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New Urbanism : Favors Pedestrians and Bikes, Not Cars

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New Urbanism : Favors Pedestrians and Bikes, Not Cars

 

original title

Cars are Last ! : New Urbanism, New Vision

no_shipping_cars_in_lcl_seafreight.jpg

Let's kick this off with some videos...

 

Sprawling From Grace, Driven To Madness

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3vz1i5DyN4

A brief look - most visitors here should skip this.

 

An Introduction to New Urbanist concepts: http://www.southland...-urbanism-video

 

Walkability rankings of metro areas

 

A Brookings Institution survey ranks the 30 biggest metropolitan areas according to the number of "walkable urban places" relative to the area's population:

 

1. Washington

2. Boston

3. San Francisco

4. Denver

5. Portland, Ore.

 

6. Seattle

7. Chicago

8. Miami

9. Pittsburgh

10. New York

===

/20-more: Denver ranks fourth in "walkable places" - The Denver Post http://www.denverpos...5#ixzz2L71JsyZD

 

NEW URBANISM LECTURES -

==============

How to Fix Suburban Sprawl - by Andres Duany, Founder: Congress of New Urbanism

 

Andrés Duany is one of the leading Architects of the New Urbanism movement. His company, DPZ, has been involved in the design of about 10 communities per year for the last 27 years. This presentation has some similarities to James Howard Kunstler's TED presentation, but it's a lot more helpful and optimistic. Duany provides insight into the causes of suburban blight and shows some of the details at the heart of it. More importantly, he also shows examples of things that work and explains how to fix what doesn't.

 

This talk is packed with insight into how the built environment affects us. I guarantee you will experience at least one ah ha moment. Please take the time to watch it.

 

1/

Introduction; Background; Suburban spraw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwd4Lq0Xvgc

 

Lecture given in San Antonio, which has one of the "best downtown areas" in America.

 

Suburbanites like their private space, but "get stressed" in the public realm.

Many public realms are : Harsh, stressful, and ugly

 

The principal of many suburban designs is: "cars should be happy"

 

2/

Prinicipal that "Uses not be mixed" creates more automobile traffic :

Zoning/Codes; Single Use vs. Mixed Use Planning; Traffic and congestion issues; Quality of Life issues;

Scale and relation to physical compatibility vs. functional compatibility

 

"It is embarrassing to be seen walking in these suburban environments."

The problem isnt that it is ugly, the problem is that it doesnt work.

There are "never enough lanes" for trafiic, it will grow to fit available lanes.

 

Mixed use solves the problems, by allowing people to walk to work and play.

 

walking20framehd1.jpg

 

3/

Mixed Use creates a choice, and can shrink travel distances :

The four major components of suburban sprawl cont'd; Business/retail component

 

Under the building codes: "the bad is easy, the good is difficult"

"Traffic people hate parked cars, because they slow down traffic flow."

 

The old fashioned CAL* designs "rent for more, and are rarely vacant"

 

4/

Mixing the Rich, with the Not so rich- creates community & Culture :

Residential component today, vs. the way we used to do it-(combining retail with residential); Importance of mixed use/range of income earners; Privacy and Community; "McMansions"; why people prefer to live in traditional towns vs. suburbs

 

5/

Middle Class solutions to housing the poor :

Residential, continued; granny flats/garage apartments, addressing affordable housing; The discipline of front/back; Intro, "sense of place"

 

6/

"Sense of Place"L What is it? :

"Sense of Place": What is it? How do you achieve it? What makes historical neighborhoods so desirable? The role of landscaping; Current residential development issues

 

Keys: Line up the buildings, Height to Width: Do not exceed 1:6 ratio (1:3 is better), Narrower streets are more popular, and property values benefit

 

7/

Using space, Defining space :

Residential development issues, cont'd; Open Spaces; Roads: highways,avenues: It's all about the cars; TXDOT;Kevin Lynch; Landmarks; Terminating vistas, then and now; Traffic engineering history

 

8/

It's all about the cars (in old design) :

It's all about the cars, cont'd; Seniors & children suffer the most from today's sprawl, causing poor quality of life issues and reverse migrations

 

Beautiful Parisian street: "everything you see, is completely illegal today"

 

9/

Schools impoverished to "make cars happy" :

Back to the 11-hour workday: Spending our lives in our cars; Gold-plated highways at the expense of our civic and public buildings; Vertical vs. horizontal infrastructure; Affordable housing cont'd, by allowing families 'one car less' they can afford $50k more house! Conclusion; Year 2010 and 2015 projections

= = = = =

 

*CAL: an abbreviation for "Cars Are Last"

 

LINKS:

Duany's corp website-- :

New Urbanist sites------ : http://newurbangreenliving.com/

CarFree Living threads : CD-summary : CD-CLT,NC : Invest : CD-AV,NC : CD-GRV,SC : CD-RH,SC // CarCost : Drains

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New Urbanism Transects - A Powerful Weapon in the War on Ugliness

 

Andres Duany and his company have developed the idea of transects to document the proportions of streetscapes. First, they divide the world into zones:

 

transect-ecozones.png

 

From a 2002 article in the APA Journal (PFD):

 

A transect should be viewed as a way of applying a set of core principles of good form to a range of human habitats. Thus the idea that human environments should be walkable, pedestrian oriented, diverse, and promoting of public space is intrinsic to each type of environment along the transect.

