover their home cities most insightfully. Here's an initial list of friends, from Detroit to Addis Ababa ... Click on the pin points to reveal the blogs. Plus, you can follow the global city bloggers on Twitter More at: The best city blogs around the world – an interactive guide | Cities |

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Project for Public Spaces | William H. Whyte

Project for Public Spaces | William H. Whyte

From NPR — Gentrification May
Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents

Meredith Rizzo/NPR
Gentrification burst into the social consciousness on Aug. 6, 1988, with the Tompkins Square Park riot in New York City's East Village. Residents carried signs saying "Gentrification is class war." Police carried batons. The bloody battle that ensued left more than 100 people injured. The protesters' fury centered on the idea that the poor would be made homeless so the rich could live in their neighborhoods, destroying whatever character they may have had.
Lance Freeman, the director of the Urban Planning program at Columbia University, says that's what he believed was happening, too. He launched a study, first in Harlem and then nationally, calculating how many people were pushed out of their homes when wealthy people moved in. Read more: Gentrification May Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents : NPR

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

From The Cairo Review of Global Affairs — Jaime Lerner: Our Urban Dream

The twenty-first century marks the consolidation of a demographic shift that was set in motion by the industrial revolution and has not stopped gaining momentum since. Around the world, the supremacy of rural populations over urban ones has been reversed and cities have experienced accelerated growth. They have been through deep transformations that have left a legacy of fantastic possibilities and challenges.
In terms of physical configuration, cities of the future will not differ significantly from the ones of yesterday and today. What will differentiate the good city will be its quality of life. Socially just and environmentally sound cities—that is the quest. 
Read more: Our Urban Dream
Jaime Lerner is an architect and urban planner. From 1994 to 2002, he was governor of the state of Paraná, in southern Brazil. He previously served three terms as mayor of Curitiba, Paraná’s capital. Among his many awards are the United Nations Environmental Award (1990), the Child and Peace Award from UNICEF (1996), and the World Technology Award for Transportation (2001)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tactical Urbanism

Tactical Urbanism: An Introduction Planetizen Courses

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"walking & exposed parking don't mix" — @SprawlRepairMnl

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Technology Is Not Driving Us Apart After All

In September 2008, two graduate students working for Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers, raised a camera atop a 16-foot tripod to film down into Bryant Park, the sprawling green space behind the main branch of the New York Public Library. They hit record, then milled about nearby pretending they had nothing to do with the rig, as it semi-surreptitiously filmed the comings and goings of hundreds of New Yorkers. The charade didn’t last. After an hour, Lauren Sessions Goulet, the more senior of the pair, found herself talking to the park’s private security force, which sent her to see their bosses, the Bryant Park Corporation. She was nervous. Read more: Technology Is Not Driving Us Apart After All -

From Quartz — What a City Needs to
Foster Innovation: Cafes, Bike Lanes
And 3D Printers

Once upon a time, innovation was an isolationist sport. In America’s innovative economy 20 years ago, a worker drove to a nondescript office campus along a suburban corridor, worked in isolation, and kept ideas secret.
Today, by contrast and partly a result of the Great Recession, proximity is everything. Talented people want to work and live in urban places that are walkable, bike-able, connected by transit, and hyper-caffeinated. Major companies across multiple sectors are practicing “open innovation” and want to be close to other firms, research labs, and universities. Entrepreneurs want to start their companies in collaborative spaces, where they can share ideas and have efficient access to everything from legal advice to sophisticated lab equipment. Read more: What a city needs to foster innovation: cafes, bike lanes, and 3D printers - Quartz

Friday, January 24, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

From Metropolis Magazine
Game Changer: Alastair Parvin's WikiHouse

The brain behind WikiHouse, an open-sourced platform that promises to remake the field. Is it a threat to the primacy of the architect, or a glimpse into our digital design future? Read more:

Game Changer: Alastair Parvin - Metropolis Magazine - January 2014

Trevor Boddy on Bing Thom:
(Curving) Lines of Thought

The Vancouver architecture practice of Bing Thom has over the past two years received the highest possible accolades from its Canadian colleagues: the 2010 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s award for top architectural firm, and in 2011, the R.A.I.C. Gold Medal went to Thom personally for his lifetime of achievement in design. The reason for this attention is that in an architectural landscape that rewards bland competency over creative innovation, the works of Bing Thom stand out. Bing Thom’s work is unpredictable, and in times when public and campus architecture evermore resemble beltway branch offices, predictability reigns king. While large corporate firms reliably deliver the high-end of generically urbane and green public building commissions, Bing Thom gets the strange but wonderful work—or more accurately, he makes it strange and wonderful. Read more: (Curving) Lines of Thought | ARCADE | Dialogue on Design

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

From Price Tags — Agony in Langley:
Problems of Car-Dependent Communities

All the problems of suburban transportation in one handy story from the Langley Advance. A bad fit for car-dependent communities. Read more: Agony in Langley: Problems of car-dependent communities | Price Tags

Monday, January 13, 2014

From Guggenheim Blogs
The Power of Public Space

The discussion around public space today is one that touches every aspect of human life in cities. It encompasses our right to gather in solidarity and protest, as we witnessed in Istanbul’s Gezi Park earlier this year; our prioritization of people over vehicles; and our commitment to joyful urban experiences. Public space has become a priority for city makers and city dwellers the world over, and even UN-Habitat, with their recent commitment to developing an official resolution on sustainable urban development through access to quality urban public spaces, has set public space at the top of their agenda.
Clearly, public space is now seen as being more that a luxury. But what, then, is it? And where do we need to take the discussion from here in order to push it forward? To answer some of these questions, I caught up with place maker extraordinaire and one of the world’s most well-versed and active players in the world of public space development: Ethan Kent, Vice President of Project for Public Spaces (PPS). Founded in 1975 by Fred Kent to expand on the work of urbanist and author William H. Whyte, PPS has worked in thousands of communities around the world to improve public spaces. Read more: TBC: The Power of Public Space - Guggenheim Blogs

