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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Rebalancing Development + Community Building Projects: Reconstructing Post-disaster Japan

Rebalancing Development + Community Building Projects: Reconstructing Post-disaster Japan | green streets | Scoop.it

Nearly two years have passed since "3.11", Japan's worst disaster since the Pacific War. Now, twenty months later, we can start to see the kind of future that Japan has entered, and the values and visions that are animating its architects, designers, and artists in this period of reconstruction and renewal.

At the heart of the reconstruction challenge that Japan faces is the question of the relation between the centre and the periphery, or to put it in starker terms, between the strong and the weak. This relation is expressed in many ways – between global forces or state authority and local people; between the metropolis and the countryside; between the victims and the spared. The earnestness with which metropolitan architects have engaged local communities only underscores this asymmetry. Beyond the immediate response to disaster, what many in Japan are seeking is the rebalancing of a long legacy of uneven development.

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5 Ways Cities Are Using Big Data

5 Ways Cities Are Using Big Data | green streets | Scoop.it
Big data's kind of a big deal. Here's how a few cities and using mass information to make their residents' lives a little easier.


Cities across the world, large and small, are utilizing big data sets — like traffic statistics, energy consumption rates and GPS mapping — to launch projects to help their respective communities. For example, New York recently released hundreds of high-value data sets to provide greater data collection transparency. Innovative projects are popping up nearly every day in different citiesAnd as more information becomes public, the potential for these increases significantly.


Visit the link for specific examples of cities utilizing big data to improve communities and leverage technology...


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Award Given to Top Green Building and Urban Placemaking Sites

Award Given to Top Green Building and Urban Placemaking Sites | green streets | Scoop.it

Inspiration Kitchens in Chicago took home the Bruner Foundation’s Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) gold medal, which comes with $50,000 in support for the project. Four other projects won silver medals and $10,000.


The biennial award celebrates “urban places distinguished by quality design and contributions to the social, economic, and communal vitality of our nation’s cities.” Since 1987, the Bruner Foundation has awarded 67 projects $1.2 million in support.

Inspiration Kitchens is an “entrepreneurial, nonprofit initiative” on Chicago’s west side. In an economically-challenged part of the city, this LEED Gold certified facility, with a 80-seat restaurant, serves free and affordable healthy meals.
The restaurant prides itself on being “earth-friendly, including our use of local ingredients, solar-heated water and sun-sensitive kitchen lighting.”

Four other projects won silver medals and $10,000: read the complete article for more details.

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How to 'Rightsize' a Street

How to 'Rightsize' a Street | green streets | Scoop.it

The concept of a "road diet” has become increasingly popular, though the phrase fails to capture the wide variety of ways in which streets planned and paved decades ago often awkwardly fit the needs of changing communities today.


In many cases, redesigning city streetscapes is not just (or not at all) about eliminating roadway. It may be about adding parking (to benefit new businesses), or building a new median (for pedestrians who were never present before), or simply painting new markings on the pavement (SCHOOL X-ING).


According to the Project for Public Spaces, we might do better to think of the task as “rightsizing” streets instead of starving them. This week, the nonprofit planning and design organization published a series of case studies from across the country illustrating exactly what this could look like in a variety of settings. The above image pair, from the collection, shows before-and-after scenes of Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. Starting in the summer of 2010, the New York City Department of Transportation began retrofitting the street to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians crossing into Prospect Park. The whole project wasn’t simply a matter of pruning traffic lanes, but of adding yield signs, new traffic signal timing, bike lanes and pedestrian islands.

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American Grove's comment, January 28, 2013 8:56 AM
Too often space for trees (6 feet minimum) are left off the plan in a road diet.
American Grove's curator insight, January 28, 2013 8:59 AM

Munciple Arborist Beware!  Too often sufficient space for trees are being left out of the plans in road diets.  The problem is competing space for paths, bikeways, parking squeeze out an 8ft planting strip to a 4 ft planting strip or less.  4 Strip planting strips is not enough soil for shade trees. Bulb outs into parking and root bridging are innovative ways to work with the lack of space but requires an arborist to help plan. 

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The High Line Effect: Top 10 Urban Transformation Projects

The High Line Effect: Top 10 Urban Transformation Projects | green streets | Scoop.it

Given the environmental straits we find ourselves in at present, architects and policy makers have to rethink our strategy of how to shape the city, buildings, and urban space alike.


This entails that we refrain from the tabula rasa strategies of the past and make do with the standing infrastructure that we already have. Preserving and rehabilitating the aging steel relics of our global cities has proven an ingenious 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—for good or ill—with initiatives from Tel Aviv to Philadelphia attempting to replicate its success on their own turf.


When it comes to urban transformation, size does not matter, per se. The subtleties of thoughtful urban projects shine through at every level, and sometime outperform their more ostentatious contemporaries. The best projects spur new occupation and lively places...

Lauren Moss's insight:

Examples of urban transformation across the globe, from public parks to rehabilitation projects, with links provided for further research and investigation...

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Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, December 31, 2012 12:04 AM

Examples of creative answers for urban design at this site.

Pedro Barbosa's curator insight, December 31, 2012 4:35 AM

Transformation Projects and City Design : this is possible the most amazing job to do for the next decade. Who would not change everything to get into a

project that changes peoples lives?

 

I love this. Be aware of the gainijng power of this as a upcoming trend for the next years.

