October 04, 2006 


The Tulsa Channels

Take a look at this. I don't know anything about Tulsa, but this is one of the most well thought out urban renewal ideas I've seen in a while and to see it coming out of the bible belt is... [read on...]

Posted at 12:01 AM | Please feel free to comment (8)

 September 16, 2006 


Boston Sidewalks May go All-Rubber

Rubber Sidewalks seem to be taking off. The city of Boston may start requiring them - article here. That's a pretty bold step for something relatively unproven, but will be very useful for other cities to watch and represents the... [read on...]

Posted at 01:24 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 July 26, 2006 


Rubber Sidewalks

This article's gotten a lot of play and it sound's like a truly brilliant idea: Make sidewalks out of recycled tires - it's cheap, they apparantly last longer, they are easier on the feet, they don't have freeze/thaw issues in... [read on...]

Posted at 10:41 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 November 08, 2005 


Habitat Jam - A Chance to Discuss Urban Issures with Leaders in the Field

The Government of Canada, in partnership with IBM and UN-HABITAT, have put together a 72-hour online event in preparation for the World Urban Forum, to be held enxt summer in Vancouver. It's called "Habitat Jam" and it'll basically be a,... [read on...]

Posted at 04:35 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 June 07, 2005 


Treasure Island Plan for San Francisco

San Francisco: On extraordinarily rare occasions the opportunity presents itself to develop a piece of land in ideal, truly brilliant fashion. Treasure Island is a former military facility on landfill in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It's laid largely... [read on...]

Posted at 02:44 PM | Please feel free to comment (8)

 May 17, 2005 


Recycling Racks for the Homeless

Victoria, BC: Although it's unfortunate that most cities have folks down on their luck who need to rummage through the trash to get cans and bottles for money, we might as well make their lives a little easier. This brilliant... [read on...]

Posted at 03:51 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 April 27, 2005 


Debunking the Gated "Community" Myth

Los Angeles: Gated "communities" are among the most insideous type of development sprining forth in the US these days, spawned of 50% paranoia, 50% pretension. A mysterious group of renegade architects in L.A. have errected bright orange viewing platforms to... [read on...]

Posted at 10:30 AM | Please feel free to comment (3)

 April 25, 2005 


Octavia Boulevard

San Francsico: At long last, the Octavia Boulevard project is nearing completion, and they've got a great website up to prove it. For those outside San Francisco - there was once a freeway that sliced through the Hayes Valley neighborhood,... [read on...]

Posted at 10:26 AM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 March 16, 2005 


South Capitol Street, DC

Washington: The National Capital Planning Commission has unveiled what looks like a fabulous new vision for the neglected area of DC south of the capitol. In addition to a new baseball stadium, the plan calls for extensive streescaping on both... [read on...]

Posted at 09:25 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 February 14, 2005 


Hidden Supermarkets - Albertsons on Fulton/Masonic

San Francsico: For many years, the corner of Fulton and Masonic in San Francisco was blighted by an enormous surface parking lot and an ugly (if beloved) supermarket called Falleti's. Falleti's eventually closed which, though tragic for the family owned... [read on...]

Posted at 02:03 PM

 January 24, 2005 


Village Homes - A Better Suburbia

Davis, CA: I have been meaning to post something about Davis' Village Homes neighborhood for ages, but never got around to it. So, I'll just link to Architecture Week's lengthy highlight this week, and tell you a little bit. Basically... [read on...]

Posted at 01:01 PM

 January 15, 2005 


Downtown Brookly Plan

New York: Downtown Brooklyn's impending rennesance seems to have reached critical mass. The city has released a massive 10 year plan calling for as many as 15 towers and 3,000 new housing units in the immediate area. It's a potentially... [read on...]

Posted at 03:39 PM

 December 19, 2004 


Adjusting for Nature's Magnificence

Larkspur, CA: Here's a great example of how much nicer it is to sometimes let nature have its course. This street in Larkspur, CA has been built around a beautiful old tree (probably an Oak, but my botany knowledge is... [read on...]

Posted at 11:23 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 December 15, 2004 


Promenade Plantee

Paris: One of the most delightful pieces of urban (re)development in recent years is the Promenade Plantee in Paris, a former railroad viaduct that has been turned into a linear park cutting through the 12th arrondissment. It's the ultimate tranquil... [read on...]

Posted at 05:31 PM

 December 06, 2004 


Greening the Tram Tracks

Barcelona: Here's an awesome innovation in Barcelona. The new tram that runs out Avenida Diagnoal has been "paved" in grass instead of the usual impermeable concrete. This way looks a lot nicer, cleans the air, and let's stormwater soak into... [read on...]

