Infrastructure

Infrastructure

Repairing our broken cities by transforming infrastructure

Can landscape architecture fix the blight created by outdated and destructive transportation infrastructure?

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 …

How to fight obesity and climate change at the same time

In Louisville, Ky., projects that might normally pitched as good for the planet are being funded because they're good for people, too. Money from private and public investors is going towards building bike lanes, funding community gardens, and increasingly walkability in low income neighborhoods. The motivation behind the investments is not to reduce carbon emissions, but to increase community health. In the Louisville area, more than six in ten people are overweight, and Kentucky, which has the 7th highest obesity rate in the nation, recently had to fend back lobbyists who wanted the state to allow food stamps to be …

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 …

Sprawl

Which part of Detroit really needs to be ‘right-sized’?

Photo: Trey CampbellCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. At the bottom of this post are two short videos about Detroit, both featuring architect and planner Mark Nickita, principal of the city’s Archive Design Studio and a lifelong Detroit resident. In a very refreshing change from the mind-numbing negativity one usually hears about the city, Nickita is upbeat and hopeful. His point of view, emphasizing revitalization, is much closer to my own than much of what I read, which effectively takes the approach that the city has somehow been abandoned beyond redemption, leaving the only question how to manage its more-or-less …

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 …