Category Archives: urban planning

Masdar begs the question: What exactly is meant by “a sustainable city?”

{from The New York Times; words by Nicolai Ouroussoff; photo by Duncan Chard} Back in 2007, when the government here announced its plan for “the world’s first zero-carbon city” on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, many Westerners dismissed it as … Continue reading

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Can Cities Make Us Crazy?

{photo source} Another article from The Atlantic…this one examines the connection between the urban environment and schizophrenia. I tend to ignore articles that seem anti-urban, but I don’t think cultivating a skewed, partisan view of the city is especially healthy. … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Livability, Science, Sustainability, thinking, urban planning, What if? | 2 Comments

Does New Orleans Have an Identity Crisis?

And if so, how many other cities do as well? I spent five weeks in New Orleans in May/June of this year…it is a truly fascinating city, a completely unique place, yet for the most part it denies the fact that it is a delta city. With large tracts of the city below sea level, it would seem reasonable to expect water to be an omnipresent characteristic. But the built environment of New Orleans denies water, walls it off, instead of embracing it.

There’s a line from Jurassic Park that I’ve quoted a bazillion times: “[The scientists] were so concerned with whether they could, they never stopped to consider whether they should.” Wherever technology allows one to ignore nature, this seems to be too often what happens. Modern New Orleans was built wrongly (where it is built wrongly) because it could be. Continue reading

Posted in architecture, Climate Change, Culture, Josh Grigsby, Placemaking, Response Pieces, Sustainability, technology, thinking, urban design, urban planning, vernacular architecture, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Urban Interventions in Two Hours: NYC

Found myself in New York City the other day with a couple hours to spare, so thought I’d explore some of Manhattan’s recent urban planning projects. Two hours turned out to be just enough time to check out the (sort of) newly pedestrianized Times Square, trace the 9th Ave bike lane from 33rd to 20th, walk the length of phase 1 of the High Line, and head back to Port Authority alongside the 8th avenue bike lane.
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Posted in Auto Independence, Bicycles, Dispatches, Food for Thought, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Placemaking, Transportation, urban design, urban planning, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neuroscience and the Buddha Mind

If meditation can actually make minds and bodies healthier, could the same approach be taken with cities? What if, as a supplemental process to traditional quantitative analysis, planners and urban shapers meditated on their city? What does it mean to be that city? Would such a process reveal truths typically unseen? Continue reading

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