Sunday, February 28, 2016

From The Link
Japanese Architect Manabu Chiba Presents Alternative Design to Canadian Audience —
People First Urban Planning

Graphic Madeleine Gendreau 

Madeleine Gendreau  Walking through the city, it’s often forgotten that the environment in which we live has been wholly and meticulously planned to dictate our every move. Each intersection, metro entrance and building orientation has been sent through scores of plans and approvals to be put in its exact place. Read more: A People First Approach to Urban Planning | News – The Link

Thursday, February 25, 2016

From Urban Land Magazine
Growing Small: How Smaller, Infill Urban Developments Are Making a Big Difference

Small development is incremental. It is perhaps even surgical at times—helping infill the broken teeth of existing urban blocks or properties that have disappeared or become obsolete. 
Small development is often highly designed and “curated.” Infill development of a distinctive site within the fabric of an existing neighborhood is almost always a unique endeavor and cannot be formulaic. A project that works anywhere will not work in such a location. It has to be carefully thought out—optimizing a Rubik’s cube of density, parking, life-safety requirements, and appropriate contextual design, among many other elements.
Small development often manifests the best thinking in sustainability and mixed use. This is because the intellectual capital that gets poured into solving the Rubik’s cube begets more focused thinking about what the project should do for its environment and community. 
“Small” can heal and transform. Incrementally adding to neighborhoods adds new energy and activity, helping reveal or “polish” the intrinsic value of the existing fabric. “Small” is often the seed that leads to transformation of and reinvestment in neighborhoods at the edge.
Read more: Growing Small: How Smaller, Infill Urban Developments Are Making a Big Difference - Urban Land Magazine

Thursday, February 18, 2016

From BBC News Magazine
The slow death of purposeless walking

It is the "just to walk" category that is so beloved of creative thinkers.  
"There is something about the pace of walking and the pace of thinking that goes together. Walking requires a certain amount of attention but it leaves great parts of the time open to thinking. I do believe once you get the blood flowing through the brain it does start working more creatively," says Geoff Nicholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking.
"Your senses are sharpened. As a writer, I also use it as a form of problem solving. I'm far more likely to find a solution by going for a walk than sitting at my desk and 'thinking'. 
"Being out on your own, being free and anonymous, you discover the people around you," says Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust: A History of Walking. Read more: BBC News Magazine — The slow death of purposeless walking

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Twitter list — Architecture and design

Monday, February 8, 2016

Federation of Canadian Municipalities — Sustainable Communities Conference

Friday, February 5, 2016

From Congress for the New Urbanism
Four ways to improve cities and towns
— Jane Jacobs

A neighbourhood hearth: The Angel Café in San Francisco.
The most influential writer on urban planning in modern times, the late Jane Jacobs received the Vincent Scully Prize from the Green Building Council in 2000. Jacobs made a seminal speech offering suggestions for communities on four topics: Empowering immigrant neighbourhoods to develop freely, investing in “community hearths,” dealing with gentrification, and, finally, encouraging small business activity. Although the speech was made 15 years ago, her excerpted comments resonate today: Read more: Jane Jacobs: Four ways to improve cities and towns | CNU

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Via Urbanarium — City Debate #2
Build Fewer Towers #urbanariumvote

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

From Granola Shotgun
Transactions of Decline

A transaction of decline, as Jane Jacobs explains in Cities and the Wealth of Nations, is an attempt to mitigate a problem but it can't eliminate the cause. Further she says once they have begun as an overall policy approach, they have no ending. In this blog post Johnny Sanphillippo (he's also a contributor to Strong Towns) considers an example in Santa Rosa CA.

Santa Rosa Junior College is installing another parking lot near campus. No big deal, right? 
This is a commuter school serving people from all corners of the county. Faculty and students need places to park. This parking lot is carefully designed to meet all sorts of requirements. There’s comprehensive handicap accessibility. 
There’s a shade structure on the corner for pedestrians. I have no doubt there will be electric vehicle charging stations and that the lighting will be downward facing to preserve the night sky and view of the stars. As parking lots go this one will be as attractive and well appointed as possible.... 
This is the kind of plain vanilla project that travels through various regulatory agencies with tremendous institutional inertia and minimal community resistance. Read more: Transactions of Decline – Granola Shotgun