Posted at 10:59 AM

 October 26, 2004 


Coyote Valley Vision

San Jose:If you must incorporate massive population growth, then it's wise to plan the infrastructure supporting that growth in a thoughtful manner. San Jose, quickly on the road to 1 million residents, appears to be doing just that. Coyote Valley... [read on...]

Posted at 05:51 PM

 October 18, 2004 


Smart Commute Incentives

Portland: I'm surprised you need added incentives to purchase homes near public transportation, but this works in an interesting way: Home buyers can use their anticipated savings by using public transit instead of the automobile as added qualifying income for... [read on...]

Posted at 07:31 PM

 October 11, 2004 


Ripping up Downtown Freeways

Nashville: Taking a cue from the success being enjoyed in Milwaukee, Nashville has issued a recommendation to do away with the ring of interstate freeway surrounding its downtown area. The replacement - a ring of attractive boulevards that reconnect downtown... [read on...]

Posted at 12:48 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 September 29, 2004 


Transit Oriented Development PDF

Chicago: Here's a neat PDF to download with some simple information about transit oriented development in the Chicago area. [LINK TO PDF HERE] Transit oriented development is typically of a higher density than suburban development and designed such that a... [read on...]

Posted at 12:33 PM

 August 20, 2004 


Creative Public Plazas

Washington: Here's a creative idea for a public plaza - put a massive map of the city on the ground interspersed with poetic writing about the city's grandeur. In Liberty Plaza there is even a layout of the US capitol... [read on...]

Posted at 07:12 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 August 12, 2004 


Creative Public Space for Cheap

Washington: The courtyard of the EPA offices is a large beautiful space that beckons people to gather. It's been enhanced by a group that puts on free concerts on certain evenings with a dance floor and a bar. It's complimented... [read on...]

Posted at 09:18 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 May 29, 2004 


Transit Village Bill

Sacramento: I'm starting to like Gov. Schwarzenegger more and more. He's just signed a bill that will make "transit village" development far easier and more prevelant by removing some bureaucratic obstacles that had hindered such development in the past. Transit... [read on...]

Posted at 11:39 AM | Please feel free to comment (3)

 May 12, 2004 


Truckee River Kayak Course

Reno: It may be less spontaneous than Munich's river surfing phenomenon, but putting a whitewater kayak course in the middle of your downtown is certainly unique. Reno, struggling to shrug off a (somewhat deserved) reputation as a washed up... [read on...]

Posted at 07:45 AM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 May 07, 2004 


Diagonal Crosswalks

San Francisco: We're still a long way from having car-free downtowns in America, but San Francisco has given pedestrians a nice convienence in the form of diagonal crosswalks. At a certain time in the lighting cycle, all four directions of... [read on...]

Posted at 08:38 PM | Please feel free to comment (10)

 May 05, 2004 


Portland Safeway

Portland: Proof that big box retail can still be both urban and green, a new safeway in Portland is part of a mixed use development featuring apartments above the store, undergound parking, and LEED certification. It's got bike racks,... [read on...]

Posted at 08:37 PM | Please feel free to comment (4)

 April 13, 2004 


Transit Village in Florida

Boca Raton: In a state as automobile dependant as Florida, I was suprised to find out that rail transit existed at all. Not only does a commuter line run through the state's biggest urban corridor, but some interesting transit... [read on...]

Posted at 12:09 AM

 March 30, 2004 


Permacultural Parking Lots

Tucson:If you can't have a permeable parking lot, then the next best thing is to get rid of curbs and put your water runoff into a useful place. The Sonora Desert Museam, near Tucson, did just that. The lot is... [read on...]

Posted at 02:00 AM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 March 27, 2004 


Gravelpave 2

Tucson: Among the many thoughtful steps taken in the development of the Milagro Co-Housing project in Tucson, is the installation of a porous surface for their parking lot. A product known as Gravelpave 2 was used in place of traditional... [read on...]

Posted at 05:29 PM

 March 18, 2004 


Greening Urban Lots

Philadelphia: Like many rust belt cities, Philly is plagued by a multitude of dilapidated vacant lots. This article in the Philadelphia Inquirer showcases a plan to beautify a great many of them using money generated by a Flower Show at... [read on...]

Posted at 10:39 PM

 March 12, 2004 


Shopping Mall Infill

Milwaukee: Could the age of the lone mall in acres of parking finally be drawing to a close? That may be a bit far fetched, but as awareness of the desire for real "urbanity" grows, coupled with rising real-estate costs,... [read on...]

Posted at 01:38 AM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 March 03, 2004 


Waterway Preservation

Scottsdale, AZ: The design of Foothills Academy Prep School, also notable for being one of the largest straw-bale buildings ever constructed, includes a preserved desert wash in front of the school. Typically, small waterways have been buried or lined with... [read on...]