 

Those core principles are defined for each zone using a set of diagrams and written specifications. Here are a few examples taken from SmartCode v8.0 (large PDF) by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. The Code is a starting point to be customized for specific locations based on climate, topography, traditional styles and building techniques, etc. Note that the tags (T1, T2, T3, etc.) in each diagram match the zones above to show which patterns work in each zone.

 

/more: http://thinkorthwim.com/index.php?tag=andres-duany

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Here's Duany yet again ...

 

This time reacting to an ambitious planning proposal:

 

Andres Duany addresses SCPT and others :

 

this led me to various videos on SCPT's own website:

http://southlandsintransition.ca/video

 

Oregon%20016.JPG.preview.jpg

= = =

 

And to a book:

 

Duany and Plater-Zyberk’s recent book, Suburban Nation, written with Jeff Speck,

...was hailed as "an essential text for our time," and "a major literary event," in the national media. In 2004, Builder Magazine recognized Duany as among the 50 most influential people in home building, the ranks of which included economists, bankers and developers, apart from architects, planners and builders. Duany was ranked after Alan Greenspan, Franklin Rainee, George W. Bush and Jerry Howard, earning Duany the distinction of being the top ranking individual from the private sector.

 

(from Amazon):

xxx

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New Urbanist Hall of Fame Towns

=========================

(where cars are not essential, and space "makes sense")

 

((How many have you visited?))

 

Seaside

 

Kentlands

 

New Harmony, Indiana (Robert Owens)

 

Ann Arbor, Michigan

 

Hercules, California

 

Davis, Califiornia (Michael Corbett's "Village Homes")

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,990302,00.html

 

Markham, Toronto

 

New Lanark in Scotland (Robert Owens)

 

Verban, Germany

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Markham shows us the way to grow

Paul Berton ... Sun Media / December 15, 2007

 

Cornell, a community in Markham, just north of Toronto, is considered one of the best examples of new urbanism in Canada.

 

dtmarkham.jpg

 

But it didn't come without a fight. Developers were reluctant and the neighbours were skepitcal.

 

Today, houses in Cornell are in high demand. Developers are thrilled. The neighbours are no longer skeptical. Indeed, house prices are higher. People seem to like the rear laneways, the friendly houses with garages in the back, the walkable streets . . .

 

d6a7_18.JPG.2765%20Bur%20Oak.jpg.

 

Above all, urban sprawl has been contained. Cornell hasn't exactly been duplicated across the region, but it changed dramatically the way Markham has grown. The municipality doesn't build any -- any -- conventional subdivisions today.

 

Development in Markham follows many basics of new urbanism: No longer are subdivisions hemmed in and peppered with crescents and culs-de-sac streets; with no connectivity to adjacent neighbourhoods; with only single-family dwellings; with houses whose facades are dominated by garages.

 

Subdivisions in Markham today make better use of precious farmland, and are better, more friendly neighbourhoods.

 

"They are so different from the subdivisions of the 1960s and 1970s," says Valerie Shuttleworth, director of planning and urban design for the Town of Markham.

. . .

Markham was booming in the early 1990s: "They were just cranking them out, cookie-cutter style, but they had a vision."

 

Markham took time to think differently, and now the development industry -- and the population -- is thanking it. Yes, it's more expensive to build Cornell, but developers are charging more -- and getting it -- for homes there.

 

"They're a better product," says Shuttleworth, "a more creative product. The residents are finding they're much more comfortable in these developments."

 

It may also be more expensive (and in many cases less expensive) for the municipality to service such developments, but they also generate more in terms of tax revenue.

 

A friendly, walkable, affordable, accessible, sociable, profitable, compact, environmentally friendlier community that doesn't squander farmland -- what are we waiting for?

- -

 

/more: http://lfpress.ca/perl-bin/publish.cgi?x=a...s=thenextlondon

 

Building Codes : http://www.markham.ca/Markham/Departments/BldStd/

 

Tor. / Markham : http://www.gotransit.com/publicroot/schedu...ysmap.aspx?new=

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thnx for the tip.

 

I see that he has several books:

 

1.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series) by Christopher Alexander (Hardcover - 1977)

Buy new: $65.00 $40.95 63 Used & new from $32.49

 

2.

The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander (Hardcover - 1979)

Buy new: $55.00 $34.65 60 Used & new from $24.00

 

3.

The Phenomenon of Life: The Nature of Order, Book 1 An Essay of the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe (The Nature of Order, Book 1) by Chris Alexander (Hardcover - Jul 15, 2004)

Buy new: $75.00 $69.60 14 Used & new from $54.94

 

4.

The Luminous Ground: The Nature of Order, Book 4 by Christopher Alexander (Hardcover - Nov 2003)

Buy new: $75.00 $58.80 14 Used & new from $58.50

 

5.

Christopher Alexander: The Search for a New Paradigm in Architecture by Stephen Grabow (Hardcover - Dec 1983)

6 Used & new from $40.13

 

/see: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b/102-61...p;x=26&y=17

 

+++ REVIEW +++++

 

This book changed the way I look at buildings ... and life!, May 22, 2000

By James DeRossitt (Memphis TN) - See all my reviews

 

 

My fascination with Christopher Alexander's work began with "The Timeless Way of Building," but increased tenfold upon discovering his inexhaustible classic, "A Pattern Language." At over a thousand pages (I think,) "A Pattern Language" is an encyclopedic study of what makes buildings, streets, and communities work -- indeed, what makes environments human.

