Sarah Goodyear

Sarah Goodyear has written about cities for a variety of publications, including Grist and Streetsblog. She lives in Brooklyn. She's also on Twitter.

Sprawl

As suburban office parks lose steam, Apple unveils the ultimate example

Back to the future in the Apple spaceship.Screenshot: Apple via YouTube The old-school suburban office park seems to be having a midlife crisis. A special report in Crain’s about Chicago-area businesses such as Sears, AT&T, and Sara Lee looking to relocate from the suburbs to the urban core — along with the news that Swiss megabank UBS may be abandoning Stamford, Conn., to move back to Manhattan — has prompted a flurry of responses around the urbanist blogoverse. Meanwhile, two of the American companies nearly universally hailed as forward-thinking — Facebook and Apple — are betting their futures on super-fancy …

Cities

Getting their fair share: The rise of the barter market [VIDEO]

Barter markets — where people bring stuff they don’t want and exchange it for stuff that other people don’t want — are like urban sustainability Swiss Army knives. It’s amazing how many things they can do. They reduce the amount of expensive new crap people buy. They help folks clean out unwanted junk from their homes and keep it out of the waste stream. They create a lively public space. And they build community. The only barter market I know of in the United States, the Really Really Free Market in the East Village (now defunct), was organized by anarchists, …

Infrastructure

An Indian boom city grows without planning, at its peril

In Gurgaon, gleaming residences, malls, and office buildings are like islands unto themselves.Photo: iamgurgaonYou hear a lot of people talking these days about small government. About letting the free market drive development. About how city planners are trying to do some kind of sinister social engineering. About how the feds and the states should just stay out of the way and let business do its thing, and the economy would take off. So what would that look like? Well, it might look something like Gurgaon, India, a booming suburb about 15 miles from New Delhi that has flourished economically over …

Natural Gas

Mark Ruffalo wants you to stand up to hydrofracking

Actor Mark Ruffalo, who lives in a rural New York town on the Delaware River with his family, is not one of those celebrities who parachutes into a random political cause and starts ignorantly pontificating about solutions. He has been actively involved with efforts to keep potentially disastrous hydrofracking practices out of New York State for three years, and he knows his stuff. He’s even co-founded his own initiative on water quality, Water Defense. Now Ruffalo has banded together with some other famous friends, including Ethan Hawke and Zoe Saldana, to make a new video, “I Love My New York …

Urbanism

A new generation says Dallas doesn’t have to suck

Yesterday I wrote about an emerging “new New Urbanism” — solutions for cities that are fast, cheap, nimble, flexible, and open-source. What does that look like in action? Let’s look at a specific example. Some cities have great public buildings, designed at a grand but human scale, that foster civic engagement and a sense of place. And then there’s Dallas. The plaza outside of Dallas City Hall, designed by I.M. Pei and completed in 1978, is a notoriously barren and desolate space, rarely used by human beings. As Kaid Benfield wrote a couple of weeks back, the problem was recognized …

Urbanism

The new New Urbanism: Fast, nimble, flexible, and tactical

Creating the new New Urbanism, on the street in Madison, with plenty of beer.Photo: Aurash KhawarzadLast week, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) held its 19th annual meeting in Madison, Wisc. You may not have heard of the CNU, but you have almost certainly seen its influence in American development. The movement — which actually kicked off 30 years ago in Seaside, Fla., the town that later served as a set for The Truman Show — isn’t so new anymore. Its ideals of density and walkability, with their attendant environmental benefits, have been absorbed into the planning practices of …

Infrastructure

‘Walkerville’ tent city springs up in shadow of Wisconsin’s grand Capitol

The Wisconsin State Capitol Building.Photo: Sarah GoodyearI wrote back in January about the importance of public space and urban design in the Egyptian revolution, and more generally about the role it plays in the ability of people to protest the actions of their governments and demand political change. Well, last week I was in Madison, Wisc., for the conference of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and just a few blocks away from the convention center is the Wisconsin State Capitol Building, designed by George Browne Post and completed in 1914. This magnificent edifice and the gracious park that surrounds …

Biking

The biggest, baddest bikeshare system in the world: Hangzhou, China [VIDEO]

A couple of weeks ago, I rode the Capital Bikeshare system in Washington, D.C., and I was some impressed. With 1,100 bikes, it’s currently the biggest in the nation, and it makes getting around Washington much easier than it has ever been before. But the bikeshare in Hangzhou, China, a city of 6.77 million, blows anything in Europe, Canada, or the U.S. out of the water. Streetfilms went there recently to document the situation. Hangzhou has 50,000 bikes at 2,050 stations around the city. People make an average of 240,000 trips a day on the bikes, which are completely integrated …

Cities

Next stop, the food desert: Fresh produce gets on the bus

The payoff scene in this video about a new mobile produce stand on Chicago’s West Side comes about nine minutes in. A young boy is urged to eat an apple by the women staffing the Fresh Moves bus, which just launched with the mission of bringing fresh produce to an inner-city food desert. The boy acts as if he has never bitten into an apple before. Never even really touched one, maybe. The apple actually seems to make him nervous. But finally he does it, and the women cheer him on. If you had any question that we need creative …

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