Tag Archives: urban design

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

Thoughts on Seaside, Sea Change

I’ve heard Seaside, Florida, lauded as the first great project of the New Urbanism. I’ve also heard it ridiculed as new-faux urbanism. So what’s the truth, at least as I see it? Well, during the scant few hours I recently spent there I saw a lot to like. Dozens of wonderful pathways for bikes and pedestrians that connect everywhere to everywhere, many of which feel like something to discover instead of simply travel. Residential roads eschewing sidewalks in favor of shared space. Relatively tall buildings on relatively narrow lots. Architecture with integrity. Loads of trees and shady places (critical given the town’s latitude). Seaside feels like it was designed by people who care.
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Posted in architecture, Auto Independence, Dispatches, human scale, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Placemaking, Uncategorized, urban design, urban planning, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Transportation Engineers: Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution

Note from planologie—I saw this comment by Planetizen user ConcernedAboutWinnipeg at the end of Alex Krieger’s article, “Being Urban Minded: Three Current Debates Around Urban Design Practice,” and thought it worth singling out. It seems like in any profession a rift inevitably forms between the creatives and the technicians, and that this silo-ing is especially pernicious when it affects entire populations. I’ve spoken with several transportation engineers who echoed ConcernedAboutWinnipeg’s sentiments, namely that most of them work within the paradigm they were taught, that awareness of the old paradigm’s destructiveness is spreading rapidly, and that the younger crop of transpo engineers have “seen the light.”
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Posted in Auto Independence, Culture, Livability, transit, Transportation, Uncategorized, urban design, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The World’s Most Beautiful Cities

Since beauty is subjective, we surveyed city specialists from a range of fields, including urban planning, architecture and sustainable development. Respondents include Reynolds and Michael Kaufman, an architect at Chicago-based architectural firm Goettsch Partners, as well as Raymond Levitt, director of the construction program in civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, Tony McGuirk, an urban designer, architect and chairman of BDP in London, J. Hugh O’Donnell of urban engineering firm MMM International, and Ken Drucker, New York design director of architectural firm HOK.
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Deep Walkability

The true test of walkability I think is this: Can you spend a pleasant half hour walking or on transit and end up at a variety of great places? The quality of having a feast of options available when you walk out your front door is what I starting to think of as “deep walkability.” Continue reading

Posted in Auto Independence, Culture, human scale, Livability, Placemaking, Shout Outs, transit, Transportation, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment