The latest phase of the park on Governors Island opened to the public this July—20 years after planners voiced vague ideas for its development and 20 years before future visitors assumed the landscape had been there forever.Continue Reading Day Tripping on Governors Island
Jane Jacobs wasn’t bullish on urban parks. She preferred active sidewalks. In her classic urban planning (sociology?) book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she noted that parks created “borders,” that often result in blighting or “slumming” along their edges. She attributed this circumstance to a lack of diversity of uses, a lack of density, and many other factors, and how they interrelated (her “organized complexity”). Continue Reading Are cities building too many parks and plazas in their downtowns? The experts weigh in . . .
In my previous post, I addressed some assumptions author Vishaan Chakrabarti makes in How Density Makes Us Safer During Natural Disasters. I don’t mean to single out Mr. Chakrabarti – many of his points are well-taken. Among them the reduced energy consumption of urban dwellers, balanced by his acknowledgment that “[r]egardless of the inherent environmental advantages of urban living, however, cities are vulnerable sets of materials and systems, and Sandy revealed some of their glaring deficiencies.” Over at messysystems.com, we can certainly appreciate the notion of a city’s resilience as a resultant of its systems. However, let’s look at examples of when density does and doesn’t make ‘us’ safer during disasters. Continue Reading Disasters depend
In How Density Makes Us Safer During Natural Disasters by Vishaan Chakrabarti, the author uses the example of Hurricane Sandy’s effects within New York City to highlight urban resilience:
…higher-density neighborhoods—from downtown Brooklyn and Battery Park City up to Harlem—were up and running within a week. By contrast, lower density areas like Staten Island and Breezy Point—with their single-family homes, elevated power lines, timber construction, and auto-dependency—took longer to recover.
I am walking 30 feet above the ground, through buildings, eye-level with billboards, rubbing shoulders, it seems, with all the tourists in New York City. I am surrounded by plants that poke out from the railroad tracks that are remnants of New York’s industrial past. Continue Reading The High Line