Is Maclean’s telling us in Windsor something new or is it something that we have always known?
Here are the numbers from Maclean’s, each section is expandable for the larger picture.
What Is a Good City?That was one of the many probing questions that the visionary former mayor of Bogotá Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa, asked a packed auditorium in San Francisco last night. How do we define what makes a good city, what is our criteria? What makes an urban environment desirable and livable, and how do we judge the quality of life? What is socially and environmentally sustainable?
Another master plan that you would probably NOT see in Windsor! City proposes adoption of Pedestrian Master Plan
No Parking Anytime Why parking your car is more environmentally destructive than driving it.
“..Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly times when formerly industrial land can and should be reclaimed for other uses. But there are also times when industrial sites can be re-purposed for new industrial uses that fit with the urban context. As with everything, context matters…location matters. Cities have infrastructure and a diverse workforce that are increasingly recognized as assets to build on. Let’s make the most of them where we can. Some cities like Chicago, NYC and Portland have gotten out in front of this issue by protecting industrial land from variance requests. These protection areas are hard to policitally come by but a solid public commitment to support continued industrial use. ..”
Transit friendly projects The principals of Liberty Developments believe living outside the downtown core – or even in the 905 – doesn’t mean you have to own a car.
That’s why the company has been on the forefront of transit-friendly residential development in places not too long ago considered suburban fringes, such as Markham and Thornhill.
On Monday, July 13, 2009, Council received the third Discussion Paper, dealing with. This Discussion Paper provides draft Official Plan policies related to the City’s role and expectations in the areas of Networks and the Transportation System, with an emphasis on planning for a series of robust, interconnected networks, and accommodating a broad range of transportation modes.
Wendell Cox recently reported onthe state of so-called “urban infill” efforts, and analyzed which cities are experiencing an increase in their density. This report shows some surprising trends. Cities such as Pittsburgh, which claim to be successful at “infilling”, are actually dropping in density, in part because of low birth rates and lack of in-migration.
What may be the next trend might be called urban agriculturalization or “urban backfill”. In the past, urban infill used to make sense. Where a concentration of people already existed, and where infrastructure was in place, development between existing structures seemed inevitable. With the accessibility allowed by the car, urban infill became a choice among others, including the suburban frontier. Urban infill became, for most cities, a rarity.
“Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change,” published earlier this year, argues that cities need to plan their future development considering their ”resiliency” to changes in climate and the availability of fossil fuels. AuthorsPeter Newman (Curtin University, Australia), Timothy Beatley (University of Virginia), and Heather Boyer (Harvard University) predict that in the next couple years, energy demand will outmatch oil supplies worldwide, resulting in a situation exceeding the challenges of the OPEC oil embargo in the early 1970’s. The authors argue that expanded use of cars, ever-growing urban sprawl, and poorly managed urban development could lead to a twin energy and climate crisis for cities. “A danger that few think about with such immediacy is the threat of the collapse of metropolitan regions in the face of resource depletion — namely, the reduction in the availability of oil and the necessary reduction in all fossil fuel use to reduce human impact on climate change.”
This is the last of a series of excerpts from my article in the upcoming issue of the International Journal of Architectural Research, about the principles of emergent urbanism. Click here for part I, The Journey to Emergence. Click here for part II, The Fundamentals of Urban Complexity.
HOW EMERGENT URBANISM WORKS
In a traditional spontaneous city, 100% of the surface is initially a network structure, open land. From this surface the best paths are selected to fit the networks that are emerging, and the leftover space is progressively built upon. Starting with a completely open, fully-connected land structure, the city’s design can consist of a purely negative process by placing constraints on construction over important paths. In this way the street structure and hierarchy becomes an evolved structure that matches the history of its networks, and the placement of buildings and uses is also an evolved structure that matches the flows of movement. Over time these paths are paved and upgraded, and important junctions of paths become the central open space of the city. The central square of a spontaneous town can be explained as the remainder of a fractal process of subtraction, with the most underused part of the spatial network being removed at each additional step of feedback until no further network subtractions are possible. With the circulation of people optimized, the remaining space is augmented with street furniture specifically designed for crowds, such as benches, transit stops, billboards, kiosks and so on.
Ontario government barriers stopping district energy system If the Ontario government is so intent on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the widespread use of green energy technologies, then why does it keep barriers in place that undermine its own objectives?
Scientists are turning agricultural leftovers, wood and fast-growing grasses into a huge variety of biofuels—even jet fuel. But before these next-generation biofuels go mainstream, they have to compete with oil at $60 a barrel
WE’RE LIVING IN a newly frugal world. But the rediscovered values of thrift and moderation should apply to the government as much as they do to households. No more trillion-dollar misadventures abroad: we need to spend money at home, and we need to get the maximum bang for our buck. If the Obama administration is serious about stimulating the economy and creating as many new jobs as possible, one choice is clear: it should announce a massive increase in federal arts funding. Artists are among the very poorest citizens. When they get cash, they spend it both quickly and carefully. That’s not what most recipients of federal largesse do, but it happens to be exactly what economists look for in any stimulus package. Arts spending is fantastic at creating employment: for every $30,000 or so spent on the arts, one more person gets a job, compared with about $1 million if you’re building a road or hospital. And such spending has a truly lasting benefit: the Works Progress Administration didn’t just create murals, it subsidized enormous leaps in graphic design, in theater (including America’s first all-black production ofMacbeth), and in fine art. One painter lived off the WPA’s Federal Art Project for eight years before finally getting his first solo show in 1943. Maybe a similar program today could produce America’s next Jackson Pollock.
