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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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OVT Centraal station: A New Transportation Hub in Rotterdam

OVT Centraal station: A New Transportation Hub in Rotterdam | green streets | Scoop.it

The design of Team CS for Rotterdam Central strives to embed the central station again in the center of Rotterdam. With the development of the High Speed Line (HSL), the design establishes the new station as a major hub in being a part of European transportation network which, in every respect, must be capable to match the efficiency, capacity, comfort, and style of other major stations such as Madrid, Paris, London, and Brussels.

The new building's shape expresses the internal logistics of this transport hub. Marking the onset of Rotterdam's 'cultural axis', the new Grand Central Station points the way to the city's heart...

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EuropaCity: A New Urban Center by Bjarke Ingels Group

EuropaCity: A New Urban Center by Bjarke Ingels Group | green streets | Scoop.it

BIG with additional team members Tess, Transsolar, Base, Transitec and Michel Forgue is chosen to design an 80 Hectare cultural and commercial destination, EuropaCity in France.


The new urban center EuropaCity is located between Paris and Roissy in France’s most populated region Île-de-France, and will offer a mixture of retail, culture and leisure on an unprecedented scale around the theme of the European urban experience, diversity and culture.

BIG’s proposal is an urban form combining dense city with open landscape and will become a cultural and commercial gathering point for the surrounding cities of the Triangle de Gonesse. Like a city that is carved into the landscape, the entire facility is covered in an accessible green roof with recreational areas, hiking paths and urban farming. EuropaCity will be directly linked to the coming Grand Paris Express Metro to Charles de Gaule airport.


“EuropaCity will be an experimental hybrid between urbanism and landscape design: Center and periphery overlapped in the simultaneous coexistence of a recreational open landscape of rolling hills superimposed on an urban neighborhood of walkable streets, plazas and parks. We find that Paris these years is taking on a holistic effort to ensure that the urban periphery is given equal opportunity to be as lively and inhabitable as its historic center. EuropaCity will be an important step in this agenda.” –Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

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European cities promote cycling with everything from ‘superhighways’ to revolving bike racks

European cities promote cycling with everything from ‘superhighways’ to revolving bike racks | green streets | Scoop.it

Cycling through the heart of some European cities can be a terrifying experience as you jostle for space with cars, trucks and scooters that whizz by with only inches to spare. Thankfully for bicycle enthusiasts, a movement is afoot to create more room for cycling in the urban infrastructure.

From London’s “cycle superhighways” to popular bike-sharing programs in Paris and Barcelona, growing numbers of European cities are embracing cycling as a safe, clean, healthy, inexpensive and even trendy way to get around town.

Amsterdam and Copenhagen are pioneers of this movement and serve as role models for other cities considering cycling’s potential to reduce congestion and pollution, while contributing to public health.

The trend is catching on also outside Europe, says John Pucher, a professor of urban planning at Rutgers University in New Jersey and co-author of a new book titled “City Cycling.”

Pucher says urban cycling is on the rise across the industrialized world, though Europe is still ahead of the pack.


Read the complete article for further details on urban cycling, cycle 'superhighways', bike sharing programs, two-wheel parking, mixed-mode commuting and more...

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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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Can US communities learn from this European suburban retrofit?

Can US communities learn from this European suburban retrofit? | green streets | Scoop.it
In 2008, the substantially updated town center of Plessis-Robinson, a suburb of Paris, was named “the best urban neighborhood built in the last 25 years” by the European Architecture Foundation. A composite of six connected districts ranging in size from 5.6 to 59 acres, the revitalization comprises public buildings, retail, market-rate and subsidized affordable housing, parks, schools, gardens, sports facilities, and a hospital. Construction was begun in 1990 and took a decade to complete.

From the beginning, the concept was to develop a highly walkable environment, while using locally sourced materials as much as possible, and preserving wetland habitat. The town as a whole now contains seven parks and gardens amounting to over 120 acres of protected green space. (There are also three industrial and technology zones housing many of the town’s 240 companies and 11,000 employees.) Architecturally grounded in traditional French forms, the rebuilt sections look much as if they have been there for years...