 

Pedro Barbosa | www.pbarbosa.com | www.harvardtrends.com

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3 Projects That Transform Highways Into Urban Oases

3 Projects That Transform Highways Into Urban Oases | green streets | Scoop.it
The phrase “the other side of the tracks,” connoting declining neighborhoods across from railroad lines, could easily translate to the community havoc wreaked by urban interstates.

Noise, pollution, and walls of concrete can be more than a little off-putting. But new projects in cities around the world prove that freeways don’t necessarily have to be urban dead zones.

In places like San Francisco and Oakland, where earthquakes led to the replacement of several freeway stretches, interstates have been redesigned and upgraded into walkable, pleasant spaces.

Other innovative approaches are showing how to transform the right-of-way land, overpasses, and adjacent spaces to be visually attractive assets--and even raise property values as businesses and residents move closer and begin to look at their infrastructure more favorably. In Seattle, Freeway Park includes space on both sides of I-5 and a green-covered pedestrian overpass connecting them, giving a convention center easy access to a large parking structure across the freeway.

Shanghai’s dramatic light-sculpture installation on its freeway placed the road in a new visual context for residents, and dozens of examples have followed. Melbourne used art panels and artful sound barriers to enable development to move closer to the freeway. Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park, located underneath an interstate, attracts thousands of annual visitors to festivals and events and is facilitating adjacent property-enhancement by private owners.

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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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Can Continental Graphics Rehab Make La Brea and Second Street a Happening Pedestrian Zone?

Can Continental Graphics Rehab Make La Brea and Second Street a Happening Pedestrian Zone? | green streets | Scoop.it

DC-based developer Madison Marquette is converting the 1930s-era buildings on the block into retail, restaurants, and creative offices (and no housing, as in old reports). Long Beach-based architecture firm Studio 111 is doing "facade renovation, interior core and shell build out, and streetscape work aimed at introducing pedestrian vitality."

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How To Improve A City: 10 Feats Of Engineering From Arup

How To Improve A City: 10 Feats Of Engineering From Arup | green streets | Scoop.it

Last week, Architizer and Arup put out a call for ideas to make New York City a better place for its residents and the 1 million additional people projected to arrive in the next few decades. As a follow-up, we’ve gathered a few examples of Arup projects from around the world that demonstrate the way that design can enhance everyday life in urban areas.

One, the UK's high-speed rail line from London to the Channel Tunnel, was a massive, decades-long effort that had the regeneration of a whole city sector in its goals from the outset. Others, such as a water recycling facility in a Melbourne park, are more modest in scale and scope, but present interesting models for dealing with challenges common to many cities around the world: resource constraints, housing shortages, disadvantaged neighborhoods, natural disasters, and more.

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10 Brilliant Pieces of Bike Infrastructure

10 Brilliant Pieces of Bike Infrastructure | green streets | Scoop.it

What does truly good cycling infrastructure look like?


As you might expect, many examples come from the Northern European countries where cycling commands the greatest modal share. But we wouldn’t want to have an all-Nordic list. So we’ve included some laudable bicycling accommodations from other parts of the globe as well (even a couple from the U.S.), listed in no particular order...

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Building a Sustainable U.S. Infrastructure: A Whole Systems Approach

Building a Sustainable U.S. Infrastructure: A Whole Systems Approach | green streets | Scoop.it

We need to take a whole systems approach to repairing and advancing our U.S. infrastructure.


An important, yet not yet widely adopted solution is the application of a whole systems approach—one that considers the interconnections between infrastructure projects and their surroundings, and that spans the entire lifecycle of infrastructure projects, from design and construction to operation and maintenance.  

Although this approach may involve upfront costs, this model can bolster efficiency, garner public support, and improve resiliency to natural disasters, resulting in significant short- and long-term payback. A whole systems approach should simultaneously address the needs of all stakeholders, and provide community, environmental, and economic benefits for all types of infrastructure projects, from pipelines to bridges to ports to airports...

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4 Ways the Feds Are Making Transit Better

4 Ways the Feds Are Making Transit Better | green streets | Scoop.it

New funding rules should speed up major projects and increase local benefits.

Much of Washington is in obstruction mode these days, but not the Federal Transit Administration. The FTA recently announced changes to New Starts and Small Starts — its main capital funding programs for transit — designed to expedite the grant process. Together the programs fund about half the cost of light rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transit, and ferry systems in the United States.

The FTA's new rule was developed during a two-year outreach effort that considered roughly a thousand public comments. During that time officials kept two main goals in mind: to streamline the funding path of new transit projects, and to consider a wider range of possible benefits to local communities...

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Mercor's curator insight, February 4, 2013 6:39 AM

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Change Your City: Top 10 Urban Transformation Projects

Change Your City: Top 10 Urban Transformation Projects | green streets | Scoop.it

Given the environmental straits we find ourselves in at present, architects and policy makers have to rethink our strategy of how to shape the city, buildings and urban space alike. This entails that we refrain from the strategies of the past and make do with the standing infrastructure that we already have.


Preserving and rehabilitating the aging steel relics of our global cities has proven an ingenious 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–for good or bad–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, per se. The subtleties of thoughtful urban projects shine through at every level, and sometime outperform their more ostentatious contemporaries.


Visit the link for photos and descriptions of 10 projects from across the globe, including public parks, infrastructure projects, cultural buildings and more...

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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 York City’s Underground Park

New York City’s Underground Park | green streets | Scoop.it
After the popularity of New York’s High Line park, which is located on an abandoned elevated railway, there is a new plan for a Low Line park. Yes, an underground park nearly the size of Gramercy Park.
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