Posts tagged Urban Planning
Posts tagged Urban Planning
This is What Downtown Looks Like When Your Employees All Live in the Suburbs
Just watched Detropia. I have a lot of respect for Detroit’s mayor Dave Bing. Difficult times & difficult decisions.
While many citizens demand more from their city, unfortunately the city cannot provide for them. Transportation, police, and fire services all had to be cut. So after declaring bankrupt what happens next?
Uproar demonstrates political leaders are tone-deaf when it comes to hearing what kind of city people want.
But those planners appear to be hamstrung by tight budgets and short timelines, which are fatal to successful community consultations. They don’t have the money to send out comprehensive mailings, with the result that many residents say they never knew a consultation was going on.
Where Streets Flood With the Tide, a Debate Over City Aid
Kia Gregory. July 9, 2013
As the sun began to set one recent Sunday, saltwater poured off Jamaica Bay onto West 12th Road, one of the lowest-lying areas in New York City.
Residents bolted out of their front doors to move their cars, which are often damaged by tidal flooding that occurs here about twice a month. Some older residents were all but imprisoned in their homes until as much as three feet of water receded. Children splashed around, oblivious to the looming threat.
“We do not care about budgets; we are taxpaying people,” said John Heaphy, 69, a lifelong resident of the area, Broad Channel, Queens, which is built on a marsh that juts into the bay. “From the lowest politician to the governor’s office, we’ve been begging, please help us.”
Now, the city is doing just that, budgeting $22 million to try to save the neighborhood by installing bulkheads and by raising streets and sidewalks by three feet.”
Photo: Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
“Gentrifying Into the Shelters
Ginia Belafante. July 6, 2013
This past week, The New York Post reported on the sale of a two-bedroom loft in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn to a couple in exodus from what they regarded as the oppressive trendiness of the Lower East Side. The loft, just under 1,600 square feet, sold for what the paper said was a record-setting $1 million, the highest price, apparently ever, for the sale of an apartment in a neighborhood that two decades ago could claim one of the highest murder rates in the city.
Several months earlier, the brisk sale of properties in the area had reached another high point, when an 1885 Queen Anne townhouse designed by the active turn-of-the-century Brooklyn architects the Parfitt Brothers sold for more than $2 million, making it the most expensive residential real-estate sale in Bedford-Stuyvesant’s history, according to the Web site Brownstoner. Chic bars and restaurants proliferate now, leaving Bedford-Stuyvesant as much a refuge from trendiness as the South is a refuge from college football.”
Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Midwestern DOTs Struggle to Keep Up With Forward-Thinking Residents
Across America’s Midwest, resident revolts have challenged the traditional DOT orthodoxy of continuous highway construction. The most recent battleground is St. Louis, where a growing movement is protesting a highway project first conceived in 1957.
"The evolution of state and regional transportation agencies is painfully slow in places like Missouri and Ohio, where officials are plowing ahead with pricey highway projects conceived of decades ago. But plenty of Midwesterners have different ideas for the future of their communities, and they aren’t shy about speaking up," writes Angie Schmitt.
"One after another, residents of major Midwestern cities have challenged highway projects in recent months. People in Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Oklahoma City have reached the conclusion that spending hundreds of millions of dollars on road widenings might not be in their communities’ best interests."
"Now St. Louis has a highway battle on its hands," says Schmitt. “In many ways, this fight echoes the other protest movements. The South County Connector — like Cleveland’s “Opportunity Corridor” — is a ‘zombie’ highway project," she explains. “But again, a strong opposition movement is beginning to emerge. James White, mayor of Maplewood, one of the affected communities, described the project’s purpose this way: ‘to shift one conflict traffic area to another location.’”
Full Story: Highway Revolts Break Out Across the Midwest
Published on Friday, June 28, 2013 in DC.Streetsblog
We have a number of formal and informal ways to think about what makes a good walkable community. I’ve written before about the popsicle test (can a child comfortably walk to buy a popsicle and walk back home?), the Halloween test (does the neighborhood attract kids walking door-to-door on Halloween?), and 20-minute neighborhood (can you meet most all of your daily needs within a 20-minute walk or transit ride?).
Walk Appeal… explains several things that were heretofore either contradictory or mysterious. It begins with the assertion that the quarter-mile radius (or 5-minute walk), which has been held up for a century as the distance Americans will walk before driving, is actually a myth.
Both images below are at the same scale, and the yellow dashed line is a quarter-mile radius. On the left is a power center. As we all know, if you’re at Best Buy and need to pick something up at Old Navy, there’s no way you’re walking from one store to another. Instead, you get in your car and drive as close as possible to the Old Navy front door. You’ll even wait for a parking space to open up instead of driving to an open space just a few spaces away… not because you’re lazy, but because it’s such a terrible walking experience.
The image on the right is Rome. The circles are centered on the Piazza del Popolo (North is to the left) and the Green radius goes through the Vittorio Emanuele on the right. People regularly walk that far and then keep on walking without ever thinking of driving.
Read more at: atlanticcites, 30.07.12.
Since it began in 1999, Toronto’s condo boom has added 120,000 units to the city and, in the process, transformed its urban landscape. City leaders are just now beginning to address how to accommodate these new residents.
“In the last decade, the condo boom in Toronto has stacked the skyline with towers. Now, the approximately 250,000 to 275,000 people who live in them say that, in the race to build, city planners and councillors failed to adequately consider how to create neighbourhoods,” reports Dave McGinn. “But the city is finally starting to listen.”
“’I don’t think we anticipated, say, five years ago, or even before that, that this boom was going to continue,’ says Peter Moore, project manager for the City of Toronto. Last month, the city launched the first of its kind series of public consultations to improve conditions for condo dwellers. The initiative is an acknowledgment that Toronto’s condo culture is here to stay.” From poor condo construction to inadequate green space, participants’ concerns extended from inside their units to the larger neighborhood.
“We need to be thinking much more extensively about … condos not as buildings but as part of a neighbourhood,” says Jennifer Keesmaat, the city’s chief planner. “We’re seeing a significant transition in the landscape and the form of the city at this moment that really is the impetus for us beginning to think in new ways about how neighbourhoods are defined in the city.”
By monitoring traffic patterns as well as water and power consumption, Dubuque, Iowa is improving sustainability and engaging its citizens.
Barry M. Popkin’s work as a nutritionist has spanned from Taiwan to South Africa to Mexico and the U.S. He’s the originator of the “nutrition transition” concept, a model for understanding how globalization has led to widespread changes in people’s diets around the world. A professor at the Univestity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Popkin has become well known for his 2009 book, The World Is Fat: The Fads, Trends, Policies, and Products That Are Fattening the Human Race, in which he argues how the global food industry has altered the way we eat, drink and move.
Here, Popkin talks about the complex reasons for why developing nations are adopting America-like food systems, and why reverting back to more traditional, nutritional diets en masse is going to be difficult, to say the least.
Showing an image of sprawled-out Mexico City,Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies, London School of Economics, told the crowd at the Innovative Metropolis conference hosted by the Brookings Institution and Washington University in St. Louis that we are now living in the era of the “endless city.” These cities are endless because they are humungous and also joining up together into megapolises, region-cities. But within the endless city, there are differences. As an example, Burdett said the average commute in Mexico City is 4 hours each way, while it’s just 11 minutes in Hong Kong. In other words, some are strained to the max and not very efficient while others work pretty well.
I found the part about Sao Paulo to truly describe a dysfunctional city. Over 1,000 people commute by helicopter in Sao Paulo, which is the same number as do in New York City and Hong Kong.
Many growing cities are chewing up their ecological functions. “Sao Paulo’s extraordinary city center has only grown outwards, pushing the poor out of the city.” The result: the edges have now been decimated, with people living in shacks right up to the city’s water reservoirs. Parks have almost all been totally consumed. The same story could be told for many other developing world cities.
The article concludes by stating, “Well-connected density is more likely to occur through tighter urban redevelopment projects than through more amorphous sprawled shapes,” and that reducing distances between where people live and where people work is paramount in a city that works well.
The problem/opportunity in many cities, especially prairie cities is that there are no natural barriers that hem the city in. Higher density is confusing for folks who can travel 10 minutes to the edge of the town and watch their dog run away for three days (you know, the old saying). The flat plains do nothing to determine the limits of a city.
The point is the importance of density can be confusing for some people. It takes bold decisions by elected officials and city administration to plot a course for urban centres long-term. It also involves educating people on what a world class city can look-like and be, and also the pit-falls that other cities have experienced. No one should have to take a helicopter to get to their office in the same city, we can at least all agree on that.