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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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Change Your City: Architecture + Urban Transformation

Change Your City: Architecture + Urban Transformation | green streets | Scoop.it
Climate change, overcrowding, and economic straits have all combined to make our cities, as they're currently thought of and designed, untenable.

Which means that architects and policy members have to rethink our strategy of how to shape the city—both buildings and urban space alike. Part of this entails that we make do with the standing infrastructure that we already have. Preserving and rehabilitating the aging relics of global cities proves to be a way of saving energy while enabling newer methods of architectural planning.

Projects such as the High Line have kickstarted a new age of urban regeneration, with initiatives from Tel Aviv to Philadelphia attempting to replicate it success on their own turf. When it comes to urban transformation, size does not matter- the subtleties of thoughtful urban projects shine through at every level.

Visit the link to view a collection of projects that spur innovation and lively spaces.

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Patch Dynamics: Urban Design and Ecology as MosaicCollective

Patch Dynamics: Urban Design and Ecology as MosaicCollective | green streets | Scoop.it

The urban ecology framework of Patch Dynamics has been key in watching how city models such as the megalopolis and the megacity interact and generate urban ecosystem change.


Urban Design practices have always been created in response to emerging and overlapping city models and the disciplinary contexts designers find themselves in. The urban ecology framework of Patch Dynamics has been key in allowing me to see how city models such as the megalopolis and the megacity interact and generate urban ecosystem change. One's first thought about a patch may be that of a shape that changes. However, the concept of a patch in this case describes a set of patches or a mosaic that changes over time. This search is not to find or create the best patch mosaics, or those that function in the most resilient ways.

Instead, it is a project of creating urban design practices and strategies for a diversity of urban actors to engage their patches and democratize the resilience cycle in their own ways.

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The Economic Benefits of Great Public Places

The Economic Benefits of Great Public Places | green streets | Scoop.it

Sometimes it’s hard to define what makes a great place, but you know it when you experience it. Great places lure people in with activities, people watching, shopping or just the experience of being around others and feeling a sense of connection.


Does this only happen at organic farmers markets or outdoor cafes? Hardly. Placemaking doesn’t just occur in affluent communities or vacation hotspots. Chicago’s 26th street in Little Village, 18th Street in Pilsen, or the Glenwood Market in Rogers Park are evidence that the power of a vibrant public place transcends geographic and demographic boundaries.


Peter Kageyama, author of For the Love of Cities, writes that creating places worth caring about makes for strong communities. We couldn’t agree more.


For other posts from this series, visit sustainablecitiescollective.com.


Via Peter Jasperse
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Peter Jasperse's curator insight, January 11, 2013 9:20 AM

An article on how publica places, well designed and well maintained, draw people, lure retail opportunities, influence home values and with arts & culture produces high economic return.

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Harvard’s New Ecological Urbanism App: A Glimpse of Our Urban Future

Harvard’s New Ecological Urbanism App: A Glimpse of Our Urban Future | green streets | Scoop.it

The Harvard Graduate School of Design released its Ecological Urbanism app last month. The interactive app adapts content from the GSD book of the same name, which explores how designers can unite urbanism with environmentalism.


Combining data from around the world, the app “reveals and locates current practices, emerging trends, and opportunities for new initiatives” in regard to the future of cities.


A collaboration between the school and Second Story Interactive Studios,the app stems from the GSD’s Ecological Urbanism conference and dovetails with the duo’s ongoing efforts to explore sustainability in our cities of the future.

More than 100 participating architects and designers have provided content for the project, including such heavyweights as OMA, Rem Koolhaas, Kara Oehler, and Stefano Boeri. And the ever-evolving app allows designers and academics to add research and project updates as they happen...

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The Next Major Real Estate Cycle: Walkable Urbanism?

The Next Major Real Estate Cycle: Walkable Urbanism? | green streets | Scoop.it
How shifting demand could pull real estate developers (in cities and the suburbs) in a new direction over the next generation.

Not too long ago in Washington, D.C. – and still today in plenty of other cities – "walkable urbanism" was a niche real estate market. Developers weren’t all that interested in mixed-use, compact projects, of the kind where carless urbanites might live, work and grocery shop in strolling distance. And people didn’t seem to want to live in them anyway. But things have been changing in the capital. Now, argues real estate developer and George Washington University professor Christopher Leinberger, walkable urbanism is becoming the real estate market.

