green streets
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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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A Clearer Definition for Smarter Smart Growth

A Clearer Definition for Smarter Smart Growth | green streets |
As cities become more conscious of their environmental and social impact, smart growth has become a ubiquitous umbrella term for a slew of principles to which designers and planners are encouraged to adhere. has distributed 10 points that serve as guides to development that are similar to both AIA’s Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design and New York City’s Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design.  Planners all appear to be on the same page in regards to the nature of future development.  But as Brittany Leigh Foster of Renew Lehigh Valley points out, these points tend to be vague; they tell us “what” but they do not tell us “how”.

10 Rules for Smarter Smart Growth by Bill Adams of UrbDeZine San Diego enumerates how to achieve the various design goals and principles that these various guides encourage.

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10 Ways to Improve Your City through Public Space

10 Ways to Improve Your City through Public Space | green streets |

Public spaces are increasingly being recognized as a crucial ingredient for successful cities, and for their ability to revitalize and create economic and social development opportunities.

Actually finding ways to build and maintain healthy public space remains elusive to many municipal governments, especially in the developing world. The vast web of streets, parks, plazas, and courtyards that define public space is often lacking, poorly planned, or without adequate citizen participation in the design process.
Recognizing these challenges, the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) released earlier this month a draft of their handbook Placemaking and the Future of Cities. It’s intended to serve as a best practices guide for those wishing to improve the economic, environmental and social health of their communities through the power of successful public space.

10 fundamental principles for placemaking have been identified by PPS as the keys to vibrant, safe, and attractive public spaces:

1. Improve Streets as Public Spaces
2. Create Squares and Parks as Multi-Use Destinations

3. Build Local Economies Through Markets

4. Design Buildings to Support Places

5. Link a Public Health Agenda to a Public Space Agenda

6. Reinvent Community Planning

7. Power of 10

8. Create a Comprehensive Public Space Agenda

9. Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper: Start Small, Experiment

10. Restructure Government to Support Public Spaces


Read the complete article for more on developing a positive public realm through the use of local resources, citizen participation, and strategic approaches to urban development...

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10 Rules for Smarter Smart Growth in Existing Communities

10 Rules for Smarter Smart Growth in Existing Communities | green streets |

Many projects under the banners of smart growth or transit oriented development are simply high density or near transit corridors, or they include gratuitous green space and walking paths.  However, they fail in many of the finer points of smart growth, new urbanism, or transit oriented development.

According to Wikipedia, smart growth “advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including neighborhood schools, complete streets, and mixed-use development with a range of housing choices.”  The  ”rules” postulated here are meant to supplement rather than reiterate or replace existing Smart Growth or New Urbanism principles.  However, there is some overlap both with existing principles and with each other, as smart growth planning is an imperfect “science.”

These rules attempt to look at the finer points, beyond the density of a project or its proximity to transit corridors, so that in 50 years hindsight, smart growth will have a better record than so much of the planned development of the early post war years (including failed redevelopment projects, affordable housing projects, and suburban residential and commercial projects).

Lauren Moss's insight:

A description of smart growth issues that goes a bit more in depth than the general characteristics typically cited...

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