Alexander and his co-authors present us with over two hundred (roughly 250) "patterns" that they believe must be present in order for an environment to be pleasing, comfortable, or in their words, "alive." The patterns start at the most general level -- the first pattern, "Independent Regions," describes the ideal political entity, while another of my favorite patterns, "Mosaic of Subcultures," described the proper distribution of different groups within a city. The patterns gradually become more specific -- you'll read arguments about how universities should relate to the community, the proper placement of parks, the role of cafes in a city's life. If you wonder about the best design for a home, the authors will describe everything from how roofs and walls should be built, down to how light should fall within the home, where your windows should be placed, and even the most pleasant variety of chairs in the home. An underlying theme of all the patterns is that architecture, at its best, can be used to foster meaningful human interaction, and the authors urge us to be aware of how the houses we build can help us balance needs for intimacy and privacy.

 

They admit that they are uncertain about some of the patterns -- they indicate their degree of certainty using a code of asterisks placed before the pattern. For each pattern, the authors summarize the pattern in a brief statement printed in boldface, and then describe it at length, drawing upon a variety of sources to give us a full sense of what they mean: these "supporting sources" include an excerpt from a Samuel Beckett novel, papers in scholarly journals, newspaper clippings, etc. Most patterns are accompanied by a photograph (many of them beautiful and fascinating in their own right) and all are illustrated by small, casual hand-drawings. Taken together, "A Pattern Language" is an extraordinarily rich text, visually and conceptually.

 

As I said in the header of this review, "A Pattern Language" has changed the way I look at buildings and neighborhoods -- I feel like this book has made me attuned to what works, and what doesn't work, in the human environment. I'm constantly realizing things about buildings and streets that this book helped me see -- things that make people feel at home, or feel "alive," in their surroundings, or conversely, things that make people uncomfortable. And the book makes me think differently about life because it showed me how our well-being depends so much upon the way our buildings fit, or don't fit, us as UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS.

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MORE - from another review of Alexander's book

 

It Isn't about Architecture, April 29, 2000

By Philip Greenspun (Cambridge, MA USA)

=============

 

Nominally about architecture and urban planning, this book has more wisdom about psychology, anthropology, and sociology than any other that I've read. Nearly every one of this volume's 1170 pages will make you question an assumption that you probably didn't realize you were making. In a section entitled "Four-Story Limit", Alexander notes that "there is abundant evidence to show that high buildings make people crazy." Underneath is a photo of San Franisco's Transamerica tower, captioned with a quote from Orwell's 1984:

"The Ministry of Truth--Minitrue, in Newspeak--was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up terrace after terrace 300 metres in the air."

 

Alexander backs up this polemic with convincing arguments that high-rise living removes people too far from the casual society of the street, from children playing in the yard, and that apartment-dwellers therefore become isolated.

 

Alexander spends a lot of time in this book trying to figure out how to restore the damage to our communities that have been done by automobiles. He argues for better public spaces and for more integration of children, old people, and workers. He argues for more access to water by more people.

 

Many of Alexander's arguments are against the scale of modern systems. Public schools spend a fortune on building and administration precisely because they are so physically large [i've seen statistics showing that our cities spend only about one-third of their budgets on classrooms and teachers]. If we had shopfront schools and fired all the school system personnel who don't teach, we might be able to get student-teacher ratios down to 8 or 10:1 without an increase in cost. Similarly, Alexander argues for smaller retail shops, smaller factories (or at least identifiable small workgroups within factories rather than hundreds of faceless cogs) and more master/apprentice instruction.

 

What if you like the depredations of modernity and aren't interested in a utopian world where basic human needs are met? Can you learn anything about architecture from this guy? Absolutely. You'll learn that light is everything. Your bedroom has to have eastern light so that the sun wakes you up. Your best living quarters should have southern light. All the rooms should have light from at least two sides, otherwise there will be too much contrast and you'll just have to draw the shades. If you've got kids, make them sleep and play in their own wing of the house. Build a realm for yourself and your wife on a different floor. Meet the kids in the kitchen.

 

To avoid cluttering my apartment, I give away virtually all the books that I buy these days. I'm keeping this one and plan to re-read it every year.

 

++ FRAGMENTS +++

 

/1

Alexander is a radical, an anti-architect. He says that the best buildings are vernacular structures; the ordinary furnishings, gardens, rooms and houses that evolved slowly as ordinary people built what they needed and repeated what worked. What one might call "right building", as opposed to architecture, is not about style or the individuality of the professional designer, but the discovery of transcendent and inherently beautiful supports for the human functions of work, play, intimacy, and family living. Then you build it yourself. When we remodeled our own small urban house, we wove many of the patterns (there are hundreds) into the new space we built, and were happy with the results.

: johnzbox@onramp.net (Dallas, Texas)

 

/2

the most valuable tool in a remodel job, December 16, 2002

By Glenn MacKinnon (Southern California) :

 

I have just this past month completed the total renovation or remodel of a 1952 California tract home. Three years ago as the process was beginning a friend gifted us with "A Pattern Language". The impact of this book on our project and the enduring benefit we'll receive over the years is beyond calculation. The depth to which the authors understand the issues is clear from the simple and graceful way in which they have sorted out the critical factors. Space, light, air, traffic, common and private spaces are explained in a simple manner that makes the concepts applicable and appreciable in all types of buildings. In addition, they capture the more primitive factors such as our fondness of being able to see the ground when seated at a window or being uncomfortable lying in bed below a high ceiling. The way they make sense out of those components aided us in every choice from entryway to backyard secret garden. The typical reaction of those who enter our humble little dwelling for the first time is a sharp intake of breath and a quick exclamation "Oh, I LOVE your home!" Using A Pattern Language as our guide we got $400,000 value from a $100,000 remodel.

