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Entries in Planning & Urban Design (10)

Wednesday
Nov292017

The Third Wave of Urban Waterfront Development

District Winery, one of DC’s latest waterfront amenities. Image © Prakash Patel

Not long ago, urban waterfronts were mostly populated with ships and cranes and metal containers that held troves of goods ranging from the everyday to the exotic. Ancillary industries were located nearby, in plain buildings that did not bear the obvious signifiers of design. And men labored in unglamorous but necessary work that allowed the mechanics of trade to operate smoothly. Waterfronts have long been central to the economies of many cities. Yet they were also tinged with danger: their porosity enabled people and goods perceived as threats to the established social order to enter the city. This tension between sanctioned and unsanctioned activities infused waterfronts with a sense of drama and illicit goings-on. The idea that such places could be cultural hotspots or focused on livability seemed far-fetched, to say the least.

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Monday
Nov202017

Who’ll Stop the Rain: Urban Design with Nature

Marines patrol past flooded Houston home. Photo by Lance Cpl. Niles Lee.

“Long as I remember, the rain been comin' down.

Clouds of mystery pourin', confusion on the ground.

Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun.

And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain?”

John Fogerty’s lyrics from 1970’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” became a devastating reality in 2017 when catastrophic storms hit the Texas Gulf Coast, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Millions of people were impacted with record amounts of rainfall – in some cases, a year’s worth in a few days! Flooding is a necessary natural phenomenon for a healthy ecosystem, but too much and in the wrong place is a deadly combination. But just how much flooding are we talking about?

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Monday
Sep182017

Regional Renaissance: Fuelling the Midlands Engine in England

Birmingham and the West Midlands are being transformed. Image Courtesy Luke Matthews, Unsplash

The UK, London and the South East have, for many years, been the focus of the nation’s conversations around economic development and prosperity. The Northern Power House and the Midlands Engine are emblematic of the enormous interest in the economic and human potential of the UK regions. The rise of global investment interest and the ever-faster transformation of manufacturing as digital technology permeates every level of the supply chain are transforming Birmingham and the West Midlands.

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Wednesday
Sep132017

What We Talk About When We Talk About Placemaking

London is creating and redeveloping spaces with strong cultural offerings. Image © Mike Stezycki.

As we wait to see the full effects of Brexit take hold, London keeps growing, and over recent decades, the capital’s population has reached uncharted levels. Birth rates continue to accelerate, citizens are living longer, and more and more people still look to move to the capital for work. If we continue to grow at this pace, we’ll hit 10 million people before 2030—a figure that brings many challenges.

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Wednesday
Aug022017

How Urban Design Can Save Lives

Image courtesy Matt Quinn

This post is part of a blog series related to Dialogue 30, "The Livability Issue.”

As Designers and Planners, we base our design concepts on a variety of inputs: site program, client preferences, industry practices, etc. But we still build parts of our cities the same way we have for nearly a century. This failure to consider our evolving needs and adapt to them may be killing us!

Urban Design can help. Here are three ideas – local, neighborhood and citywide.

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