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  • Urbanism, city form and function

    A place to discuss modern city form and function...

    Some neat articles...

    http://www.grist.org/list/2011-11-29...med-the-exurbs


    Homes and strip malls in America's outer-ring suburbs, which contained most of the country's most expensive homes in the 1990s, are now worth less than what it cost to build them. And the land beneath them is worth effectively zero, says Brookings Institution senior fellow Christopher B. Leinberger, in a powerful op-ed arguing that the future of the country is urban and walkable.

    Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

  • #2
    http://www.grist.org/cities/2011-11-...nability-effor

    Bennett is among a group of urban thinkers who envision neighborhoods powered by their own micro-solar or geothermal power grids. They imagine city blocks that operate as single, interconnected systems, saving gobs of energy and resources in the process, and small manufacturing districts where companies make use of each other's waste streams. Planning geeks call them "eco-districts," and say they'll be the next big (or not-so-big) thing in sustainability.
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

    Comment


    • #3
      This is just cool

      http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/ripti...rms_downto.php
      "Weed Bombing" Transforms Downtown's Urban Blight into Psychedelic Bling
      By Michael Miller Fri., Nov. 25 2011


      Courtesy of Grant Stern
      Not photoshopped: Urban activists "weed bomb" a street corner downtown
      ​​If you've been out drinking downtown lately and stumbled upon a street corner bursting with neon-colored weeds, don't worry: It's not an acid trip gone wrong.

      It's weed bombing.

      "We're tired of living in a big dump overrun with weeds and trash," says chief bombadier Brad Knoefler, owner of downtown club Grand Central. "If the city is going to keep on treating us like this we're going to draw attention to it."
      "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

      Comment


      • #4
        http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/...rking1111.aspx

        What's working in cities: Placemaking
        MICHELLE BRUCH | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2011

        CAMPUS MARTIUS
        RELATED IMAGES


        ENLARGE
        RELATED TAGS

        ARCHITECTURE, CHOOSING MICHIGAN, DETROIT, ENTREPRENEURS, MOVE TO DETROIT, REDEVELOPMENT, SHOP LOCAL, URBAN LEADERSHIP, VENTURE CAPITAL*
        Before Campus Martius Park opened in 2004 -- after languishing for years as a long-promised commercial project known as the "Kern Block" -- many of the historic buildings around it had emptied. Major department stores were vacant or torn down.

        "Nothing was there," said Bob Gregory, president of Campus Martius Park. "It was not a very pleasant place to be."

        To turn it around, the mayor’s office established a task force that studied the best public spaces in the world and quizzed the locals on how they would use a new park. After a $20 million investment, the park started buzzing year-round with music, a bistro, and ice skating under colorful lights and a giant Christmas tree. The park has since attracted several new corporate headquarters, new condos, and a whopping 1 million park visitors each year.

        The strategy that built Campus Martius is called "placemaking," and it’s a development approach gaining momentum across the country. The strategy gives local residents and stakeholders a major voice in shaping new development.

        In the case of*Campus Martius, the locals pressed for a park they could use all year long. They created a park with wireless Internet, 1,500 movable chairs, and more than 200 events per year, such as concerts, film festivals, and bocce ball tournaments.

        Placemaking is designed to create a vision that is much more practical than a pretty architectural rendering.

        "The voices of the people are significant anchors," said Fred Kent, president of the New York-based*Project for Public Spaces*(PPS), a nonprofit that consults with cities on how to create strong public spaces. "It creates places that are meaningful to them."

        Kent has consulted with 3,000 communities in 42 countries. But when he founded PPS in 1975, the importance of a good public place wasn’t obvious to everyone.

        "There was a big difference in the ‘70s--cities were awful places, with all kinds of crime," he said. "No one was really interested in public spaces when we started, except that they had drug dealing in them."
        "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

        Comment


        • #5
          Bridges are for People: Inhabited Bridges Could Help Pay For Infrastructure
          http://www.treehugger.com/green-arch...structure.html
          Lloyd Alter
          Design / Green Architecture
          November 28, 2011


          © Maxim Nasab

          Waterfront property is usually expensive because as the real estate agents note, "they're not making any more of it." Perhaps that is one of the virtues of inhabited bridges; besides being more interesting for pedestrians than your boring old bridge with nothing on it, they create that valuable waterfront property.

          Maxim Nasab realized this when he designed his thesis. He points out how banal bridges have become, in an article he writes for Next American City:

          Bridges have lost their symbolism as agents of connectivity within and between cities. Yes, they do connect points but why do they connect them? For hundreds of years during the Middle Ages some bridges were more than linear conduits; they were connections within the city, part of the urban fabric. What happened to the bridges that gave people such an experience as the inhabitable bridge? A bridge that gave people more than point A and point B but a path connecting these two points, a path that was not uniform and dull, but a path that gave people choices and experiences.
          "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

          Comment


          • #6
            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/op...burb.html?_r=1


            By now, nearly five years after the housing crash, most Americans understand that a mortgage meltdown was the catalyst for the Great Recession, facilitated by underregulation of finance and reckless risk-taking. Less understood is the divergence between center cities and inner-ring suburbs on one hand, and the suburban fringe on the other.

            It was predominantly the collapse of the car-dependent suburban fringe that caused the mortgage collapse.

            In the late 1990s, high-end outer suburbs contained most of the expensive housing in the United States, as measured by price per square foot, according to data I analyzed from the Zillow real estate database. Today, the most expensive housing is in the high-density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods of the center city and inner suburbs. Some of the most expensive neighborhoods in their metropolitan areas are Capitol Hill in Seattle; Virginia Highland in Atlanta; German Village in Columbus, Ohio, and Logan Circle in Washington. Considered slums as recently as 30 years ago, they have been transformed by gentrification.
            "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

            Comment


            • #7
              I think it's very important that we devote some time on this forum to things happening outside Edmonton so that we don't have a fish bowl mindset occurring.
              "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
                I think it's very important that we devote some time on this forum to things happening outside Edmonton so that we don't have a fish bowl mindset occurring.

                I totally and absolutely agree but was taken to task by Oilers1984 on my posting here...

                http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...ad.php?t=21599



                As for this comment - I'm always surprised when seemingly accomplished minds curiously extrapolate current trends out to infinity. People here might recall the same thing happening in the 1980s around Edmonton - yet 20 yrs later that worthless land was selling for millions upon millions. So what is the point?

                "Homes and strip malls in America's outer-ring suburbs, which contained most of the country's most expensive homes in the 1990s, are now worth less than what it cost to build them. And the land beneath them is worth effectively zero..."
                Last edited by KC; 30-11-2011, 11:15 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ^ I think the point is that we didn't have a housing crash, but if we did.... is it impossible to believe that the above statement wouldn't ring true.

                  Further to that... IIf market be the Gen y's and downsizing Baby boomers means demand for suburban digs starts to fall off... what value does that land now hold.

                  I think articles like these could be used to argue for a limit to sprawl within the AHD.
                  "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Urban Form is really becoming and interesting topic too... where we stop placing important on hight and really start looking at the ground level interaction and reclaiming the idea that roads are only for cars and that a city doesn't not need to be soley based around how to I drive my car from Point A to B
                    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      New York City’s new plan to improve street safety: Throw haiku at it http://bit.ly/ukmJQW

                      Janette Sadik-Khan,
                      DOT commissioner
                      of New York City

                      seems to think the main
                      challenge to street safety is
                      not enough short poems.

                      Thus, her new campaign:
                      Making bikers and walkers
                      safer through haiku.

                      Not good haiku, either.
                      Certainly not as good as
                      the ones I can write!

                      http://www.grist.org/i/assets/curbside_haiku
                      "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Great thread, thanks for the links.
                        Mike

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          yw!
                          "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Interesting thread topic.

                            There is evidence to support some of what Leinberger is saying in #1. People are returning to the downtowns and central neighbourhoods of American cities. However, population growth in outer fringe suburbs is also strong. It is the non-central city neighbourhoods and inner suburbs that are mostly losing people. In terms of urban form, the donut of a generation ago is being replaced by the bulls eye of today.

                            A really cool map shows the shifting populations between 2000 and 2010: http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/map

                            Zoom in on a medium size US city with moderate to high growth like Edmonton is experiencing (e.g. Charlotte, Austin, Tucson, Columbus, Sacramento) and you'll see what I mean.

                            To paraphrase Twain, the reports of the death of the outer fringe suburb have been greatly exaggerated.
                            Last edited by East McCauley; 02-12-2011, 04:11 PM. Reason: typo

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                            • #15
                              http://archinect.com/features/articl...he-public-good

                              2. Section 2 of the High Line is unveiled

                              Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro didn’t disappoint on Section 2 of the High Line when it opened in June. This second stretch proved to be markedly different and arguably more dynamic than the first, channeling visitors through narrow caverns of buildings, across elevated steel catwalks, and to places of respite like a modest patch of grass and bleachers made of salvaged wood. The masterminds behind the High Line seized the moment, releasing the first comprehensive book on its making and securing a massive $20 million donation, among other feats. Meanwhile, a staggering three million people walked the High Line in 2011 and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Manhattan’s “park in the sky” has already catalyzed over $2 billion in new investment. Best of all, another third of the High Line awaits.
                              "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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