 

/3

This book encompasses both the external and internal dimensions of what it means to be human. Language elements such as:

- Carnival: Just as an individual person dreams fantastic happenings to release the inner forces which cannot be encompassed by ordinary events, so too a city needs its dreams.

- Scattered Work: The artificial separation of houses and work creates intolerable rifts in people's inner lives.

- Old People Everywhere: Old people need old people, but they also need the young, and young people need contact with the old.

- Sacred Sites: People cannot maintain their spiritual roots and their connections to the past if the physical world they live in does not also sustain these roots.

 

These are just a few of the 253 elements which describe patterns for designing and beautifying communities, regions, and structures that by their very design uplift the human spirit.

By Kathryn Barry Elliott "Writer, consultant, te... (Seattle, WA USA)

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It's a great book, and your posting of those review has reminded me that I really should read it again. It's sort of proto-New Urbanist, as it was published in 1977. It crystallized a few things about house design and got me thinking about the different levels of structure in human communities. (Though I don't always agree with all the patterns, the smaller ones in particular make a lot of sense. The larger ones I am more dubious about, but I'm not coming at it from a New Urbanist perspective.)

 

I haven't read (and don't have yet) any of his really recent stuff. I need to go to a bookstore and flip through a copy.

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It IS INTERESTING that his concepts can be used to squeeze more value out of a renovation

 

Christopher_Alexander.jpg

Christopher Alexander's

Website.......#1 : http://www.patternlanguage.com/

Website.......#2 : http://www.natureoforder.com/

Website.......#3 : http://www.livingneighborhoods.org/ht-0/bln-exp.htm

 

Wikipedia entry : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Alexander

GreatBldg entry : http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/C..._Alexander.html

 

Alexander grew up in England and started his education in sciences. In 1954, he was awarded the top open scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge University in chemistry and physics, and went on to read mathematics. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and a Master's degree in Mathematics. He took his doctorate at Harvard (the first Ph.D. in Architecture ever awarded at Harvard University), and was elected fellow at Harvard. During the same period he worked at MIT in transportation theory and in computer science, and worked at Harvard in cognition and cognitive studies. He became professor of Architecture at Berkeley in 1963, taught there continuously for 38 years, and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of California. He is widely recognized as the father of the pattern language movement in computer science. He was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996 for his contributions to architecture.

 

= =

 

GUIDE TO DESIGNING A HOUSE

 

The design process has these main steps

1. Define a single space which extends from the front door to the street

2. Changes of level and direction

3. Forming the transition as an actual space

4. The five senses

5. The inner center of the transition

6. Shaping the mouth of the path

7. Make all spaces positive

 

/see: http://www.patternlanguage.com/leveltwo/re...rance/movie.htm

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Americans: Don't Stop Me From Driving (Or Parking) My Car

United States Social / Demographics Transportation

Posted by: Christian Peralta

 

31 July 2007 - 2:00pm

Whether is a proposal for congestion pricing in 2007 or the advent of parking meters in the 1930s, Americans have a way of being hostile towards plans that interfere with their 'constitutional right' to free driving and parking

 

"By now we're all familiar with the litany of complaints about [New York] City's new traffic control plan: It's an unfair and burdensome new tax; it's going to kill retail business and hurt the little guy; and most of all, it's just plain "un-American."

 

That, of course, is what critics are saying about congestion pricing in New York City in 2007.

 

It turns out that the critics said the exact same things about new-fangled contraptions called Park-o-Meters when they were introduced in urban centers in the early 1930s. (Notably, The Automobile Club of New York was a vocal critic in both eras, their message almost completely unchanged over 75 years)."

 

/see: http://www.planetizen.com/node/26048

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Americans: Don't Stop Me From Driving (Or Parking) My Car

United States Social / Demographics Transportation

Posted by: Christian Peralta

 

31 July 2007 - 2:00pm

Whether is a proposal for congestion pricing in 2007 or the advent of parking meters in the 1930s, Americans have a way of being hostile towards plans that interfere with their 'constitutional right' to free driving and parking

 

"By now we're all familiar with the litany of complaints about [New York] City's new traffic control plan: It's an unfair and burdensome new tax; it's going to kill retail business and hurt the little guy; and most of all, it's just plain "un-American."

 

That, of course, is what critics are saying about congestion pricing in New York City in 2007.

 

It turns out that the critics said the exact same things about new-fangled contraptions called Park-o-Meters when they were introduced in urban centers in the early 1930s. (Notably, The Automobile Club of New York was a vocal critic in both eras, their message almost completely unchanged over 75 years)."

 

/see: http://www.planetizen.com/node/26048

 

== ==

 

"it's just plain "un-American."

Thank G@d for that !

 

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A powerful lecture, spelling out what lies ahead

 

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

 

Incomes* for familes rose...

But income for males fell, so what was happening? Women joined the work-force.

Savings has disappeared, and consumer debt has skyrocketed

 

But what are the higher incomes spent on?

Not on clothes, food, or buying cars

 

So where did it go?:

76% increase on what people spent on a mortgage (!!), on somewhat larger homes.

