Archive for September, 2010

Californians Dreaming About the Next Metropolis


Earlier this week Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa invited me and a small group of Los Angeles’ business, labor, and environmental leaders to discuss his plan to accelerate the construction of a dozen transit projects in his region. The goal is to build in 10 years what they initially planned to do in 30, hence the plan moniker “30/10.” California’s junior senator and chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Barbara Boxer, was the featured guest since new kinds of federal help is a key part of the plan.

The most important books in planning (although I am behind on my reading)


Death and Life of Great American Cities – to understand what urbanism is and why it works or doesn’t. (For extra credit, you can read her first substantive article on the subject, “Downtown is for People,” which was published in Fortune Magazine in April 1958, and later in the compendium The Vanishing Metropolis–which compiled the 6 articles in the series of pieces commissioned by William Whyte, then the editor of Fortune Magazine. I am proud to say that not only do I have the book…

How to Build a Green, Car-free Community: Vauban

We hear often how hard it is to live in North America without a car, yet in Manhattan 75% of households get along without one. Then we hear that in the suburbs its different- that is why in the USA nationwide, only 8% of households don’t own a car. But what if you designed a community around the principle that one doesn’t need a car? That really was green from the ground up? What would it look like? Vauban, near the German city of Freiburg, may be the best demonstration yet.

CNU Coalition Study Finds Restored Avenue Would Meet Traffic Needs, Stimulate Rebirth in New Orleans


As public and private partners in Greater Tremé and Lower Mid-City work to restore the Claiborne corridor to economic and cultural vitality — and as the Claiborne Expressway and its deteriorating ramps face up to one hundred millions of dollars in reconstruction— a new study of traffic data and circulation patterns concludes that removal of the freeway would bring important benefits for surrounding neighborhoods and New Orleans as a whole.

Tian Yi: Masterplan with optimum housing location


In wetlands on the outskirts of the city of Wuxi in eastern China, the new Tian Yi neighbourhood is seeing the light of day. The former industrial area will be integrated into Wuxi’s existing urban structure, and the area’s natural environment will once again have its original flora and fauna. With the focus on sustainability, Tian Yi will be an independent and compact mixed neighbourhood with homes and businesses, allowing residents to fulfil all their needs locally. The area is part of a larger master plan for the 2 km² big area.

Our Car-Based Environments Are Making Us Sick


As the U.S. medical industry pours billions into treating epidemic diseases, it is merely addressing the symptoms of “deep-rooted structural issues” while neglecting the underlying causes, says Dr. Richard Jackson, chair of the School of Health at UCLA and former head of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Jackson — one of the leading voices on the role of the built environment…

A New Park for Berlin: Proposals For Historic Airport’s Future Unveiled

Wettbewerb Parklandschaft Tempelhof

On Friday, Berlin city officials unveiled the finalists in a landscape design competition to decide the future of historic, out-of-service Tempelhof Airport. Proposals for the airport have included erecting mountains, digging lakes and establishing luxury medical centers. While less outrageous, the current crop of proposals are far more likely to happen.

Charming Colonial Streets of San Juan Go Car Free

I’ve had a soft spot for Puerto Rico since taking a work trip there four or five years ago. I’d heard some negative things about the island, which many people seemed to think of as a third-rate part of the Caribbean, but I found much to enjoy — the natural beauty of its coastlines and rainforests, the charming and lively capital of San Juan, not to mention the mofongo and the rum. Fending with the traffic, however, was hardly a highlight. “People complain about traffic jams, but they see congestion as a sign of progress,” an environmentally minded priest told me at the time. Now it seems that attitude may be changing for the better.

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