Washington’s evolution hints at what will happen in this next real estate cycle in cities everywhere, Leinberger concludes in new research to be presented at a conference on the topic next week. His findings build on an earlier study conducted at the Brookings Institution. In all, the Washington region now leads the nation with 43 distinct neighborhoods Leinberger has identified as “regionally significant walkable urban places” (in other words, those walkable places that also help power the metro economy as jobs centers). A mere .9 percent of the land in the entire Washington region is currently devoted to such places. But 34 percent of the region’s jobs are located there. And these places, Leinberger argues, represent the future of cities everywhere – for the coming wave of development in residential construction, in office space, in entertainment and in retail.

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How to Integrate Urbanism + Transit

How to Integrate Urbanism + Transit | green streets | Scoop.it
Jarrett Walker, author of Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives, told us he was at CNU20 to preach a little fire and brimstone:  transportation planner to new urbanist.

While I wouldn’t call it brimstone, he definitely spoke passionately about real issues that need to be considered in enriching people’s lives. While I certainly subscribe to most New Urbanist principles, and am a card-carrying member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, I appreciated Walker’s candid challenge of the art behind the movement.

He began his lecture by saying, “You know all those little people you draw in pastel and watercolor? Well, they are citizens of society, not going where you think they will, but where they want to.” That was a straight shot on the idealistic “if you build it, they will come” mentality that exists among some members of the CNU. Him, you, me…all of us…want to feel in control and active in how we navigate our built environment.

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Shareable: Almere Oosterwold, a Vision of Collaborative DIY Urban Design

Shareable: Almere Oosterwold, a Vision of Collaborative DIY Urban Design | green streets | Scoop.it

If the term "DIY" hasn't been applied to every conceivable human endeavor yet, give it a few months. But can a process so diffuse and complicated as urban planning go DIY?

Dutch architecture company MVRDV is betting that it can with its proposal for Almere Oosterwold, a development built on the principle of "do-it-yourself urbanism."

MVRDV aims to serve the needs of the individual and the community equally with the plan, which calls for bottom-up collaboration among residents, who will literally draw the map towards a shared future. Like many urban development projects, Oosterwold has no clear completion date. The difference is that in this case, that's by design. The open-ended plan establishes only a handful of guiding principles, such as the proportions of total land use — 59% urban agriculture, 18% construction, 13% public green space, 8% roads, 2% water. Beyond that, residents will collaborate in person and on the web to plan development and reach consensus, with government serving as a facilitator rather than an entity making decisions from the top-down...

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New Urbanism Now

New Urbanism Now | green streets | Scoop.it
In terms of ecological and cultural sustainability, only a rarified echelon matches the spectrum of excellence in a recent mixed-use redevelopment project in downtown Berkeley, California.

The project replaced a surface parking lot in a core urban area with two buildings: a 97-unit affordable-apartment building and a LEED Platinum office facility for environmental and social-justice organizations, with retail shops at street level and parking underground — sited together across the street from the University of California, Berkeley campus and within walking distance of numerous transit connections...

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New Urbanism Feature: Narrower Roads

New Urbanism Feature: Narrower Roads | green streets | Scoop.it

Walkability is one of the main features of new urbanism, and narrower streets are a part of this. (This article talks about how narrower roads often work better than wide ones.) For one, narrower roads force cars to drive slower, which makes walking safer. Other things that contribute to a community’s walkability are having buildings close to the street, having tree-lined streets, on-street parking, hidden parking lots, and rear lane garages.

By promoting walkability and building narrower streets, among other things, we build communities that are family-friendly and that encourage families to stroll through their community without worry or to let their kids go biking unsupervised. Just one of the ways we strive to make your life better and greener!

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How the rise of the megacity is changing the way we live

How the rise of the megacity is changing the way we live | green streets | Scoop.it
The rapid increase in the number of cities home to more than 10 million people will bring huge challenges … and opportunities... 

 

It's not just that more people now live in cities than in the rural countryside (for the first time in human history).  It's not just that major cities are growing increasingly more important to the global economy.  The rise of the megacities (cities over 10 million inhabitants) is a startling new phenomenon that really is something we've only seen in the last 50 years or so with the expectation that the number of megacities will double in the next 10 to 20 years (currently there are 23).  This reorganization of population entails wholesale restructuring of the economic, environmental, cultural and political networks.  The urban challenges that we face today are only going to become increasingly important in the future.        

 


Via Seth Dixon
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Al Picozzi's curator insight, September 9, 2013 9:06 AM

More and more people are moving to the cities than ever before.  As a result I believe there are more megacities on the way.  However I think there is a limit to these cities.  How are they going to be powered?  How are the people going to be fed? Where will they work?  how will these cities impact the environment?  Where is all the fresh water going to come from?

Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 30, 2013 4:40 AM

 It's not just that more people now live in cities than in the rural countryside (for the first time in human history).  It's not just that major cities are growing increasingly more important to the global economy.  The rise of the megacities (cities over 10 million inhabitants) is a startling new phenomenon that really is something we've only seen in the last 50 years or so with the expectation that the number of megacities will double in the next 10 to 20 years (currently there are 23).  This reorganization of population entails wholesale restructuring of the economic, environmental, cultural and political networks.  The urban challenges that we face today are only going to become increasingly important in the future.       

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 11, 2013 9:26 PM

It is a good thing that there is more megacities being created because you can see more people move in which will help the city function better economics wise. When it comes down to the population that is a different story because there is more people to worry and deal with. The increase of people could go both ways because it can be good but at the same time it can go bad because people will start arguing in which it can get physical which means city ratings going down.

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The UniverCity project: An experiment in suburban urbanism

The UniverCity project: An experiment in suburban urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

For the green benefits of urbanism -- walkability, transit, smaller dwellings, more efficient buildings -- to become a truly helpful climate strategy, we're going to need them in more than just cities. We need suburbia to adopt those features too, because a full 50 percent of Americans live in suburbs (compared to 30 percent in central cities), according to 2000 census data... 


Via Ana Valdés
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The Interventionist's Toolkit, Part 3: Our Cities, Ourselves

The Interventionist's Toolkit, Part 3: Our Cities, Ourselves | green streets | Scoop.it

There's a romantic appeal, maybe even a sense of imminent empowerment, in the prospect of remaking our cities and thus ourselves — a notion that if we change our environments we will change our lives, or vice versa.

But I've been wondering about how we might evaluate the results of those freedoms. How to rate the diverse architectural actions and urban interventions that seek to remake the city?

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No residents allowed in new $200 million city

No residents allowed in new $200 million city | green streets | Scoop.it
You can’t use a real city and its inhabitants as lab rats. Solution? Build your own city to experiment on.

A US company has announced plans to build a massive, realistic, but totally uninhabited city to use for high tech tests.

The giant "laboratory" will look at the best ways for modern cities to adopt the latest green and high-tech solutions to resolve today's urban problems.

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Crowdsourcing utopia: 21st century urbanism

Crowdsourcing utopia: 21st century urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

New forms of cooperative urbanism are harnessing the internet to achive grand civic goals.

A generation of intrepid software developers is creating powerful tools for ordinary people to work together to achieve civic goals. SeeClickFix.com and FixMyStreet.com are US and UK websites where users can report problems in their area directly to the relevant local authority. Collapsed walls, broken signage and faulty streetlighting can be logged by anyone in the community. Reports are mapped online while statistics about how swiftly issues are dealt with are automatically published, encouraging authorities to act quickly. Rather than individual complainants acting in isolation, the sites allow strangers to cooperate in holding their elected officials to account while improving their public spaces.

Critics argue the sites foster apathy − encouraging the public to rely on local authorities for relatively minor maintenance jobs rather than taking responsibility as a neighbourhood, but nevertheless, the idea of using decentralised web-based input as a generator for development is gathering momentum.

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Norm Miller's curator insight, August 5, 2013 1:21 PM

A new form of town hall meetings

 

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Creating a Sustainable Urban Landscape: Manama Urban Oasis by Aétrangère

Creating a Sustainable Urban Landscape: Manama Urban Oasis by Aétrangère | green streets | Scoop.it

Bab Al Bahrain Urban Oasis explores the value of the cultural and natural landscape inheritance as a design opportunity to address climate issues in public space, while catalyzing the urban potential of the site in the emerging new city urbanity.


Urban Oasis is considered to be the most important public space of Manama, embodying its dynamic character and showcasing its new sustainable identity.