74% increase on health cost

52% increase on cars: two cars (for commuting to work) !!

..... Child car

..... Taxes

 

*All figures were inflation-adjusted

= = =

 

Want to beat these increases??

Live in a smaller home, close to where you work, and DITCH THE CAR

 

Guess what? That move reduces energy use, slows global warming, and allows people to rebuild savings

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A thread that I started on HPC :

Keep The Dream By Ditching The Car, & The Suburbs, Most Middle Class in the US & UK are caught in a Trap

...is growing up fast.

 

Many of the issues also important here are being addressed on that thread

 

EXAMPLE:

For those who believe they will shrug fuel price rises off: prices will rise to the point where demand destruction occurs and unless you are seriously rich THAT MEANS YOU.

 

Okay, the third-world will be visited by demand destruction first, but remember that large parts of the formerly third world are now well-placed to out-bid a debt-ridden country like the UK. More expensive fuel means more expensive everything, so the disposable income that seems to be available to absorb fuel costs, may turn out to have been absorbed by other essential expenditure.

 

If by the "third world" you mean China, I have news for you:

The Chinese are going to get "your petrol". Their currency is rising in value. They work harder.

And their economy is no longer encumbered by the wasteful socialist ideas (like "free" bus journeys),

that are going to encumber the UK economy for years to come.

 

When the Uk "miracle" is shown up for what it is: a home-borrowing strategy and a financia sector reliant on

innumerable financial scams, then it will implode, as the Chinese economy continues to grow. The main way

you will see that is the Sterling price of petrol will rise and rise.

 

I agree about market towns, not so sure about suburbs (or at least, the ones that are 'dormitory deserts', though I

suppose commerce and employment will arise organically in these places as it becomes more expensive and

troublesome to move in and out of them).

 

Some suburbs will survive, and that will be those that build around a market-town-like "heart" with mixed use:

jobs, shopping, residential all within an easy walk- take a look at New Urbanist ideas

 

(And why not join GEI and help me to develop this vision, and strategies to make money from it.

You could be in for a very interesting and profitable time- building the future.)

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Hi

 

Someone has been listening to Dr Bubb and its not the Chinese - nor the US, and certainly not the UK. See http://environment.newscientist.com/channe...line-news_rss20 - not castles in the sand but a new genetation in the UAE under construction.

 

Quote: Groundbreaking construction for the densely packed 7-square-kilometre city on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi began in February. The city will house 50,000 residents and will also include commercial buildings and light industry. The Abu Dhabi government has committed $4 billion for the project and plans to raise another $18 billion.

 

Solar power, in the form of photovoltaic panels, concentrated solar collectors, and solar thermal tubes will provide 82% of the city's energy needs.

 

An additional 17% of the city's power will come from burning composted food waste in a highly efficient method that developers say will emit greenhouse gases at a rate 10 times lower than if the food were allowed to decompose in a landfill. The remaining 1% of the city's energy will come from wind turbines.

 

Smart urban planning that employs traditional designs, such as wind cooling towers and narrow streets aligned along a southwest by northeast axis to maximise shaded areas, will further reduce energy needs. Buildings in the Masdar Initiative are projected to need less than half the energy for cooling and lighting that would be required for conventional buildings in the region.

 

Transport 'pods'

"It's a new scale of sustainable development where we can take what we have learned with buildings and apply it to the city," says Gerard Evenden of Foster and Partners, the company that designed the city's layout.

 

Cars will be banned within Masdar. Instead, a light rail system running through the city centre will connect it to the rest of Adu Dhabi. "Personal rapid transport pods" – small vehicles powered by the city's photovoltaic panels – will also operate within the city.

 

Many of the green building concepts going into Masdar, such as solar-powered desalinisation plants, have been attempted elsewhere, but the new development marks the first time they will be employed together on such a large scale.

 

"It's not just the buildings, it's how power generation, water management, transportation, and urban planning all come together," says Charles Cooney of MIT, who assisted in the planning of the city's research institute.

 

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Cars will be banned within Masdar. Instead, a light rail system running through the city centre will connect it to the rest of Adu Dhabi. "Personal rapid transport pods" – small vehicles powered by the city's photovoltaic panels – will also operate within the city.

 

Many of the green building concepts going into Masdar, such as solar-powered desalinisation plants, have been attempted elsewhere, but the new development marks the first time they will be employed together on such a large scale.

 

"It's not just the buildings, it's how power generation, water management, transportation, and urban planning all come together," says Charles Cooney of MIT, who assisted in the planning of the city's research institute.

 

It's a great experiment- wonderful to see it. A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE, maybe?

I have already started a thread:

http://www.greenenergyinvestors.com/index.php?showtopic=3008

 

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The Love of Cars

Americans are generally regarded as being in the throes of a love affair with their cars and will not give them up for anything. In fact, there seems to be a growing realization of the costs of cars, and people are losing their patience with traffic jams. The burgeoning popularity of the New Urbanism signifies that Americans realize that something was lost when the automobile came to dominate the urban landscape and that it is time to try something else. Paradoxically, the New Urbanism is largely a return to urban patterns which were common before the automobile's arrival. I think the love affair is coming to an end. Divorce proceedings loom on the horizon. (Katie Alvord recently published Divorce Your Car, for those who have irreconcilable differences with their cars.)

