There are better ways to get around town

ARTICLE

John Massengale, New York Times, 15 May 2018

New York City’s Department of Transportation has led the American movement for better streets …

The next step is to adopt congestion pricing below 96th Street in Manhattan and then:

1. Decrease the number of Manhattan streets that function as transportation corridors primarily devoted to moving machines through the city.

2. Design and build Slow Zones where people actually drive slowly.

3. Make the transportation corridors that remain better urban places, with a better balance between city life and moving cars.

Urban design is really the language of the city. When you walk down the street everything you see has been designed.

Amanda Burden, urban planner

Architecture is a language. When you are very good, you can be a poet.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architect

See just how much of a city’s land is used for parking spaces

ARTICLE / TOOL

Adele Peters, Fast Company, 20 July 2017

At the moment, cars spend around 95% of the time parked, and only 5% of the time in use. Huge swaths of cities, either in parking lots, garages, or street parking spaces, are used as storage for cars (while, at the same time, many cities struggle to find enough land to build housing to keep up with demand). “There’s this huge space that’s basically wasted,” says Szell.

The beauty of stairs

SHORT FILM

Helena Kardová & Tsveta Lozanova, Monocle, 16 June 2017

Staircase design is an outward display of creativity. These statements of architecture keep our bodies and minds active, running up a flight of stairs gets your heart pumping and the magnificent views at the end of an ascent can spark innovative ideas.

Superblocks: how Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars

ARTICLE / SHORT FILM

David Roberts, vox.com, Apr 22 2017

The idea is pretty simple. Take nine square blocks of city. (It doesn’t have to be nine, but that’s the ideal.) Rather than all traffic being permitted on all the streets between and among those blocks, cordon off a perimeter and keep through traffic, freight, and city buses on that.

In the interior, allow only local vehicles, traveling at very low speeds, under 10 mph. And make all the interior streets one-way loops (see the arrows on the green streets below), so none of them serve through streets.

In this way, you create a nine-square-block mini village, the interior spaces of which can be more equitably shared between cars and other uses.


For more from Vox on Cities and Urbanism, click here.

7 principles for building better cities

TALK

Peter Calthorpe, TED, April 2017

So there are seven principles that have now been adopted by the highest levels in the Chinese government, and they’re moving to implement them. And they’re simple, and they are globally, I think, universal principles.

One is to preserve the natural environment, the history and the critical agriculture.

Second is mix. Mixed use is popular, but when I say mixed, I mean mixed incomes, mixed age groups as well as mixed-land use.

Walk. There’s no great city that you don’t enjoy walking in. You don’t go there. The places you go on vacation are places you can walk. Why not make it everywhere?

Bike is the most efficient means of transportation we know. China has now adopted policies that put six meters of bike lane on every street. They’re serious about getting back to their biking history.

Complicated planner-ese here: connect. It’s a street network that allows many routes instead of singular routes and provides many kinds of streets instead of just one.

Ride. We have to invest more in transit. There’s no silver bullet. Autonomous vehicles are not going to solve this for us. As a matter of fact, they’re going to generate more traffic, more VMT, than the alternative.

And focus. We have a hierarchy of the city based on transit rather than the old armature of freeways.

It’s a big paradigm shift, but those two things have to get reconnected in ways that really shape the structure of the city.


To visit Calthorpe Associates website click here.

Healthy cities: vim and vigour

SHORT FILM

Anette Lien, Monocle, 27 January 2017

In Japan’s Unzen City, the adventurous ideas of Taku Habino, the head of Habino Sekkei Architecture have revolutionised early childhood development in the city’s nurseries. 


To visit Japanese architecture firm Hibino Sekkei’s website, click here. For a survey of their work from ArchDaily, click here.

What makes a city tick? Designing the ‘urban DMA’

ARTICLE

Kim Dovey & Elek Pafka, The Conversation, November 2, 2016

When we talk about “urban DMA”, we’re talking about the density of a city’s buildings, the way people and activities are mixed together, and the access, or transport networks that we use to navigate through them.


For more from The Conversation on cities, click here.

First life, then spaces, then buildings – the other way around never works. 

Jan Gehl, architect

We must kill the street. We shall truly enter into modern town planning only after we have accepted this preliminary determination.

Le Corbusier, architect

Streets and their sidewalks – the main public places of a city – are its most vital organs.

Jane Jacobs, journalist

When you operate in an overbuilt metropolis, you have to hack your way with a meat ax.

Robert Moses, public official

The materials of city planning are: sky, space, trees, steel and cement; in that order and that hierarchy.

Le Corbusier, architect

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