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Making Big Box Stores Part of the Urban Fabric

November 21, 2011 by Kristen Jeffers

Urban Target Store in Minneapolis (Photo Credit: Wikimedia) Ahh, the urbanist’s dreaded big box. No one wants the thing in their neighborhood, but oh do we love having Trader Joes and Whole Foods nearby. Never mind that the Trader Joes moved into the old Wal-Mart space and the Whole Foods was built next door to a massive Petsmart, Babies...[read more]

Imagining an Elastic City

November 18, 2011 by Polis International

Planters and urban gardening tools at Kennedy Greenway in central Boston, the site of the Occupy Boston encampment.Last spring, after attending a panel about urbanism in Mumbai, I wrote a blog post about what I called the "entropic city" — one that is constantly changing and re-imagining itself. “Entropy,” I argued, “is a...[read more]

Website for Accessory Dwellings: "Granny Units" Get A Second Look

November 11, 2011 by David Sucher

Building a detached ADU isn’t necessarily different than building a house. And actually, quite important. It's a new site and I wish it well. I'll be reading. ••• Many years ago I approached an editor at Sunset and suggested some article about ADUs. She snorted (though kindly) and told me that Sunset...[read more]

Sydney is Planning to Spread Out … Is It Sustainable?

October 3, 2011 by Paul Adkinson

Australians have followed the American dream: A 3 bedroom house, an SUV, a big backyard and 10 paces from the house to any other property to keep neighbours at bay. Our overgrown houses are now the largest among the world’s detached dwellings – and we pay the price. All of Australia’s major cities are in the top listed expensive cities...[read more]

How Would you Radically Rethink Cycling in London?

September 29, 2011 by This Big City

With a dismal 2% of all trips made by bicycle in London, now seems like a good time to change our approach to cycling in the British capital. Earlier this year, Gordon Macrae wrote a piece for This Big City tackling that very subject. Calling it ‘time to reach beyond the young, macho or ultra-fit typically associated with urban...[read more]

The Gated City

September 8, 2011 by Chris Bradford

If you generally agree with me that anti-density restrictions hurt cities, you should read The Gated City by The Economist's Ryan Avent. If you generally disagree with me that anti-density restrictions hurt cities, you should read The Gated City to see why you are wrong. Ryan's central thesis is that tight growth...[read more]

Which is Denser: New York or Los Angeles?

September 7, 2011 by Daniel Nairn

Your intuitions are correct. New Yorkers live in neighborhoods with much higher density than do Angelenos. But its not obvious how this conclusion is reached, and there's plenty of confusion going around about measuring density. Where you draw the lines on the map can have a significant impact on the results you get.If you measure...[read more]

Confronting the Urban Mirror

September 2, 2011 by Chuck Wolfe

To my mind, one of the most compelling features of a provocative urban environment is a place where people watch people—which becomes a small-scale human observatory. Such places are often indicative of safe public environments, including active streets, corners and squares. They are particularly prevalent in cultures where neighbors readily interact, and the seams between public and private are softer than zoning setbacks, while still allowing for a private world.[read more]

Uniqueness of Asian Streets

July 18, 2011 by Asian Urbanist

Asian cities offer a unique and rich diversity of streets and public spaces. Persisting high density and compactness has long prohibited attempts to create large open civic spaces. As a result, the typology of public spaces is a patchwork of interconnected plots in-between buildings. This dynamism is enhanced by the fact that Asian...[read more]

Pondering Artifacts of Displacement in the Sustainable City

July 4, 2011 by Chuck Wolfe
Photo: Chuck Wolfe

If our cities must be dense to be competitive and sustainable, we must also look with care to the potential displacement of uses, institutions or traditions—not to mention the artifacts we will leave behind.[read more]

A Not So Suburban Suburbia: Possibilities for Our Urban Future

June 10, 2011 by Donovan Gillman

More on retrofitting suburbia… " There are nearly seven billion people on the planet, and more than half of them live in urban areas. Close your eyes and try to picture that. Do you see the towering density of Tokyo or Mumbai? Well, you’re partly right. Megacities with populations topping 10 million are part of the picture, but our...[read more]

The man who thinks Manhattan isn't dense enough

May 19, 2011 by Kaid Benfield

  New York County, which comprises all of Manhattan, is the densest county in America, at 71,166 people per square mile.  It is twice as dense as number-two Brooklyn (which, incidentally, is followed by two more New York City counties, Bronx and Queens, at numbers three and four, respectively).  Manhattan is over four...[read more]