 

The rest of the world was never so crazy about cars as the US. Europeans own nearly as many cars as Americans but make less use of them. No European city is without public transport which functions relatively well. Many European cities now have a carfree area at the heart of the city, and many of these have been expanded in recent years. The EU is about to begin a far-reaching action to limit the environmental damage by cars, including noise.

 

If the developed nations set a better example by abandoning their own cars, it is possible that the rest of the world will stop regarding car ownership the badge of prosperity and modernity.

 

/see: http://www.carfree.com/objection.html

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PLANNERS - get ripped to shreds in these KunstlerCasts

 

+ ZONING :

KunstlerCast #6/ Zoning : http://media.libsyn.com/media/kunstlercast...tlerCast_06.mp3

 

Ya seen one town in America ya seen 'em all. But that's because they're all mandated to look that way! James Howard Kunstler tells the tragic story of zoning codes in the United States. At one time, zoning was a rational response to unpleasant conditions of the newly emerging industrial city. But the fanatical level to which zoning became worshiped by public officials has reduced urban planning from an art form to the mere administration of curb cuts, signage and statistical analysis of traffic flow. *Note to re-broadcasters: curse words at 8:48 mins.

 

+ ARCHITECTS :

KunstlerCast #5/ Starchitects : http://media.libsyn.com/media/kunstlercast...tlerCast_05.mp3

 

How and why did Seattle build that hideous new public library? asks one listener from that city. James Howard Kunstler tells us how cities get hoodwinked into a status fashion contest to have a museum or library built by one of the celebrity architects of the day. Rem Koolhass, Frank Gehry, Peter Eisenman and others are deliberately designing these disastrous, anxiety-inducing mothership UFOs in order to mystify people into thinking they're supernaturally brilliant. And then we're stuck with these Gillette Blue Blade-clad fun houses for decades.

 

 

 

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Detroit

Wed, 06/04/2008 - 03:43 — Dave Snider (not verified)

"Thank you for a great article. From the content of your article it sounds like you would be interested in 'New Urbanism' if you are not already familiar with the movement. It is a group of architects and planners designing towns/neighborhoods in traditional ways, walkability to schools and shopping and easy access to public transport.

 

James Howard Kunstler, author of 'The Long Emergency' is the foremost journalist on New Urbanism with his book 'Geography of Nowhere'.

 

There are some investment funds specializing in New Urban projects. Some finance new projects and some buy up existing, central properties close to rail and bus terminals which may prosper with a renaissance in public transport and urban repopulation. An article listing these funds can be found here:

 

http://www.newurbannews.com/InvestpoolJune06.html

 

I've written two letters to Jim Puplava trying to get him to interview Andres Duany, architect of DPZ architects and 'Chief Guru' of New Urbanism. Maybe you can use your influence to get him on an interview.

 

Yours,

Dave Snider

Tainan City, Taiwan

 

/see: http://www.depression2.tv/d2/node/118?page=1

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Documentary - asking: Does the Suburban Dream have a future ?

 

The End of Suburbia - 52 minute documentary on oil

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Is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?

 

June 16, 2008 / By Lara Farrar / For CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2...ref=werecommend

(CNN) -- When Shaun Yandell proposed to his longtime girlfriend Gina Marasco on the doorstep of their new home in the sunny suburb of Elk Grove, California, four years ago, he never imagined things would get this bad. But they did, and it happened almost overnight.

 

Suburban neighborhoods are becoming refuges for those outpriced in gentrifying inner-cities.

 

"It is going to be heartbreak," Yandell told CNN. "But we are hanging on."

 

Yandell's marriage isn't falling apart: his neighborhood is.

 

Devastated by the subprime mortgage crisis, hundreds of homes have been foreclosed and thousands of residents have been forced to move, leaving in their wake a not-so-pleasant path of empty houses, unkempt lawns, vacant strip malls, graffiti-sprayed desolate sidewalks and even increased crime.

 

In Elk Grove, some homeowners not only cut their own grass but also trim the yards of vacant homes on their streets, hoping to deter gangs and criminals from moving in.

 

Other residents discovered that with some of the empty houses, it wasn't what was growing outside that was the problem. Susan McDonald, president of a local neighborhood association aimed at saving the lost suburban paradise, told CNN that around her cul-de-sac, federal agents recently busted several pot homes with vast crops of marijuana growing from floor to ceiling.

 

And only a couple of weeks ago, Yandell said he overheard a group of teenagers gathered on the street outside his back patio, talking about a robbery they had just committed.

 

When they lit a street sign on fire, Yandell called the cops.

 

"This is not like a rare thing anymore," he said. "I get big congregations of people cussing -- stuff I can't even fathom doing when I was a kid."

 

For Yandell, his wife and many other residents trying to stick it out, the white picket fence of an American dream has faded into a seemingly hopeless suburban nightmare. "The forecast is gloomy," he told CNN.

 

While the foreclosure epidemic has left communities across the United States overrun with unoccupied houses and overgrown grass, underneath the chaos another trend is quietly emerging that, over the next several decades, could change the face of suburban American life as we know it.

 

This trend, according to Christopher Leinberger, an urban planning professor at the University of Michigan and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, stems not only from changing demographics but also from a major shift in the way an increasing number of Americans -- especially younger generations -- want to live and work.

 

"
The American dream is absolutely changing
," he told CNN.

