Saturday, November 6, 2010

Neighborhoods: Is East Atlanta Losing Its Soul?

By Andrea Korber

“Too many damn dogs,” Lucky Chuckie says. “More dogs than we ever had.” A lifetime resident of East Atlanta, Chuckie is describing one of the changes he has observed as his neighborhood has become Atlanta’s trendiest. “We,” in his mind, are the old-timers—mostly African-American homeowners who lived through East Atlanta’s startling transformation over the past four decades. “They” are the newcomer dog-owners—yuppies and families who are changing the neighborhood they now share with the old-timers. The “us” and “them” language he uses is a sure and subtle indicator of the state of East Atlanta: the first stages of gentrification.

Decades of Change

East Atlanta wasn’t always trendy. Since its optimistic conception as a model for “urban utopian living” at the turn of the century, it has been plagued by many of the same problems other American inner-city neighborhoods have faced: a fierce battle over integration, white flight to outlying suburbs, divisive highway construction (Interstate 20), and a crime wave that devastated the community.

But around the same time the neighborhood formed the East Atlanta Community Association (1981), things started to turn around. Many of the auto and tire shops were converted, crumbling homes were sold and rehabilitated, and local businesses began to thrive.

Related posts:

Tomorrow is Another Day for Atlanta’s Sustainable Transport


IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform

"Rational Software Delivery Platform" is an architectural software developed by IBM. In the following 9-part videos you can how to download, install and work with different features of this software.

Great distance between Bangkok and Thailand's second largest city, Nonthaburi

Bangkok is the greatest metropolis in the Indochina region and the most important city and the capital city of Thailand. located in north of Singapore and Malaysia and in south of China and Hong Kong, it has every good conditions for development and international business.
9100000 residents of Bangkok are accommodated in 1568 square kilometers of dense urban fabric. Of course the area of Bangkok metropolitan area is 7761 square kilometers. The population of this urban area is less than 12 million people. Therefore, it is obvious that Bangkok is one of the largest cities of Asia and even the world.
Bangkok has been a small trading center between 14th to 18th centuries. But it was announced as a new capital in 1782. This city, which is administered in 50 districts, has developed new public transit networks like MRT, BRT and SRT lines, but it still has traffic congestion problems. 
Although the urbanization and urbanism of Thailand has been developing fast through the second half of the twentieth century, but it seems that there is differences in the urbanization of Thai cities with Bangkok as the greatest city. Nonthaburi, the second large city of Thailand has 262,158 residents, which is quite little in comparison with the population of the first city. 
It seems that Thailand needs more developed regional planning to accommodate the population in the area of the country.

More readings on Bangkok,Thailand, and Indochina:

Urbanization and Urbanism in Thailand

The Contemporary Urban Problems in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

500 Kilometers of Bicycle Routes in Cicycling Capital of Germany

M√ľnster (which is written Muenster too for non-German speakers) is an interesting city in the province of Nord Rhein-Wesfalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) in north west of Germany. the city has had a look to sustainable development after the World War II. So it has some nicknames like the bicycling capital of Germany or Germany's most child friendly city.
The bicycle facilities of Muenster are fantastic. There are enough bicycle lockers in the city. you can use bicycle in this city as the main commuting and daily transportation mode in Muenster. There are about 500 kilometers of bicycle routes in and around the city. That looks excellent for a city with a population of about 275000 people and an area of 303000 square kilometers.
As seen in the following video, the city has history in the previous centuries, but was destroyed during the war. there are three green belts around the city. These green belts separate the central city from the suburbs. Also some green corridors connect the suburbs to the central city.
The video also has information about the rebuilding the city after the war and the overall culture and identity of the city.

More stories on bicycle planning:

Only 1% of the safety-related construction funds is spent for bicycling and pedetrians in the U.S.

Complete Streets Lessons from Copenhagen

Sustainable Transport Ideas: Cycling in Amsterdam


Monday, November 1, 2010

The Roots and Origins of New Urbanism

By Houshmand E. Masoumi

New Urbanism is one of the most important approaches of the Neo-Traditional Development flow. Although New Urbanism looks almost new, it has roots in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the early 1980s, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk as two of the early leaders of the New Urbanism movement conducted a research on the urban form and architectural characteristics of the late nineteenth and twentieth century settlements of the east and northeast of America. It was before starting to work on the master plan of the most famous planning practice of New Urbanism: Seaside, Florida.
They extracted the main characteristics and formulated them as a number of guidelines, which in 1990s were developed into New Urbanism principles by the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU).

Howard’s Garden City

The works of Duany and Plater-Zyberk along with Katz, Molle, Polizoides, Corbett, and others were quite influential in the formation of New Urbanism. Some believe that the idea of such neo-traditionalism was gotten from the first two decades of the twentieth century. As the most influential, Garden City movement was the main pattern of New Urbanist way of thinking.
The 6000-acre Garden City that Ebenezer Howard introduced in his well-known book: Garden Cities of To-morrow in 1902 was influenced by the neighborhood unit of Clarence Perry. The schools were the center of the neighborhood so that the children could easily go to school and get back. Garden City had important Anglo-American features like communality, mobility, individualism, and safety of children which can also be seen in New Urbanism (Lang, 1994).
A Garden City of 66000 acres for 250000 residents

Other Roots

Another source of inspiration of the New Urbanism was the City Beautiful movement. The City Beautiful movement idea originally comes from the neoclassical architectural movement of Beaux Arts (Municipal Arts) in the nineteenth-century France.
Although the shape of the buildings in Beaux Arts architecture is different from the new urban architecture, but there are similarities between the two movements. Human relationships, environmentalism, landscape architecture, and green spaces are basic features of City Beautiful. This is the point that some scholars think that it can be the starting point of the humanist ideology of New Urbanism.

San Francisco - Civic Center: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, a good example of City Beautiful movement's works, Image by Walley Gobetz

Many critics of New Urbanism believe that unlike its name, it is not so “new”. As we see in this article, the ideas are not new. However, the views that the new urbanists have, by which they try to change the form of the sprawling cities of the United States, look fresh to many people.


Civic Center: Civic Center Park - Voorhies Memorial in Denver in another examples of City Beautiful. image by Wally Gobetz

 More readings on New Urbanism:

neo-traditional development: a post modern way in urban design

What Andres Duany and Peter Calthrope Beieved in 1995

Designing Community: The Utopia of New Urbanism