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Through trial and error, 'smart cities' are slowly getting smarter

Through trial and error, 'smart cities' are slowly getting smarter | green streets | Scoop.it
The 'smart city' concept has existed for several years, but only now, with some trial and error, are we seeing the real fruits of these efforts coming to light.

While the ambitions of Masdar City have been scaled back somewhat, Amsterdam is forging ahead, piloting a number of schemes to introduce smart technology to the way energy and other resources are managed within the city...

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Rome Restricts Car Use to Reduce Emissions, Improve Air Quality

Rome Restricts Car Use to Reduce Emissions, Improve Air Quality | green streets | Scoop.it

With climate talks taking place in Durban this week, all eyes have been on South Africa. But whether climate discussions yield binding targets or not, cities around the world are suffering the very real consequences of greenhouse gas emissions and taking necessary steps to lower pollution levels. Rome, Italy, for example, exceeded air safety limits 56 times this year, according to 3news. Traffic congestion and car traffic are the main contributors to the six consecutive days of emergency level air pollution rates in Rome, and therefore the city is taking action by using partial vehicle blocks and pedestrian weekends to push air pollution levels down.

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How to Bridge Neighborhood Gaps? Turn Overpasses into Main Streets

How to Bridge Neighborhood Gaps? Turn Overpasses into Main Streets | green streets | Scoop.it

The answer to one of today's difficult planning problems may lie in the Middle Ages. In cities across the US, freeways cut through communities, creating urban dead zones. To heal that damage, Columbus, Ohio built an urbanized bridge, common in 12th & 17th century Europe.

 

In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, imaginative, multifunctional bridges known as "habitable bridges" were quite common. Some hosted markets. Others contained mills that harnessed the power of the river. Many housed defensive towers or featured chapels. Beyond the novelty of having buildings on a bridge, they were highly functional, as they became natural venues for commercial trade. Perhaps the most famous habitable bridge was London Bridge, which had buildings on it from 1209 until it was rebuilt in 1831. Other surviving habitable bridges include Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy; Ponte di Rialto in Venice; and Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, Germany...


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Farm in the city could be supermarket of the future

Farm in the city could be supermarket of the future | green streets | Scoop.it

Big cities are rarely home to thriving farmlands, but a group of Dutch architects hope to change that with the "Park Supermarket" -- an urban farming project that will attempt to grow and sell all the food of a modern supermarket in one place.

The firm behind the proposal, Rotterdam-based Van Bergen Kolpa Architects, intends to produce everything from risotto rice, to kiwis to Tilapia fish all on one 4,000-acre plot of disused land in Randstad, Holland's largest metropolitan area.

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Cutting Car Use at the Neighborhood Level

Cutting Car Use at the Neighborhood Level | green streets | Scoop.it
8 European projects show how design and planning can reduce automobile dependence...

Getting people out of their cars is a common goal for many urban planners and even some developers. But the idea is not always so easy to achieve, especially in car-dependent places. Eight relatively new developments in Europe, however, offer insights into how small-scale projects can encourage alternate transportation options.

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Exploring the Sustainable City of Stone

Exploring the Sustainable City of Stone | green streets | Scoop.it

In the provinces of southeastern Italy, the landscape is changing, as a new world of alternative energy infrastructure blends insular hill towns, turbines and solar panels across traditional farmland. Yet, on the same horizons other, age-old reflections of local sustainable practices echo time-honored human traditions, as lessons for urban reinvention in a networked world.

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9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe | green streets | Scoop.it
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.

Between the 1920s and 1960s, policies adapting cities to car travel in the United States served as a role model for much of Western Europe. But by the late 1960s, many European cities started refocusing their policies to curb car use by promoting walking, cycling, and public transportation. For the last two decades, in the face of car-dependence, suburban sprawl, and an increasingly unsustainable transportation system, U.S. planners have been looking to Western Europe.