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

From The Tyee —False Creek South:
An Experiment in Community

Sky-high rents and housing prices are among Vancouver's most pressing and persistent challenges. The answer, experts and developers say, is more "density" -- packing more people into every square kilometre of Vancouver.
Proposals to "densify" several areas of the city boiled over this year into neighbourhood rebellions and even tense picket lines.
Yet overlooked in the sparring are 6,000 Vancouverites quietly living a "densified" life in a community created decades ago in a moment of unprecedented, and unrepeated, alignment of municipal, provincial and federal urban visions.
False Creek South was created 40 years ago on city-owned land in the belief that mixed-income, green and walkable neighbourhoods could foster a real downtown community in the Age of Suburbs. But now city leases and federal funding that made the project possible are ticking down to their end-dates.
Tyee Solutions Society housing reporter David P. Ball explored one of the country's most audacious, if now long-forgotten, experiments in social and urban engineering -- and found lots to appreciate, and plenty to question, in the new millennium. Read more: The Tyee – False Creek South: An Experiment in Community

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

From The Atlantic Cities
Safer Streets Pay Off for Businesses

SARAH GOODYEAR  The New York City Department of Transportation, which installed dozens of pedestrian plazas and hundreds of miles of bike lanes over the last six years, wanted to know [how you measure the financial impact of more human-centric design]. They found that no one had developed a compelling model. So the agency set out to create its own methodology. Read more: Safer Streets Pay Off for Businesses - Sarah Goodyear - The Atlantic Cities

Sunday, January 5, 2014

MIT Dept. of Urban Studies + Planning —Places in the Making: How Placemaking
Builds Places and Community

"In an era marked by instant communication, crowd-sourced production, and rapid prototyping, it’s no surprise that the processes shaping our public realm have evolved to fit the times."

Via Places in the Making, a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's DUSP: Places in the making How Placemaking builds Places and Community MIT

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bicycle Culture by Design: Mexican Bicycle Town Fights for Country's First Slow Zone

It all starts at around 12:45 PM. A stream of mostly female cyclists starts flowing erratically from several cross-streets, weaving through downtown of the Mexican town of San Andrés Cholula in all directions. They are rushing to pick their kids up from the several schools located in this area. Most of their bicycles feature improvised small wooden seats fixed to the upper part of the frame, right where their children can grasp the handlebar while being protected by their mothers’ arms. However, it is when they are riding with their children when they seem the most vulnerable. In the middle of rush hour, they have to brave impatient speeding cars, distracted pedestrians and the many other cyclists that share the main road. This reality will soon change if the urban cycling collective Cholula en Bici succeeds in implementing Mexico’s first official slow zone. The campaign called Cholula Zona 30 would reduce the speed limit to 30 km/h through a redesign of the streets in a 5 km-wide perimeter in the center of San Andrés Cholula. 

Read more: - Bicycle Culture by Design: Mexican Bicycle Town Fights for Country's First Slow Zone

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Stroll Around the World

This essay in the NY Times was circulating on social media and blogs a couple of weeks ago. Pulitzer Prize-winning National Geographic journalist Paul Salopek sets out from Ethiopia to “walk across the world”.
The “Out of Eden Walk,” as I’m calling it, uses deep history as a mirror for current events. But even as I adhere strictly to my brand of bipedal journalism, trying as it were to put myself in a Pleistocene state of mind, cars keep roaring into my awareness. They are inescapable. They are without a doubt the defining artifacts of our civilization. They have reshaped our minds in ways that we long ago ceased thinking about.
There are two insights in the essay which I continue to find useful, even profound — 1, the car as prosthetic:
The writer Rebecca Solnit nails this mind-set perfectly in her book “Wanderlust: A History of Walking”: “In a sense the car has become a prosthetic, and though prosthetics are usually for injured or missing limbs, the auto-prosthetic is for a conceptually impaired body or a body impaired by the creation of a world that is no longer human in scale.” — Salopek calls it “Car Brain”.
And 2. When behind the wheel motorists “squint with curiosity out of the privacy of their cars as if they themselves were invisible.” When we first sit behind that wheel all our instincts tell us that we need to exercise extreme caution in mastering skills which are deeply foreign to us. White knuckles and cold sweat. Entirely appropriate reactions which are soon followed by the overconfidence that operating huge vehicles at high speed requires no care or anxiety on our part at all. No more than walking across a room. We become a kind of invisible.

As has been well documented, this hubris is reinforced by the way we have designed our cities. More precisely the way planners and engineers have laid out the street and road systems that have in turned designed our cities. Huge investments in public space — city streets — have been allocated almost exclusively to automobiles, the vast majority of which contain a single citizen. Read more: A Stroll Around the World -

Paul Salopek on Twitter: @PaulSalopek 
Out of Eden Walk
Out Of Eden Walk - Dispatches from the Field from Paul Salopek

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

From The Atlantic Cities
A Before-and-After Guide to Safer Streets

  • ERIC JAFFE In the past decade or so, New York has seen a considerable decline in traffic fatalities (30 percent since 2001) and an even more dramatic decrease in the risk of serious injury among cyclists (72 percent since 2000). 

  • At the heart of these public safety achievements is better street design. City streets are far from perfect, but as officials have reduced space for cars, they've improved mobility for everyone. Read more: A Before-and-After Guide to Safer Streets - Eric Jaffe - The Atlantic Cities
NYC DOT Making Streets Safer pdf.