If anybody at any time wanted to pay professionals to make a city planning idea which would kill city life, it could not have done better than what the modernists accomplished.

Jan Gehl, architect

You know, it is life that is right and the architect who is wrong.

Le Corbusier, architect

Designing a dream city is easy; rebuilding a living one takes imagination.

Jane Jacobs, journalist

Those who can, build. Those who can’t, criticize.

Robert Moses, public official

The Life-Sized City

TALK

Mikael Colville-Andersen, TED TALK, 27 Oct 2015

It’s all about the people in the Life-Sized City. The people are the main priority, not the machines, not the cult of big, the people. Everything else is secondary. Amazing people populate our cities, like The Lulu. The Lulu is not a consumer, she’s not a statistic, she’s not a number. She’s an amazing little human. Don’t measure her, don’t calculate how much money we’re going to make off of her in the course of her life. How much the cult of big is going to earn of this little statistical person. No. You know what you do? You design the city around her as your baseline. You reduce the number of cars, you reduce pollution, you create more green spaces, you build bicycle infrastructure, safe bicycle infrastructure, so that she can ride her bike, because that is all this kids wants to do. (Apart from eating ice-cream … ) You design for her, for the The Lulus of our world. You design for the citizens of the city, every single one of them, all of them apply here. It’s time to hack it back.


For more from Mikael Colville-Andersen, visit his urban design company Copenhagenize click here, for their ‘Bicycle Friendly City Index’ click here, for their short film series ‘Top Ten Design Elements That Make Copenhagen Bicycle-Friendly’ click here and for The Guardian article ‘Copenhagenize your city: the case for urban cycling in 12 graphs’ click here.

What ‘Tactical Urbanism’ Can (and Can’t) Do for Your City

ARTICLE

Sarah Goodyear, CityLab, 20 Mar 2015

The phrase “tactical urbanism” came into use just a few short years ago, coined by a group of young planners and activists and popularized by an online guide to phenomena such as guerrilla wayfinding, pop-up markets, and DIY traffic-calming.

Many of those nimble urban-improvement techniques, which often originated in the activist community, have since gone mainstream. Cities such as San Francisco and Philadelphia, for instance, have been rapidly installing parklets where parking spaces used to go, a practice that originated with an annual grassroots action called Park(ing) Day.


To listen to a panel discussion about Tactical Urbanism, hosted by the New York Times and including Mike Lydon, click here.

To find out more about Mike Lydon and his Street Plans practice click here, for links to Street Plan’s books click here, and to download their guides to Tactical Urbanism click here. Several of these guides have been co-authored with similar placemaking firms around the world including Co-Design Studio (Australia), Ciudad Emergente (Chile), and TaMaLaCà (Italy).

Charles Montgomery talks “Happy City” with Mark Gorton

TALK

Mark Gorton, Street Films, 22 April 2014

We know that for much of the history of urban planning and architecture the people who build our cities, who build public spaces, who create buildings and city systems, often they will tell us they are building for our happiness, it’s the end goal of everything all of us do anyway, except they rarely provide evidence to demonstrate that they are making us happier with their creations. So I found this very curious, and looking at the last couple of decades of terrific work being done in neuroscience, behavioural economics and psychology, we’re actually starting to gain some evidence that tells us a little bit of the effect of the urban system on our our own well being, on how we feel and how we treat other people.


For see Charles Montgomery’s book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design on Good Reads click here.

4 ways to make a city more walkable

TALK

Jeff Speck, TED, October 2013

If you’re going to get them to walk, then you have to offer a walk that’s as good as a drive or better. What does that mean? It means you need to offer four things simultaneously: there needs to be a proper reason to walk, the walk has to be safe and feel safe, the walk has to be comfortable and the walk has to be interesting. You need to do all four of these things simultaneously, and that’s the structure of my talk today, to take you through each of those.


For more from Jeff Speck and his work as an advocate for walkable cities, click here.

The Human Scale

FILM

Andreas Dalsgaard, Final Cut for Real, 2013

I guess there is this very difficult tradition, which comes from the way we teach architecture and planning, the idea that one person can solve everything. And we even have this term ‘The Masterplan’, like ‘I’m going to do The Masterplan’, which will answer all questions. And of course we know it’s impossible, cities are unbelievably complex, so even the idea of a masterplan is really crazy.  All we can do is make a kind of a framework, we came make a very robust framework which allows life to take place.