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Brittany Ortiz's curator insight, October 27, 2014 2:44 PM

This is very true and fascinating to read. It's obvious how technology and cars can change the way we view the world. When in DR this past summer, there were so many people driving a motorcycle. I didn't really get the reason why other than hearing my dad say "porque no cuesta mucho" which in English is saying "because it doesn't cost as much." It made sense, seeing the conditions outside of the resort and also having the opportunity to visit an elementary school and seeing how many students either walked or went 3 to 4 on a motorcycle to get to school. It makes sense how having a car and paying the taxes contributes in a state fixing something. It's obvious how car dependent United States is. Were so lazy to walk up the street to get milk, that we'll prefer to drive our car there. Its the realization we must all unfortunately come to.

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How an Industrial City Reinvented Itself as a Sustainability Hub

How an Industrial City Reinvented Itself as a Sustainability Hub | green streets | Scoop.it
The city of Nantes, the fifth largest in France, is a place of rich history dating back at least as far as the second century.  Economically, Nantes was long a port and shipbuilding center of considerable significance. 
But the shipping and shipbuilding industry in western Europe began a serious decline in the 1960s and 70s, and the last major shipbuilding facility in Nantes closed in 1986. 
The proud city needed a new identity in order to remain relevant. That new identity became, first, culture and then, sustainability. Today the two have come together in some highly innovative ways that have led the European Union to designate Nantes as its "Green Capital" for 2013.

The EU’s annual green designation was created by the European Commission in the last decade, with Stockholm selected as the first honoree, for 2010. The prestigious competition involves a lengthy application process and is judged on the basis of twelve overlapping environmental criteria:

Response to climate change
Transportation
Urban green spaces
Land use
Nature and biodiversity
Air quality
Noise pollution
Waste reduction and management
Water consumption
Wastewater treatment
Green municipal management
Dissemination of best practices

The 2013 award for Nantes included specific praise for the city’s efforts regarding climate, transportation, water, and biodiversity...
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ParadigmGallery's curator insight, December 18, 2012 12:17 PM

Nantes is the fifth largest city in France and in it's earlier life was a hub for shipping and ship building. The proud city needed a new identity in order to remain relevant.  That new identity became, first, culture and then, sustainability.  Today the two have come together in some highly innovative ways that have led the European Union to designate Nantes as its "Green Capital" for 2013.

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Wall-to-wall greenery: Stunning vertical garden brings the countryside to the city

Wall-to-wall greenery: Stunning vertical garden brings the countryside to the city | green streets | Scoop.it
The huge wall garden at the shopping centre in Rozzano, Milan, which has a total of 44,000 plants covering a surface of 1263 square metres, is the largest vertical garden in the world.

The finished result at The Fiordaliso commercial complex was certified by Guinness Wold Records as being the largest vertical garden in the world in 2010.

The project was designed by architect Francesco Bollani, who led a creative team that included an architecture studio from Montpellier. France. Bollani said: 'It took us a year to grow the plants in a greenhouse and 90 days to build the facade.'

The garden serves in helping to regulate the temperature in the shopping centre in Rozzano. It also absorbs carbon dioxide and reduces ambient noise, creating a sustainable architecture that combines beauty with energy savings, and a respect for the environment...

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Diana Rivera's curator insight, March 3, 2013 2:34 PM

This beautiful design was created to bring life and color to the city where greens have been forgotten.

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EU Summit maps out the future for cities

EU Summit maps out the future for cities | green streets | Scoop.it
What is a sustainable city? What kind of pressure do our urban spaces have to face? What examples can small and medium cities set and how can their successes be reproduced around Europe? Some of the lessons are being learned at the 5th European Summit of Regions and Cities, in Copenhagen.

Approximately half of the world’s total population lives in urban areas. By 2030 80% of Europeans are expected to live in cities. This is why sustainable urban development is acquiring a crucial dimension in the debate over future European policies. Often local and regional areas manage to stand out for their eco-friendly practices, becoming open laboratories of sustainability, as the title of the summit suggests, “The European urban fabric in the 21st century”.