An urban makeover is taking place at Bahrain and its capital, Manama. The city is evolving in the global economy as the financial hub of the Middle East, and witnessing a dramatic transformation of the urban fabric.

Urban Oasis represents its strategic position and historical importance, as an opportunity to create a lively metropolitan interface, able to link and gather both the historic urban fabric and the new modern city front.


The project is composed of layers evolving in a symbiotic and sustainable way. Responding to the climate, an urban canopy will provide shade, shelter, and comfort to the pedestrian areas below, offering an oasis from the stress of urban conditions. The public ground level, with its open spaces, water landscaping and main public pedestrian and car access, will host the principal cultural and urban facilities. 

The passively cooled terrace will provide an innovative urban place, lend a sense of fluidity to the open space and allow for great views of the waterfront, while a footbridge will create a continuous pedestrian pathway to the sea. Uses here would include cafes, small retail frontage, information points and restaurants.


Among the green areas proposed to reduce the ambient temperature while creating the new microclimate, ware numerous green features: Seven circular sunken gardens which will be showcased as world vegetal biomes, which will enhance local and foreign biodiversity. Those gardens of scents will be like glazed clusters, such a protected special areas...


Learn more about the project and see more photos and diagrams at the article link.

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An iPad Guide To Building The Perfect Sustainable City

An iPad Guide To Building The Perfect Sustainable City | green streets | Scoop.it

In 2010, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design published Ecological Urbanism, a book of interdisciplinary essays on sustainable city-building. But the project had one inescapable shortcoming: When you’re dealing with a field that’s evolving so rapidly, a finite, physical book is liable to be outdated by the time it leaves the printer.

So upon completing the collection, the school commissioned Portland-based interactive studio Second Story to transform the book into an iPad app, a resource that would draw from the original text but could also be updated with new projects and papers as needed. Now available for free, the app shows how dynamic areas of study can benefit greatly from equally dynamic texts.

Features like interactive graphs are innovative ways to access data, as well as useful tools for understanding it. "While working on the app, we found that the data visualizations revealed patterns that told another meta-story that already existed in the book," he says. "Essentially, the patterns illustrated trends in sustainable design, which is attractive for both scholars and the general reader to see."


Visit the link to learn more about how this new format has given research and urban issues a stronger, more engaging and current platform with which users to engage...

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Nowa Huta: City of the Future Proposal

Nowa Huta: City of the Future Proposal | green streets | Scoop.it

The design for the Nowa Huta of the Future focused on the exploitation of the close relation to the nature and the nearby river landscape, fresh food supply from the local agriculture production fields, and a variety of recreational activities to add to the distinctive quality to the plan. Designed by Basic City A+U in collaboration with Felixx landscape architects, the thought was that Nowa Huta should become a city where the entrepreneurial spirit and optimism are combined with an active and healthy lifestyle in close relation to the nature.

Reinvention of the non-operating industrial land of the Arcelor Mittal steel industry complex into a seedbed of the new age industries is the base of the proposal. Revitalization of the existing historic villages by both preserving the historic ambient and densifying via introduction of a variety of residential typologies complete the collection of the cornerstones for the Nowa Huta’s future spatial development...

The vitality of every city in such a situation depends on its ability to find its latent qualities and reinforce its existing unique identities. It must reinvent itself using the assets at hand, propose realistic goals avoiding falling into a labyrinth of local ambitions, rather finding its place in a wider context, regional and European. It must optimally use its material resources and challenge its human potential to perform therefore securing a long-term success of its development.

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Editorial> Smart (Re)Growth

Editorial> Smart (Re)Growth | green streets | Scoop.it
Are suburbanization and urbanism always at odds?

Much has been made lately of a supposedly historic shift in American demographics, in which community survey data from the Census Bureau showed many large American cities (mainly in the Sun Belt) grew at a faster rate than their suburbs since last year. But as any drive through the collar counties will make clear, the suburbs still loom large. In absolute numbers, the growth seen downtown is still a fraction of the growth enjoyed by communities more far-flung. 

We recently looked closely at redevelopment in Ohio’s three largest cities. Movements to revitalize withering urban cores there have progressed to a point where some see a brighter future for Rust Belt cities. A genuine interest in downtown living has coalesced with efforts by private developers and all levels of government to help produce a new template for urban redevelopment...

