Wednesday, March 30, 2016

From The Wall Street Journal
Classic New York Streetscapes, Then and Now

It is an essential paradox of New York City that its streetscapes seem both ageless and ever-evolving. Photographer Berenice Abbott captured that vibrant contradiction in the 1930s when she created her landmark series “Changing New York,” more than 300 black-and-white images of the metropolis shot with a large-format camera while she was working under the auspices of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. Her visual time capsule documents everything from soaring skyscrapers to neighbourhood storefronts, churches, tenements, warehouses and bridges.

What makes New York is how we recycle buildings. 
Mitchell Moss, professor of urban policy and planning at New York University

The New York Public Library recently released free, high-resolution scans of the “Changing New York” portfolio, prompting one Wall Street Journal photographer to reshoot more than a dozen of Abbott’s images of Manhattan and Brooklyn. They reveal how much, and in some cases, how little, New York City has changed. Read more: Classic New York Streetscapes, Then and Now - WSJ

From CityLab — Why Reston, Virginia
Still Inspires Planners 50 Years Later

Official Trailer: Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston, VA from Rebekah Wingert-Jabi on Vimeo. 
It’s rare for a 1960s suburban development to exert a cultural pull distinct from its neighboring city, but Reston pulled it off. 
Situated about 20 miles from Washington, D.C., in what used to be northern Virginia farmland, this settlement has attracted generations of urbanists for its people-first brand of development. When Robert E. Simon Jr. bought the land and planned his flagship project, he insisted on walkability, density, access to nature and green space, and diversity of races and income levels. He didn’t invent these principles—his inspirations were hundreds of years old—but he and his successors managed to realize them at a scale and level of success that hadn’t been seen before. Read more: Why Reston, Virginia, Still Inspires Planners 50 Years Later - CityLab

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bike, pedestrian-friendly cities are worth the fight says former NYC transport planner - British Columbia - CBC News

Bike, pedestrian-friendly cities are worth the fight says former NYC transport planner - British Columbia - CBC News

Thursday, March 24, 2016

“People are looking for experiences as opposed to things and best value as opposed to lowest price.” Johanna Hurme @546arch

From CityLab — Why Race Matters
in Planning Public Parks

Houston is embarking upon a $220 million parks project called Bayou Greenways 2020, a 150-mile network of continuous hiking trails, biking paths, and green space that will run throughout the city. When completed in 2020, it will make good on plans made by the urban planner Arthur Comey in 1912 to connect the city’s parks with the many strips of bayous scratching open the Houston landscape. Residents approved by ballot referendum a $166 million bond in 2012 to pay for the Bayou Greenways 2020 project, and for improvements to the near-50,000 acres of park space in the city. The goal is to connect the area’s bayous and parks to neighborhoods spanning the region. 
While this connectivity is the stated priority for this massive parks overhaul, not everyone in Houston is feeling it. In fact, connectivity seems to matter most only to Houston’s whiter and wealthier residents. When the city’s parks and recreation department conducted its Master Plan Parks Survey in 2014, the majority of respondents replied that they wanted their neighborhoods and parks linked to biking and walking paths. The problem with that survey is that about two-thirds of the respondents were white with household incomes over $75,000. This is clearly not a good starting point for Houston, one of the most racially diverse, (and heavily segregated) cities in the country. Read more : In Texas, Houston's Bayou Greenways 2020 Parks Project Aims To Meet the Needs of People of Color - CityLab

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

@JSadikKhan #Streetfight
Vancouver live tweets —
We can reclaim our streets today.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

From ArchDaily
Inclusivity as Architectural Program:
A Reflection on Vancouver's Woodward’s Redevelopment Five Years On

Officially opened in 2010, the Woodward’s Redevelopment project designed by Vancouver basedHenriquez Partners Architects and situated in the city’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), was a contentious proposal from the time of its inception, and has continued to be so in the almost five years since its completion. Yet as the large-scale mixed-use complex, and its role in the community, nears the first of many milestone anniversaries, it offers us a chance for critical reflection and allows for perceptions and understandings to be gathered and assessed. Read more: Inclusivity as Architectural Program: A Reflection on Vancouver's Woodward’s Redevelopment Five Years On

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

From @AirPano
Manhattan panorama from a helicopter

Courtesy of

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Why Vancouver has 5 times more kids than Seattle, 9 times more than Portland

When a developer builds a family apartment in Vancouver BC’s downtown peninsula, the dining room comes with easy-to-clean floors that can handle spilled yogurt or spaghetti. Condo and rowhouse projects must have accessible stroller storage and outdoor play spaces, ideally where parents can look out a kitchen window and keep an eye on their kids. 
As of Canada’s 2011 Census, downtown Vancouver’s urban neighborhoods were home to nearly five times more kids than Seattle’s and nearly 9 times more than Portland’s. Read more: Sightline Institute: Are you planning to have kids? (Part 1)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

From Harvard Business Review
Why Today’s Corporate Research
Centers Need to Be in Cities

Midtown Atlanta is an example of the growing trend of companies relocating major research facilities to be near urban universities that provide mixed-use amenities, lively places, and a high density of firms. For example, Pfizer recently moved one of its largest research centers to Kendall Square in Cambridge, blocks from MIT, and Google now has its machine learning research hub in Baker Square in Pittsburgh, near Carnegie Mellon University. 
What’s driving companies to relocate near urban universities is the changing role of innovation within the private sector as firms are increasingly relying on external sources to support technology development. Read more: Why Today’s Corporate Research Centers Need to Be in Cities

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

From Project for Public Spaces
Placemaking and the human scale city

7th Street SE in Washington, DC | James Calder via Flickr
Human scale advocates share a common concern about the impacts of unrestricted development on our neighbourhoods. Project for Public Spaces is active in this international discussion, but rather than directly protesting developers or luxury housing or zoning changes, we frame the conversation differently – everyone has the right to live in a human scale city, and one way to achieve this is through placemaking. 
DEFINING THE HUMAN SCALE In its simplest definition, creating a human scale environment means making sure that the objects that we interact with every day are of a size and shape that is reasonable for an average person to use. That’s why our stairs have a 7 inch rise and an 11 inch run, for example, and why our doorways are 80 inches. Read more: Placemaking and the Human Scale City - Project for Public Spaces