Posted at 04:25 PM

 February 10, 2004 


More Intelligent Parking Lot Design

Sedona, AZ: It's a stretch to say any parking lot will ever be "beautiful", but there are a lot of really easy ways to make them better. In Sedona Arizona, this otherwise ordinary parking lot (wisely hidden behind a row... [read on...]

Posted at 08:28 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 December 11, 2003 


Big Solar Plan in Fresno

Fresno, CA: In what is supposed to cut the city's utility bills by 60 grand a year, Fresno is unveiling a massive solar panels on the roofs of several major city-owned buildings. [article here] The project was made possible by... [read on...]

Posted at 06:10 PM

 December 09, 2003 


Bay Area Bridge Toll Raise

San Francisco: Remarkably, people seem to be greeting a proposed rise in bay-area bridge tolls with a degree of enthusiasm. Even if the toll goes up to $3, as proposed, the Bay Bridge is probably among the cheapest bridges of... [read on...]

Posted at 09:30 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 December 03, 2003 


Strip Malls to Housing

Fremont, CA: In what appears to be a brilliant move, planners in Freemont have proposed converting some defunct strip malls to housing. There isn't much information as to exactly what kind of housing this means, but given the relative proximity... [read on...]

Posted at 01:23 PM

 September 18, 2003 


Alternative Sidewalk Use

Prescott, AZ: Here's an interesting novelty for cities to consider - outside the Prescott Library, the sidewalk has been transformed into a block-long historical timeline documenting everything from the first hominid steps to the first steps on the Moon. Nothing... [read on...]

Posted at 11:46 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 September 03, 2003 


Hungerford Footbridges

London: Responding to the demand for more pedestrian crossings over the River Thames, and the presence of a rather decrepit existing railway crossing, the Hungerford Footbridges kill two birds with one stone: By straddling the sides of the existing bridge,... [read on...]

Posted at 12:49 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 August 27, 2003 


Healing Freeway Scars

Columbus: As noted in David Sucher's fabulous city comforts blog, Columbus Ohio, faced with a freeway widening project, has chosen a revolutionary approach to designing overpasses: Adding shops and offices to them in such a way that the overpass... [read on...]

Posted at 10:28 AM | Please feel free to comment (3)

 August 14, 2003 


Pabst City

Milwaukee: One of brewing's great legends, and everyone's favorite kitsch beer is set to live again in the form of a massive redevelopment of the old Pabst brewery in Milwaukee into apartments, offices, and entertainment space. Detailed NYtimes article here.... [read on...]

Posted at 04:14 PM | Please feel free to comment (3)

 July 22, 2003 


Mission Bay Redevelopment

San Francisco: A 300 acre mega project can go in all sorts of directions, but the redevelopment of San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood appears to be heading in a very positive one. It all started with the construction of the... [read on...]

Posted at 12:27 PM

 July 08, 2003 


Trottoir Roulant Rapide

Paris: Moving walkways are quite helpful devices at airports and train stations, but they don't really move much faster than a slightly brisk walk. The problem is that making them go any faster would require a transition zone between no... [read on...]

Posted at 12:54 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 May 16, 2003 


London City Airport Extension

London: One of London's best kept secrets is London City Airport, a brilliant shortcut for air-travelers heading to the continent. LCY is already faster to get to from east London than most of the other airports, but you have to... [read on...]

Posted at 09:59 AM

 May 14, 2003 


Urban Forestry

Atlanta: Aside from the obvious aesthetic benefits to having a lot of trees in your city, there are innumerable practical and financial benefits to managing a lush urban forest. According to this article, Milwaukee saves $15Million a year by maintaining... [read on...]

Posted at 10:23 AM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 March 04, 2003 


Utilizing Space Under Freeways

Paris: There is a huge perimeter freeway encircling Paris, and a huge Expo Center at Porte de Versailles right next to it. The designers of one of the halls didn't see the freeway as an obstacle, but rather built a... [read on...]

Posted at 04:44 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 February 17, 2003 


Computerized Parking Networks

Dublin: Driving into a city center and trying to find parking is always a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the city. In Dublin, however, the task has been brilliantly simplified. Big blue signs are posted in obvious... [read on...]

Posted at 07:11 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 February 05, 2003 


Congestion Charging

London: I'm going waaaay out on a limb to call this plan brilliant because it's completely unproven and very unpopular. But I decided to publish it anyway for the reasons below. Time will prove me right or wrong. Here's the... [read on...]

Posted at 06:28 PM

 January 27, 2003 


LA River Regeneration

Los Angeles: What river? An interesting new project proposes to dam up a section of the LA river to create a long lake next to downtown, surrounded by a strip of parkland. Granted, damming up a river isn't exactly 'regeneration'.... [read on...]