 

This change can be witnessed in places like Atlanta, Georgia, Detroit, Michigan, and Dallas, Texas, said Leinberger, where once rundown downtowns are being revitalized by well-educated, young professionals who have no desire to live in a detached single family home typical of a suburbia where life is often centered around long commutes and cars.

 

Instead, they are looking for what Leinberger calls "walkable urbanism" -- both small communities and big cities characterized by efficient mass transit systems and high density developments enabling residents to walk virtually everywhere for everything -- from home to work to restaurants to movie theaters.

 

The so-called New Urbanism movement emerged in the mid-90s and has been steadily gaining momentum, especially with rising energy costs, environmental concerns and health problems associated with what Leinberger calls "drivable suburbanism" -- a low-density built environment plan that emerged around the end of the World War II and has been the dominant design in the U.S. ever since.

 

Thirty-five percent of the nation's wealth, according to Leinberger, has been invested in constructing this drivable suburban landscape.

 

But now, Leinberger told CNN, it appears the pendulum is beginning to swing back in favor of the type of walkable community that existed long before the advent of the once fashionable suburbs in the 1940s. He says it is being driven by generations molded by television shows like "Seinfeld" and "Friends," where city life is shown as being cool again -- a thing to flock to, rather than flee.

 

"The image of the city was once something to be left behind," said Leinberger.

 

Changing demographics are also fueling new demands as the number of households with children continues to decline. By the end of the next decade, the number of single-person households in the United States will almost equal those with kids, Leinberger said.

 

And aging baby boomers are looking for a more urban lifestyle as they downsize from large homes in the suburbs to more compact town houses in more densely built locations.

 

Recent market research indicates that up to 40 percent of households surveyed in selected metropolitan areas want to live in walkable urban areas, said Leinberger. The desire is also substantiated by real estate prices for urban residential space, which are 40 to 200 percent higher than in traditional suburban neighborhoods -- this price variation can be found both in cities and small communities equipped with walkable infrastructure, he said.

 

The result is an oversupply of depreciating suburban housing and a pent-up demand for walkable urban space, which is unlikely to be met for a number of years. That's mainly, according to Leinberger, because the built environment changes very slowly; and also because governmental policies and zoning laws are largely prohibitive to the construction of complicated high-density developments.

 

But as the market catches up to the demand for more mixed use communities, the United States could see a notable structural transformation in the way its population lives -- Arthur C. Nelson, director of Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute, estimates, for example, that half of the real-estate development built by 2025 will not have existed in 2000.

 

Yet Nelson also estimates that in 2025 there will be a surplus of 22 million large-lot homes that will not be left vacant in a suburban wasteland but instead occupied by lower classes who have been driven out of their once affordable inner-city apartments and houses.

 

The so-called McMansion, he said, will become the new multi-family home for the poor.

 

"What is going to happen is lower and lower-middle income families squeezed out of downtown and glamorous suburban locations are going to be pushed economically into these McMansions at the suburban fringe," said Nelson. "There will probably be 10 people living in one house."

 

In Shaun Yandell's neighborhood, this has already started to happen. Houses once filled with single families are now rented out by low-income tenants. Yandell speculates that they're coming from nearby Sacramento, where the downtown is undergoing substantial gentrification, or perhaps from some other area where prices have gotten too high. He isn't really sure.

 

But one thing Yandell is sure about is that he isn't going to leave his sunny suburban neighborhood unless he has to, and if that happens, he says he would only want to move to another one just like it.

 

"It's the American dream, you know," he said. "The American dream."

=================================

 

This article could have been compiled by reading and copying from GEI its so similar to whats been predicted here for years. I sometimes wonder when I hear stories about the problems in some suburban districts where crime and vandalism are rife if the solution would be to demolish three out of every four homes or possibly more and leave the remaining houses with enough land to start a small farm. Poor areas may not be able to travel far enough to find worthwhile employment but given the opportunity they could find a more sustainable life that is not so dependent on petroleum and government hand outs.

 

Shortcut to here :: http://tinyurl.com/CALpage2

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Is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?

. . .

 

Suburban neighborhoods are becoming refuges for those outpriced in gentrifying inner-cities.

 

...a major shift in the way an increasing number of Americans -- especially younger generations -- want to live and work.

 

"The American dream is absolutely changing," he told CNN.

 

...they are looking for what Leinberger calls "walkable urbanism" -- both small communities and big cities characterized by efficient mass transit systems and high density developments enabling residents to walk virtually everywhere for everything -- from home to work to restaurants to movie theaters.

 

The so-called New Urbanism movement emerged in the mid-90s and has been steadily gaining momentum, especially with rising energy costs, environmental concerns and health problems associated with what Leinberger calls "drivable suburbanism" -- a low-density built environment plan that emerged around the end of the World War II and has been the dominant design in the U.S. ever since.

 

Yes. Good find !

 

The predicted "Stranded-in-the-Suburbs" nightmare has started in the US.

 

I suspect America in the future will have more and more places that look like Tung Chung today

 

0.jpg

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I suspect America in the future will have more and more places that look like Tung Chung today

That picture prompts this question: what might the disadvantages be of high-rise buildings?

Lifts are essential, but I guess so long as the electricity supply is adequate that's not a problem.

 

Just that some peak oil people have claimed that high-rise is bad news.

 

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I AM A NEW URBANIST - JH Kunstler

 

RB: ... you are a new urbanist?

 

JHK: I am. I am a card-carrying new urbanist who signed the charter... and pays his dues every year.