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Editorial> Getting It Right in the Queen City

Editorial> Getting It Right in the Queen City | green streets | Scoop.it
Alan G. Brake praises progressive urbanism in Cincinnati.

America has a deep-seated anti-urban streak, which happens to dovetail, in the eyes of many, with a mistrust of government at every level. The Republican presidential primary has flared with anti-urban rhetoric, which is particularly shortsighted given the still-weak state of the economy, one in which urban areas are bouncing back faster than their rural and exurban counterparts. That cities are the country’s economic engine seems obvious almost to the point of being self-evident, so why is it still seen as politically advantageous to denigrate urban areas? And why are urbanists so bad at making the case for cities with the public?

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New urbanism: Old-fashioned design in for long run

New urbanism: Old-fashioned design in for long run | green streets | Scoop.it
Peter Calthorpe, another pioneer of new urbanism, believes the movement will continue to be a strong force. Housing developments that reduce the dependence on the automobile are gaining in acceptance, said Calthorpe, principal of Calthorpe Associates in Berkeley, Calif.

"The nation can't afford sprawl," said Calthorpe, adding that sprawl was curbed by the housing meltdown. He is a strong advocate of transit-oriented development. One of the main components of new urbanism, transit-oriented development calls for neighborhoods with a mix of moderate- to high-density housing within walking or biking distance of mass transit...

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Freeways Without Futures | Congress for the New Urbanism

Freeways Without Futures | Congress for the New Urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it
The “Freeways Without Futures” list recognizes the top-ten locations in North America where the opportunity is greatest to stimulate valuable revitalization by replacing aging urban highways with boulevards and other cost-saving urban alternatives. The list was generated from an open call for nominations and prioritized based on factors including the age of the structure, redevelopment potential, potential cost savings, ability to improve both overall mobility and local access, existence of pending infrastructure decisions, and local support.

Cities around the world are replacing urban highways with surface streets, saving billions of dollars on transportation infrastructure and revitalizing adjacent land with walkable, compact development. Transportation models that support connected street grids, improved transit, and revitalized urbanism will make reducing gasoline dependency and greenhouse gas emissions that much more convenient. It pays to consider them as cities evaluate their renewal strategies — and as the U.S. evaluates its federal transportation and climate policy...

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Layered SPURA: Spurring Conversations Through Visual Urbanism

Layered SPURA: Spurring Conversations Through Visual Urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) that occupies 14 square blocks on the Lower East Side has remained one of the largest underdeveloped city-owned parcels of land for more than 40 years. Very few of the originally-planned buildings came to pass, and vast parking lots created by slum-clearance on the south side of Delancey Street symbolize a hotly contested renewal plan. Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani and students of the New School’s City Studio have spent three years investigating the complex issues surrounding the site, and in an exhibition highlighting their research and artwork they propose to instigate a new grassroots conversation rather than a top-down planning vision.

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Six Urbanist Themes for 2012

Six Urbanist Themes for 2012 | green streets | Scoop.it
From Twitter to "third places," here are some innovative urban ideas that aren't going away...

Based on my professional experiences and featured articles in 2011, there are several themes that I expect will also endure in 2012. Here is a synthesis of themes to watch, and why, based on my own encounters, and those of clients and friends. As illustration, I offer citation to several of my articles as they reappeared in Planetizen (after original appearance myurbanist, The Atlantic, Sustainable Cities Collective and Crosscut among others). The themes span six subject areas, below...

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Understanding Urbanity: 7 Must-Read Books About Cities

Understanding Urbanity: 7 Must-Read Books About Cities | green streets | Scoop.it
What airports have to do with Medieval towns, Brooklyn's bookstores and Le Corbusier.

Cities are where humanity’s creative and intellectual ideation, communication, and innovation takes place, so understanding cities is vital to understanding our civilization.

Here is an omnibus of seven fantastic books exploring the complex and faceted nature, function, history, and future of urbanity’s precious living organism, from design to sociology to economics and beyond.

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Interview with Patrick Phillips of the Urban Land Institute

Ten years ago the world was jarred at seeing a financial institution of a high urban city destroyed. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted that our attitudes toward the value of urban development would remain unchanged, and he may have been right. So have we, as law-makers, designers and inhabitants of the urban environment learned from what ten years ago was considered a failure in our cities and government agencies?

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