“Historically cities have always been innovation centres, but it is especially from the typical medium-sized European city that innovation starts. Now even the Chinese have discovered that small is beautiful, or better, middle-sized is beautiful. They have found that cities of 500,000 to 600,000 residents are much more sustainable, and they are building medium-sized urban areas to avoid their cities turning into megalopoli,” says President of the Committee of Regions Mercedes Bresso...

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Paris' Elevated Park Predates NYC's High Line by Nearly 20 Years

Paris' Elevated Park Predates NYC's High Line by Nearly 20 Years | green streets | Scoop.it
New York City's High Line Park is remarkable, but not quite as original as many think: Parisians have been enjoying strolls along an elevated park in the heart of the city for nearly 20 years. The Promenade Plantée, or Coulée Verte, runs 4.5km (2.8 mi) through Paris' 12th arrondissement.

The elevated Viaduct des Arts, which supported the Vincennes Railway from 1859 to 1969, was bought by the City as part of a general renovation of the area in 1986. Landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux were commissioned to design the park, which opened in 1993. At the same time, the arcades under the viaduct were converted into spaces for art galleries and artisan workshops.

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How bikes can solve America’s most pressing problems

How bikes can solve America’s most pressing problems | green streets | Scoop.it

Air quality, obesity, commute times, strained family budgets, unnecessary deaths, runaway health care expenses -- is there anything that a mass shift to bicycles transportation wouldn't solve? And it's not like this is a fantasy -- Europe has demonstrated that not only is this possible, it's the future.

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Turning an Abandoned Industrial Island into a Green Cultural Center in Paris

Turning an Abandoned Industrial Island into a Green Cultural Center in Paris | green streets | Scoop.it
A small island in the Parisian suburbs, once home to Renault car factories, is being converted into a cultural hub with a focus on sustainable development and a quality living environment.

The renewal of the site was first proposed in 1997, five years after Renault closed shop. The island and the adjacent mainland cover 74 hectares in the city of Boulogne-Bilancourt. The idea is to develop the empty industrial space into a thriving urban center, with 500,000m⊃2; of housing (one third of it for low-income residents), 250,000m⊃2; of office space and 250,000m⊃2; for shops and public space.

The project will focus equally on sustainable development and creating a quality living environment. The socially diverse "eco-neighborhood" will focus on public transportation over individual cars (an ironic turn for an old automobile plant) and feature large public spaces, filled with plant life and pedestrian walkways...

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Paris to Plant 80,000 Square Yards of Green Roofs by 2020

Paris to Plant 80,000 Square Yards of Green Roofs by 2020 | green streets | Scoop.it
Paris' recently ratified Biodiversity Plan includes a call to triple the number of rooftop gardens and green roofs in the next decade.

 

In mid-November, the Paris city council adopted a new Plan de Biodiversité. Among calls for an extension of the electric tramway system and improved management of the two forests that border the city, the plan includes a pledge to create seven more hectares (about 83,000 square yards) of green roofs and rooftop gardens throughout Paris...

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Reinterpreting Green Space in West London

Reinterpreting Green Space in West London | green streets | Scoop.it
With pressure on urban space increasing as populations grow and building becomes more intensive, will gardens be a less common sight in future cities? Those interested in this subject might enjoy the upcoming Serpentine Gallery's Garden Marathon.
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A Focus on Attracting Residents

A Focus on Attracting Residents | green streets | Scoop.it
By spending billions improving public transport, sprucing up parks and public spaces, and investing in public services, Nantes has become one of France's premier green cities.
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Confronting the Urban Mirror

Confronting the Urban Mirror | green streets | Scoop.it
people watch people---which becomes a small-scale human observatory.

Such places are often indicative of safe public environments, including active streets, corners and squares. They are particularly prevalent in cultures where neighbors readily interact, and the seams between public and private are softer than zoning setbacks, while still allowing for a private world.

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