More Families Are Becoming Homeless Largest Increases in 2008 Came in Rural and Suburban Areas, Study Finds
Call it an “eco-dome,” “moon cocoon,” or “modern mud hut,” an earthen structure of minimally processed local materials will soon be rising in Rochester.The City Planning Commission approved North East Area Development Inc.’s application on Monday to construct a 30-foot diameter dome that will be made primarily of bagged dirt. The eco-dome is expected to be the first of its kind in the city.
Fast lane to safer cycling Ontario should step in to help beleaguered cyclists and city politicians, says Albert Koehl
If cyclists in Ontario have learned anything over the past decade, it’s that getting city hall to make cycling safe is a slow process. The City of Toronto, for example, despite a green-leaning council, has installed, on average, fewer than a dozen kilometres of bike lanes each year. The world’s glaciers are melting at a faster pace...Ontario planning law already puts a healthy emphasis on cycling, walking and transit. Both the Toronto region’s growth plan and the Provincial Policy Statement, which is currently under review, require cities to consider the safety of cyclists. The growth plan directs cities to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian networks are integrated into transportation planning “to provide safe, comfortable travel for pedestrians and bicyclists.”
Canada is at a critical juncture. The recession has left hundreds of factories sitting empty and hundreds of thousands of workers sitting at home, not knowing what future lies ahead for their families. Added to this, the major issue before the recession hit — the environment — has not just gone away because we are not talking as much about it. Every day, we are exhausting our oil reserves, and the impact of an oil economy is slowly, but persistently, making our planet inhospitable.
But one project can at once lift our recessed economy and propel us forward into the economy of tomorrow: a multi-modal intercity high-speed rail network.
Investing in an intercity high-speed transportation system is the right choice. Every country in the G8 except ours has figured this out and has invested in HSR as a component of a multi-model system. Corridors such as Calgary-Edmonton and Quebec City-Windsor are home to more than 50 per cent of Canadians and their population density equals, if not surpasses, that that of some European and Asian countries where HSR has become the norm.
Cyclists hear a lot about how much better the biking is in Europe. The Brooklyn Paper takes a look at why, and whether or not the lessons of Amsterdam are applicable in the US.
“It’s the quickest way to move around in the city, even more than a car or public transit,” said Ria Hilhorst, top bike planner for Amsterdam’s Dienst Infrastructuur Verkeer en Vervoer, which (we have been told) translates roughly to the Department of Transportation. ‘It’s a very, very important part of our policy to keep people on bicycles and stimulate the use of it.’”
“In [Amsterdam's] central neighborhoods, nearly 60 percent of all trips are made on bicycles…While the sheer number of bicycles certainly makes the cyclists more visible on the streets, the city’s bike-friendly planning has put two-wheelers at the top of the transportation pecking order.
One of the big problems in development today, in particular in the area of city planning, is distinguishing between good urban infill and mediocre urban infill. At first glance the two may look very similar, but they are not. Good urban infill has a great interface, like what you see in the photo above. Mediocre (or bad) urban infill does not. People don’t want mediocre infill, it adds density without adding vitality. People crave good urban infill, because when you combine density and great interface, you get the best part of urban life – vibrant and healthy street-life.
Click over to see the picture (there are several more) and read the post about how to do urban streets right, how to do it wrong, and how doing it wrong can have negative effects that can cancel out some of what was done right. Excellent post, well worth your time. See also this comment on Swamplot for a coda.
The Geography of Stolen Space Communique #2 from the Bureau of Taking Back Public Space:
‘Nina looked down and saw inclined at an odd angle an horizon of straggling red suburbs; arterial roads dotted with little cars; a disused canal; some distant hills sown with bungalows; wireless masts and overhead power cables; men and women were indiscernible except as tiny spots; they were marrying and shopping and making money and having children. The scene lurched and tilted as the aeroplane struck a current of air. ‘I think I am going to be sick,’ said Nina.”
For well over a century now, the modern suburb has offered rich pickings for snobbery and ridicule. Even though three-quarters of us live in suburbia, the raw contempt of Evelyn Waugh - or, indeed, the affectionate take of The Kumars at No 42 - sums up our fraught relationship with the vulgar, verdant environs of semis, drives and roundabouts.
The city of Santa Monica has just unveiled its first segment of green street, one where rainwater runoff seeps into porous pavement and landscaping.Full Story: Santa Monica Street Turned Green
It’s part of an effort by the city to reduce the amount of pollution that enters the nearby ocean, the majority of which is carried by urban runoff that’s transported by the sewer system.
“Before the water can reach the curb, much of it percolates into the ground through a permeable concrete layer six inches deep that allows the water to infiltrate into the soil below.
Infiltration basins under the parking lanes store the water during a storm or in the event there is dry weather runoff. The runoff is collected by the basins with filters in the gutters.
The water is stored until it percolates into the surrounding soil, helping to replenish groundwater supplies.”
Tags: artists, bicycles, Biofuels, City governance, Economic crisis, High Speed Rail, Holland, Homeless, Infill, London Ontario, Maclean's, Michigan, Parking, Public spaces, public transit, urban planning, urban sprawl, walking, Windsor Ontario