Posted at 04:47 PM

 January 24, 2003 


Greening the Fleet

Boston: The state of Massachusetts has proposed cutting its fleet of SUVs in favor of more environmentally responsible (and cheaper) vehicles. They also propose scrapping some vehicles altogether in favor of using a car sharing scheme known as 'zipcar'. In... [read on...]

Posted at 04:13 PM

 January 15, 2003 


Brooklyn Bridge Park

New York: Brooklyn has definitely been coming up in the world for a while now, and the formerly dismal Brooklyn waterfront may see some very enlightened development in the near future. In the spirit of Manhattan's High Line project, plans... [read on...]

Posted at 07:02 PM

 January 07, 2003 


Menomonee Valley Redevelopment

Milwaukee: If all goes swimmingly, the redevelopment of the Menomonee Valley, a huge forlorn Brownfield in the middle of town, will be one of the most exciting and successful redevelopments in the United States. It should feature rehabilitated old factories,... [read on...]

Posted at 12:16 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 January 06, 2003 


Free Municipal Wi-Fi

Long Beach, CA: Free internet access is getting even easier as Long Beach becomes one of the first cities to offer a Wi-Fi area downtown to anyone with a properly equipped computer. [NYtimes article] This is great news for internet... [read on...]

Posted at 05:31 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 January 01, 2003 


Wetland Filtration in a Box

Milwaukee: The Alterra coffee house on Milwaukee's lakefront has created a tiny artificial wetland to filter runoff from the shop's parking lot. Water from the lot flows through a variety of plants, and then into a plastic bin full of... [read on...]

Posted at 04:10 PM

 December 29, 2002 


Vegas Monorail Extension

Las Vegas: Las Vegas has finally begun to expand its monorail system. The current system is a pretty useless novelty that runs so far behind the MGM Grand that it's usually not worth walking to the station. The new system... [read on...]

Posted at 01:37 AM | Please feel free to comment (2)

 December 26, 2002 


The High Line II

New York: It's definitely Christmas in New York! Mayor Bloomberg has just officially given his support to the High Line Project, a once doomed plan to reuse a stretch of abandoned elevated railway in Manhattan as a recreational trail. Looks... [read on...]

Posted at 04:05 AM

 December 16, 2002 


More on Green Roofs

The City: Continuing the discussion on Green Roofs, here is an interesting article from Metropolis mentioning two more interesting benefits that go beyond the building itself: Reduced ambient summer temperature, thus less need for air-conditioning, and in turn less energy... [read on...]

Posted at 02:18 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)

 December 05, 2002 


Grass Roofs

Munich: Well, this particular building is not the most attractive grass-roofed structure I've ever seen, but I thought it was a nifty because of how it imbeds itself in the earth, hobbit-like. This kind of building not only let's... [read on...]

Posted at 11:13 AM | Please feel free to comment (8)

 November 27, 2002 


The High Line Project

New York: This could be the most significant Rails to Trails project ever, and one of the nicest potential developments in New York history. Basically, the High Line is an abandoned railway elevated over part of Manhattan. The plan is... [read on...]

Posted at 12:36 PM | Please feel free to comment (3)

 November 26, 2002 


Car Free Public Squares

Brussels: This is the Grand Place in Brussels, one of the nicest public squares I've ever seen. It seems most European cities have something equivalent, if not quite as grand. Squares such as this are more than just tourist... [read on...]

Posted at 01:00 PM

 November 18, 2002 


Solar powered parking meters

Brussels: Two brilliant innovations here. First, this thing replaces the dozens of parking meters normally installed on a block (at least in the US). You park your car, then you walk up to it and pay for a certain amount... [read on...]

Posted at 07:41 PM | Please feel free to comment (6)

 November 13, 2002 


Urban Freeway Demolition

Milwaukee: During the 50s and 60s, it was in vogue to cut enormous swaths through cities to build freeways, which, though intended as boons, invariably wound up doing irreparable harm to the neighborhoods they passed through and over. Fortunately,... [read on...]

Posted at 07:19 PM

 November 12, 2002 


London City Airport

LONDON: The London Docklands are the site of what is probably by far the worlds biggest industrial reuse project. It's been going on for about 20 years and is still in full swing. Among other things, an airport has... [read on...]

Posted at 03:49 PM

 November 05, 2002 


Marin County Bicycle Freeway

Marin County: Rails to Trails is a concept wherein abandoned railroad tracks are dug up and turned into recreational trails, most often used by cyclists. They are incredibly popular not only for recreation but, in many areas as a way... [read on...]

Posted at 05:57 PM