I have been learning a lot lately. No, I have not returned to school or taken a few courses through Planetizen. Instead, I have simply been playing with my five-year old daughter and gaining a few insights along the way. Some of her favorite toys these days are Blockitecture sets which consist of colorful wooden blocks of buildings, parks, green spaces, rivers, and lakes. Together, we have built neighborhoods and had humorous conversations about what makes a city “fun” or “awesome,” two of her most often-used adjectives. Of course, this has brought me, a plannerd and father, much joy and satisfaction, knowing that my daughter is beginning to understand what I do as a planner and that she may even aspire to be one in the future (well, I am not sure about this yet). All kidding aside, I have seriously learned a few things through our play sessions that I would like to share below. . . . Read More
Thank you to the team at Architectural Concepts, Inc. (www.4designs.com): Plan submittal and corrections. Precious!
A fresh pulpo (octopus) tostada is exotic enough to take anyone’s palette on a journey. I recently had the opportunity to join a group of 15 young land use professionals from San Diego for a day of discovery and delight in our sister city, Tijuana, Mexico, on a hot, dry August afternoon. It begins with the new pedestrian crossing in San Ysidro, which is as sterile and contrasting to the vibrant life beyond as it gets. The long walk down the crossing feels like a transformation, one that is deeply experiential. Once on ‘the other side’, it is clear that a revitalization is underway. There dust in the air from all the construction, as a new wave of entrepreneurs look to transform this young city through creative mixed-use projects, design and cuisine. [Read more…] about Three great things happening now in downtown Tijuana, Baja California
Welcome back to the Island of Utopia! Part I began the first installment of a three-article series commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the publishing of St. Thomas More’s classic book, Utopia. In Part I, the word “Utopia” was defined and several of the key geographic features of More’s fictional Island of Utopia were described. In Part II, we’ll delve into the some of the urban design characteristics of Utopian cities. [Read more…] about Anecdotes on the Urban Design of Utopia: Part II of III of the Utopia 500th Anniversary Series
New York City’s new math: 100 years, $4.5 billion, 3 subway stops.
New Year’s Day 2017 saw the ribbon cut on the first phase of the Second Avenue subway, the locally-mythic train touted to alleviate the overburdened east side subways since the late 1920s. A Great Depression, a world war and a City bankruptcy interfered with its execution. After nearly 10 years of actual construction and neighborhood misery, three airy, clean and art-filled stations opened for business. [Read more…] about Take a Train: The Q – NYC’s new subway extension is airy and full of art
Travel, as I have often said to my colleagues, is an excellent means to explore and understand architecture, especially if that has to do with regional values. Last year, after having missed many earlier opportunities to do so, I finally visited the sites of great architectural works of the Mughal Dynasty in India. For most people, the Taj Mahal is a household word. For me it had always been the fore-runner of an argument that mosques and mausoleums are not the same and hence their formal structures cannot share in the semiology employed by modern day designers of religious buildings in the light of Bob Venturi’s “decorated shed” paradigm. [Read more…] about A peek into the timeless past of Mughal architecture in India
The role that industry played and continues to play in molding American society was a hotly contested topic this political season. While talk mostly centered on workers and the economic forces that engulf them, little was mentioned about the actual factories where they work and how these structures shape our cities. The interconnection of factory buildings with urban landscapes and the position they hold in the lives of cities are topics that Nina Rappaport, an architectural historian, curator and educator tackles in her latest book, Vertical Urban Factory (2015, Actar Publishers, New York). In nearly 500 pages and 400 photographs and illustrations, she investigates the history of the factory building, manufacturing processes and the integration of industry within cities. [Read more…] about Vertical Urban Factory — A Review
When it comes to the biggest trends that will reshape the urban environment in the future, it’s not just the architecture that will change. The next major revolution in urban design will be by landscapers. In fact, in some cities, landscaping — in the form of parks and other green spaces — is already making an appearance.
The positive effects on health, comfort, happiness and even local wildlife are startling. Let’s take a look at some of the major cities around the United States that have put landscaping to work as part of their urban design. [Read more…] about Landscape Architecture: Shaping The Urban Future
The following text and images comprise the East Village Draft Focus Plan released on July 30, 2016, including subsequent minor corrections and additions made by its authors. It has been reconstituted here from the PDF original version to enable web and mobile viewing (there are formatting variations from the original). To view a gallery of images, or view any image in its full size, click directly on the image. The original version may be downloaded from this PDF link (warning: downloading PDF may require high capacity broadband connection).
The greatest challenge for anyone involved in planning for public use facilities and areas is in the factoring for the uncertainties of the future, short and long-term. We have all heard that “you don’t build the church for Easter Sunday.” We accept that there will be times when the design will not meet the capacities or timing or attraction for everyone at every time. [Read more…] about A Planner’s Opportunity – Gender Neutral Facilities