It's going to be terribly important if we are going to have a different kind of social arrangement in America in terms of how we live and where we live—and we are going to have that—it is very important for us to retrieve that lost body of culture and principle and methodology and skill for how to arrange the human habitat on the landscape. We threw all that knowledge in the dumpster in 1960 and decided from that point on we would only use traffic engineering and statistical analysis to produce our everyday environment, and the result is there for everybody to see—miserable suburban strip malls and the power centers and subdivisions and all the crap that we have smeared across the landscape.

 

RB: Who could argue with that description, but aren't there glimmers of hope that we haven't totally thrown it away? ...

 

JHK: There is no question that historic preservation movement has been very important, but the percentage of restored places to the suburban—

 

RB: I'm responding to your claim that the knowledge has been lost.

 

JHK: The knowledge for replicating. Let me make these two points. The percentage of restoration has been relatively tiny compared to the creation of horrendous new crap everywhere, and most American towns have been literally destroyed. Only a tiny percentage of them, including the one I live in, have been restored to some extent. Our ability to create new urban fabric of quality and character has been very poor, and even a lot of the new stuff we build doesn't come up to the ankles of the people who did it in 1911.

 

We are finally getting back a much better sense of urban design, thanks to the new urbanists. Which is to say, the attitude of the building toward the street, the relations of the buildings to each other and the public realm, the ability to create mixed activities rather than monocultures. We have improved in that but in the design of the buildings themselves we are really in trouble.

 

A lot of it has to do with our codes. The handicap codes in America, for instance, essentially mandate that developers can only put up one-story buildings, because the requirement for elevators and ramps and all kinds of things are now so onerous that people confronted with the opportunity to put up a new urban building are very reluctant to do it or have to make heroic expenditures in order to come out half as good as the stuff they are trying to fit in with. So we have a lot of problems. It's my belief that as we enter this period of disorder and travail and hardship and economic trouble, that among other things we will probably begin to ignore are a lot of the codes and regulations that we cooked up in the late 20th century because we won't be able to afford to follow them. People are really going to have to improvise their way through this including rebuilding America on something more than a single-story basis and something less than a ten-story basis.

 

/see: http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/bir...rd_kunstler.php

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CARS ARE LAST thinking is going mainstream... at last

 

leinberger02.jpg

 

CG: What is T4 America and how are you involved?

 

CL: Transportation for America is a coalition of about 240 organizations—Smart Growth groups, most of the environmental groups, social equity, [and] public health is a major player. I'm organizing the various real estate organizations and developers [who are also members].

 

So it's a very strange group of bedfellows. But it's created because the stars have lined up—the market demand that more progressive developers see for walkable urban development is the future. And you can't get there from here if you're only building roads.

 

We need a more balanced transportation system and real estate developers now understand that. . . .

 

Rail transit drives walkable urban places. I've never seen one dollar of real estate investment invested because of a bus stop. But if you have [rail] transit, it's a different story altogether.

 

The implication for Michigan, especially Southeast Michigan, is that rail transit is the most essential infrastructure. The most important decision you will make, the most important investment you will make, is in rail transit in the early 21st century.

 

CG: Is Michigan capable of becoming a talent attractor with those kinds of investments?

 

CL: I guarantee you won't be if you don't. The issue here is this idea that "Michigan cannot focus on the built environment"—that it's got to focus on base industries and that the built environment is a luxury that Michigan can't focus on.

 

That's garbage.

 

If you don't build the built environment that the market wants, it's going to Chicago, it's going to D.C., it's going elsewhere. . . .

 

Ultimately, this is about economic development. I'm not going to tell you that building walkable urban is going to drive Michigan out of its economic ditch.

 

But without it, I don't think it's possible to get out of this ditch. It is a necessary precondition for this state to move forward. You've got to offer choice. You've got plenty of drivable suburban product. Give the market what it wants. That's the future.

 

 

CL: Transportation for America is a coalition of about 240 organizations—Smart Growth groups, most of the environmental groups, social equity, [and] public health is a major player. I'm organizing the various real estate organizations and developers [who are also members].

 

So it's a very strange group of bedfellows. But it's created because the stars have lined up—the market demand that more progressive developers see for walkable urban development is the future. And you can't get there from here if you're only building roads.

 

We need a more balanced transportation system and real estate developers now understand that. . . .

 

Rail transit drives walkable urban places. I've never seen one dollar of real estate investment invested because of a bus stop. But if you have [rail] transit, it's a different story altogether.

 

The implication for Michigan, especially Southeast Michigan, is that rail transit is the most essential infrastructure. The most important decision you will make, the most important investment you will make, is in rail transit in the early 21st century.

 

CG: Is Michigan capable of becoming a talent attractor with those kinds of investments?

 

CL: I guarantee you won't be if you don't. The issue here is this idea that "Michigan cannot focus on the built environment"—that it's got to focus on base industries and that the built environment is a luxury that Michigan can't focus on.

 

That's garbage.

 

If you don't build the built environment that the market wants, it's going to Chicago, it's going to D.C., it's going elsewhere. . . .

 

Ultimately, this is about economic development. I'm not going to tell you that building walkable urban is going to drive Michigan out of its economic ditch.

 

But without it, I don't think it's possible to get out of this ditch. It is a necessary precondition for this state to move forward. You've got to offer choice. You've got plenty of drivable suburban product. Give the market what it wants. That's the future.

 

/more: http://capitalgainsmedia.com/features/lein0313.aspx

 

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