Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cities: The Missing Presidential Campaign Issue

14 July 2008
by Randall Crane

There is a glaring lack of attention in the presidential primaries to urban policy, says Randall Crane.
I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Cities. That's what I'll tell the presidential candidates when they call for career advice, any day now I expect. Cities.
Because the downtowns and suburbs of cities, where the supermajority of Americans toil, relax, and puzzle out their lives -- our downtowns, suburbs and urban spaces between -- are invisible in the 2008 campaign.
This is not right; the policy vacuum for all things urban in today's national debates is both disquieting and disingenuous. In many ways, cities define us better than other identity politics. Our greatest opportunities and challenges are often best understood and tackled, first and foremost, as urban questions.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gentrification and Resistance in New York City

Last spring, USA Today ran a story with the headline “Gentrification: A Boost for Everyone.” A little more than a week after the story appeared, it showed up on the web sites of a variety of organizations and media, including Smart Growth America, the Urban Land Institute, Nation’s Building News and The Real Deal (a web site about New York real estate). Here at last, the headline suggested, was evidence that gentrification could be the rising tide that lifts all boats.

The widespread press coverage of the new wave of displacement studies is part of a broader effort to rescue the word “gentrification.” In the 1970s and 1980s, “gentrification” became familiar because it seemed to summarize all of the market failures, polarization and injustice that shaped life in America’s inner-city communities.
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East Village, New York, photo by jglsongs/Flickr

Monday, May 24, 2010

“Greening Up” Urban Communities and Displacing the Poor

by working-class perspectives
May 24, 2010

The drive up South Halsted Street to the campus of my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago, reveals how much this section of the Near West side of Chicago has changed in the last 10 years.  Once a blighted area of vacant storefronts, ramshackle houses, and trash-strewn lots, the area now called University Village is, today, an upper-middle income neighborhood of luxury condos, $700,000 townhomes, lush lawns, trees, and upscale retail shops.  The neighborhood offers a ten minute drive to downtown Chicago and the Museum Campus, a bike trail, a huge medical district to its south, and easy access to expressways, public transportation, and UIC’s outdoor running track. It took a while but, beginning with the razing of several dilapidated and “notorious” housing projects nearby, the neighborhood has been redeveloped into a cleaner, “greener,” safer community.   The question is, for whom?

photo: Sprawl in Chicago (by Maxo/Flicr)

Between Sprawl, Slum and Hope: Urban Studies @ NYPL

The United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division estimated that by the end of 2008, for the first time in human history, the Earth's population was more than half concentrated into urban areas.

Whether we prefer it or not, the near future certainly involves city living, apartments, mass transportation, and all the other pros and cons of high density urban life. While gentrification is certainly discussed to no end in the media, less mainstream attention has focused on its counterpart, the death of suburbia.
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New Urbanist Silverback Andres Duany and the Young Locusts

by Sarah Goodyear
May 21, 2010

If you’ve been roaming the urbanist blogosphere this week, you may have happened upon the comments made by one of the progenitors of New Urbanism, Andres Duany, in an interview with the Atlantic. Duany, apparently, has a problem with young people coming into a city and using it in a way that he disapproves of:
There’s this generation who grew up in the suburbs, for whom the suburbs have no magic. The mall has no magic. They’re the ones that have discovered the city.

Kentlands: a successful example of new urbanism in East Coast (photo: DrLandscape/Flickr)


Four House Republicans Join Dems in Hailing LaHood’s Support for Bike-Ped

by Elana Schor
May 21, 2010

Four House Republicans yesterday joined 24 Democratic colleagues in a letter praising Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for his public support of federal bicycling and pedestrian investment -- a stance that had generated some bad blood between LaHood and the trucking industry.
GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Michael McCaul (TX), Jack Kingston (GA), and Steven LaTourette (OH) signed on to the letter, which was sent to LaHood late yesterday in advance of today's Bike to Work Day events in the capital.
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What’s Wrong With Gentrification? The displacement myth

By Adam Sternbergh
Dec 11, 2009

At least there was one upside to the downturn: It brought gentrification to a thudding halt. Because gentrification, as we all know, is a dirty word, and one that never tastes more sour than in the mouths of the people who practice it. n+1, the literary journal of the Brooklyn renaissance, headquartered in the rigorously revitalized Dumbo, just published two tut-tutting pieces on the subject: a book review titled “Gentrified Fiction” (en garde, Jonathan Lethem!) and an essay, “Gentrify, Gentrify,” which decries the annexation of Brooklyn into “Ikea-hoods” and calls on gentrifiers to (somehow) “ally with the displaced.” 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

NYC’s Bike Route Network: Bridging the Gaps

by Nate Baird
September 29, 2009
NYC cyclists cross an intersection of a separated cycle track in Lower Manhattan.  All photos by author, hosted on Flickr.
Coming from Los Angeles, New York City’s bicycling infrastructure seems to shout fearless innovation, especially in the effort and artistry exerted to smartly bridge gaps in the city’s bikeway network.
Many of the improvements in NYC’s bikeway system have been recent gains (check out the latest of these in a recent Streetsfilm video), achieved in no small part because of ardent, thorough, and sustained campaigning by NYC bicycling advocates, such as Transportation Alternatives.

Where’s Low Carbon Transport in Post-Copenhagen Pledges?

by Megan McConville 
February 4, 2010

The first major piece of follow-up to the Copenhagen Accord took place Monday: the countries responsible for the bulk of climate-altering pollution formally submitted emission reduction plans, meeting the agreement’s Jan. 31 deadline. Fifty-five developed and developing countries submitted plans to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the body overseeing global negotiations. (Check out the World Resources Institute’s updated interactive chart about the latest country pledges.)So how many of those plans included the transportation sector? 


LE Van Thanh
Institute for Economic Research
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

Paper presented to the PRIPODE workshop on
Urban Population, Development and Environment Dynamics in Developing Countries
11-13 June 2007
Nairobi, Kenya

In recent years, urbanization has been taking place rapidly and vigorously in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). As a reason of the implementation of Doi moi policy2 in many fields, the economic growth of HCMC has amounted up to over 11% in almost every year for the past decade. A lot of industrial and export-processing zones as well as new residential areas were established, accelerating urbanization, economic transformation, and development of HCMC. The population has been also continually increasing, estimated to be over 7 millions persons3, with the annual growth rate 3,5% per year, of which migrants make up about a third. Due to the urban development history, the City population is not allocated equally all over the City. The population density in the inner City is over 30,000 persons per a square kilometer; whereas the density in suburban and rural areas of the City is much lower. The City area is 2,000 square kilometers, of which 104 km2 is the inner City; 600 km2 is the outskirts; and a large area is the rural. Establishment of new urban districts (from previous rural districts) since 1997 may be seen as a hallmark of the City’s vigorous urbanization.
Reviewing the City’s development for the past 10 years (1997 – 2007), we can see that urbanization has caused both positive and negative impacts on socio-economic, demographic and environmental fields in all different geographic areas of Ho Chi Minh City.

Architecture & Urban Planning in China: future cities to make small carbon footprint

by Itamar Medeiros  
June 8, 2009

Even as China undergoes one of the most rapid urban transformations in the world, the Chinese government is promoting sustainable development to curb the country’s growing rate of carbon emissions, a World Bank urban specialist said in Beijing on recently.
“China is moving faster” than most governments in adopting sustainable urban development, Daniel Hoornweg, the World Bank’s lead urban specialist, told Xinhua News at the launch of a World Book annual report that compiles statistics on environment-related issues. “The government is encouraging that cities be developed to follow a low-carbon path.”
read more

Architecture & Urban Planning in China: urbanization to create massive infrastructure investment

by Itamar Medeiros  
October 14, 2009

Some 300 million Chinese now living in rural areas — the equivalent of the entire population of the United States — will move into cities in the coming 15 to 20 years, said a senior Chinese official recently. The fast pace of urbanization will create at least 1 trillion yuan (nearly 150 billion US dollars) in annual investment opportunities in building water supply, waste treatment, heating and other public utilities in the cities, said Xu Zhongwei, deputy policy director of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. “Such a big urban population will result in huge market demand,” Xu told China Daily. China is undergoing rapid urbanization, with its rate increasing from 17 percent 30 years ago to 45 percent at the end of year, Xu said. More than 600 million of China’s 1.3 billion people already live in cities. “This is an incredible speed and I am quite proud that we didn’t see a huge increase of slums in the cities during the process,” Xu said.

Urbanization, Urban Environment and Land Use: Challenges and Opportunities

23 January 2003

Masakazu Ichimura

Urbanization has been the dominant demographic trend, not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also in the entire world, during the last half century. With the high pace of social and economic development in Asia and the resulting growth of city and town population, lack of infrastructure, congested traffic, environmental degradation and a housing shortage became the major issues faced by cities and towns in their sustainable development
The Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) reviewed the environment and development issues facing in the Asia-Pacific Region and identified five major issues that require priority attention. Based on discussions at the past two substantive sessions, APFED formulated its Recommendations and a Message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, in which APFED committed to launch the new partnership initiatives.
One of the topics that APFED attaches high importance and is therefore covered by its Recommendations is Urbanization.

Planning Urbanization Inside Natural Urban Landscapes

Habitat Mapping as a Part of a Complex Landscape Planning Process

The paper deals with the currently popular “habitat mapping” of urban open spaces. Among many other methods, which try to define or measure the level of natural preservation, habitat mapping is a sort of pre-analytical method or, rather, a simple inventarisation (identification) of habitats. Biologists, who most often conduct such mapping, define habitats according to the predominant plant species. The method is quite similar to the known methods used by plant sociologists when they produce their vegetation maps. If these maps are used instead of habitat maps, and combined with other spatial data, relevant spatial models can be produced to simulate habitats, which is a common procedure in the landscape planning process. In this case the long-term and expensive procedure of habitat mapping is not needed. Therefore, the maps of habitats, once they are produced, must also be evaluated by biologists, and hierarchically categorized from the most preserved or natural habitat to the less preserved or natural habitat for continuous use. Once habitats are categorized, they can be used, and, the simulation of further urbanization can be made in a landscape ecological manner by preserving important habitats. Final step is to provide necessary corridors and stepping stones for certain species and to propose new types of urban parks and recreational zones.

Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities? Urban Planning and the Contradictions of Sustainable Development

©Journal of the American Planning Association (Summer, 1996).
Scott Campbell
Urban and Regional Planning Program
Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
University of Michigan

Nothing inherent in the discipline steers planners either toward environmental protection or toward economic development -- or toward a third goal of planning: social equity. Instead, planners work within the tension generated among these three fundamental aims, which, collectively, I call the "planner's triangle," with sustainable development located at its center. This center cannot be reached directly, but only approximately and indirectly, through a sustained period of confronting and resolving the triangle's conflicts. To do so, planners have to redefine sustainability, since its current formulation romanticizes our sustainable past and is too vaguely holistic. Planners would benefit both from integrating social theory with environmental thinking and from combining their substantive skills with techniques for community conflict resolution, to confront economic and environmental injustice.
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Urbanization and Urbanism in Thailand

By Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wichai Srikam
Faculty of Arts
Sipakorn University

Urbanization is a complex process of social and economic change whereby a society is transformed from an essentially rural to a predominantly urban one. While “urbanization” has to do with metropolitan growth, urbanism is often seen as one of the consequences of urbanization.
The purpose of this study is to examine the process of urbanization and urbanism in Thailand. It is found that during the Sukothai period all the settlements including Sukothai, the capital city, were characterized as rural areas which their people engaged in agriculture. During the Ayuttaya period, only one city which began to form urbanization gradually was Ayuttaya, the capital city at that time. During the Bangkok period, in 1967 only Bangkok was the only real city. By 1981, Bangkok Metropolis was 50 times larger than Chiangmai. At present (2003), Bangkok is only 22 times larger than Nontaburee, the second largest city of Thailand. This indicates that people in Bangkok moved out to reside in adjacent cities, such as Nontaburee. In 2000 out of the ten biggest cities in Thailand one city (Chiangmai) is in the North Region, 4 cities (Nakornratchaseema, Udontanee , Kongan, Ubonratchatanee) in the Northeast Region, 3 cities (Bangkok, Nontaburee, Parkgret) in the Central Region, and 2 cities (Hardyai and Surattanee) in the South Region.
With regard to urbanism, since cities produce a characteristic way of life known as “urbanism,” the larger cities in Thailand have become more urban cultures than the smaller ones. Secondary and tertiary economic activities, such as industry, commerce, and services are major factors influencing the increase in the degree of urbanization and urbanism. For example, Bangkok is one of the most dynamic and most Chaotic cities in Thailand. While crowding, traffic congestion, and pollution grow ever worse, the city is an economic, educational, and cultural, and transportation magnet not only for Thais, but for other people in the world. Thus, Bangkok and big cities in Thailand are culturally heterogeneous, and socially diverse because of increasing degrees of urbanization.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Principles for providing green areas in Urban Centres

Principles for providing green areas in Urban Centres

The green areas are considered the lungs of urban centres. Such green areas in a city ensures freshness and improves the ambience of the town, maintain healthier environment by generating oxygen to the living creatures, and also function as an agent of recharging the ground with fresh rain water and controlling the increasing global warm. In fact, green areas increase the longevity of human life.

Planning Principles for Providing Green Areas in Urban Centres

At Master Plan Level:-

At Development Plan level or at Master Plan level, the green areas or recreational areas in urban centres are provided on following forms:-

1. Provision of Green Belts along National Highway / Expressway of the Town:-

Green belts ranging from 100 meters to 30 meters (i.e. 100 meters wide or 60 meters wide or 45 meters wide or 30 meters) wide green belts are proposed along both sides of National Highways or expressway or other major arteries of the town. The width of aforesaid green belts can vary according to the importance of the respective roads. Such long green strips along major arteries help in controlling the pollution originated due to heavy traffic on such roads, increase the ambience to the town and also keep the scope intact for widening of such roads in future.

2. Provision of Green Areas along River Fronts:-

The fronts of river, drain, canal and Nallas etc. passing through the town are planned for the purpose of green areas / wood land / zoo / golf courses / play grounds / stadium etc. The width of such green belts can vary according to the topographical features of the area generally ranging from 30 meters to 250 meters. The development of green areas along such fronts helps in maintaining urban eco-system and save the main urban settlement during inundation.

3. Provision of Green Areas along Railway Tracks:-

The railway tracks are considered as a source of air and noise pollution and its vibrations result in cracks in adjoining buildings. Maintenance of greenery including thick wood land along such tracks helps in solving the said problems.

4. Green Buffer Areas Between Industrial and Non Industrial Sector :-

Since, Industrial sector generates air pollution, and noise pollution, therefore, for the protection of adjoining non industrial sectors (such as residential sectors, commercial sectors, institutional sectors etc.) from such pollutions, green buffer zones, minimum of 30 meters wide are provided around the industrial sector.

5. Green Areas around Sewerage Treatment:-

The sewerage treatment plant in urban areas cause air pollution and also generates bad smell. For the eradication of these problems, provision of at least 100 meters wide green belts around sewerage treatment plants and Garbage Disposal sites are provided.

6. Provision of Green Areas around Historical Monuments and Religious Places:-

About 100 meters wide green belts / areas are provided around historical monuments and religious buildings for the maintenance of their sanctity. Such green areas also remain helpful to accommodate large congregation on the eve of important religious functions.

7. Development of Hillocks as Green Areas:-

If hillocks, rocky and ridge areas are forming part of a town, the said features are required to be preserved as green areas.

8. Provision of Green Areas around Airport and Ammunition Depot:-

The buildings are always kept at least 900 meters away from Airport, Radar Station and Ammunition depot by proposing green areas around the said establishments.

9. Provision of Green Areas in the form city level

The infrastructure of district level parks and stadium is also provided after 4-5 residential sectors to cope with the needs of towns.


Terms: Articles may be reprinted provided content is not edited and links are kept live

Cities: Urban Studies & Urban Economics

By Amer Naveed Raja

Since inception man's aim has always been to improve one's standard of life and to attain happiness. Further man is a need as well as desire driven being. However, life is a continuous activity surrounded with problems. If these problems left unsolved gradually it leads to chaos. Therefore, the purpose of knowledge as well as man's activities has always been to solve the problems. 
As our knowledge about the beginning of human race is very limited, therefore it is impossible to precisely know the way of life of primitive humans. As human race emerges from a pair of a man and a woman, Adam and Eve, over a very long period of time humans multiplied exponentially. For varied reasons they split into sub groups and start moving away from the herd.
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Living In Houston Texas The Urban Sprawl City

By Gen Wright

Houston, Texas is the fourth largest city in the United States, with an open feel and surrounded by wonderful green landscape full of waterways and parks. Houston offers great restaurants to dine, entertaining shows and movies, and beautiful places to enjoy. There are numerous restaurants to choose from as well as multiplex cinemas and clubs with live music.
There are two major commercial airports in Houston and two smaller regional airports. If you want to visit Houston, you can travel by train located in Washington Avenue, which is the only train with a stop in Houston. People who love nature can enjoy biking, bird watching, jogging and picnic in Hermann Park.
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Architectural Rendering

By Mary Summers

Inclusion of architectural rendering software and techniques in architectural design has led to a radical age in the process of marketing and visualization of architectural designs. It breathes new life into design by bringing in new designs to 3D life. Architectural 3D rendering enhances design value and communication. It helps clients, shareholders, contractors and others involved in the design and execution process to better understand the intent and beauty of the design. Creating rendering of an architectural design is a more comprehensive way to explain and/or sell your design.

Architectural Drawings for the Aec Industry

By Alex Denver

Architectural drawings form the backbone of the design industry and play a significant role in architecture related projects today. Paper drawings are a great challenge to manage and store. Therefore, to get a complete picture of the paper based architectural drawings is difficult. 
Architectural drawings, based on paper, also consume a lot of time to manage and sometimes may not be in a good enough condition to use. Therefore, to overcome all these hurdles, Computer Aided Design (CAD) system is an indispensable tool for your paper based architecture drawings.

Architectural Design - Modern Architectural Design Softwares

By Mary Summers

With the influx of modern computing technology, architectural design has undergone a sea change. Modern architectural design employs a wide suite of architectural design software to achieve architectural building design like never before. Today, architectural design firms execute projects of such flawless quality and at unbelievably fast turnaround times.
Modern architectural design softwares allow quick integration of modifications to the entire architectural design project.

The New Urbanism: Kichijoji Style

By Atsushi Miura

To marketers nothing is more important than where people live. Thus, since 2003 I have been investigating life in American residential neighborhoods. I have visited numerous examples, including, for example, