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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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Snohetta Creates An Urban Oasis For The Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia

Snohetta Creates An Urban Oasis For The Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia | green streets | Scoop.it

Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh is swelling in both population and capital, creating a new impetus for a metro system to solve its transit woes.


The Snohetta design aims to create an oasis at the center of a large public plaza. A large canopy would shade the public space as well as admit light to the underground station. Downward ramps allow for a gentle entry to the system. Palm trees will be aligned with an adjacent mosque, and thus Mecca, while limestone will extend to the site’s edges, signaling the openness and availability of the space to the public. Irrigation channels will both keep the trees alive, as well as provide some evaporative cooling to the space, making it a true urban oasis.


The architects write: “Our proposal for the Downtown Metro provides not only a beacon for a new urban awareness in the city but also a public space, an arena for all the citizens of Riyadh, a citizen space promoting public ownership and a new era of Social Sustainability and civic urban pride.”

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LA's Grand Park: renovated public space by Rios Clementi Hale

LA's Grand Park: renovated public space by Rios Clementi Hale | green streets | Scoop.it
Often the difference between a good city and a great one is its defining public park, which becomes a destination, a refuge, and a transformer of peoples’ conceptions of the place. Can you imagine New York without Central Park? Paris without the Tuileries or the Luxembourg Gardens? Contemporary Chicago without Millennium Park?

But when you think of Los Angeles, central urban spaces do not spring to mind. Downtown, which has been undergoing a metamorphosis in the last few years, is still culprit number one in this shortage. Its most notable park is Pershing Square, a concrete-dominated postmodern monstrosity that draws more vagrants than tourists or residents. Other small parks in the area suffer similar fates.

But the new Grand Park, whose first phase opens today (the second half should be done by the fall) is a huge step in the right direction...

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Will downtown comebacks, entrepreneurs reverse commercial sprawl?

Will downtown comebacks, entrepreneurs reverse commercial sprawl? | green streets | Scoop.it

Given the decline in demand for sprawl housing, it is inevitable that demand for commercial sprawl will decline as well. There is little question that for an abundance of reasons future development in America – both commercial and residential – is going to be more urban, more walkable, and less sprawling. The communities that prosper most as the 21st century matures will be the ones that recognize these shifts and welcome them with the right kind of planning, development, and amenities.

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What Makes a Great City: A General Theory of Walkability

What Makes a Great City: A General Theory of Walkability | green streets | Scoop.it

City engineers have turned our downtowns into places that are easy to get to but not worth arriving at.


In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time (public library), city planner Jeff Speck, who spent four years leading the design division of the National Endowment for the Arts working directly with a couple hundred mayors to help solve their greatest city-planning challenges, turns a perceptive eye towards what makes a great city and how we might be able to harness the power of a conceptually simple, practically complex, immeasurably far-reaching solution in improving the fabric and experience of urban life.


Speck outlines a “General Theory of Walkability,” focusing on the four key factors of making a city attractive to pedestrians: 'it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. Each of these qualities is essential an none alone is sufficient...'


Learn more about urban livability, how to create the conditions that enable pedestrian-oriented development, and the benefits of this approach to urban spaces to the economic, environmental, and cultural health of a city at the article link...

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San Francisco Approves Huge Eco-Makeover

San Francisco Approves Huge Eco-Makeover | green streets | Scoop.it
San Francisco is clearly embracing the 21st century trend of new urbanism. An inspiring proposal was approved last week to turn the heart of San Fran’s downtown area into a mecca of urban living.

Along with the existing plans for a new transit hub, all together it will create a more walkable, sustainable, and dynamic center that promotes core environmental values to the area. The Planning Commission of S.F. approved the addition of six new 850-foot skyscrapers along with one that will be 1,070 feet, superseding the skyline summit of the Transamerica Pyramid building, making it the tallest building on the west coast. In addition, a comprehensive transit hub nicknamed the Grand Central Terminal of the West is already in the works...

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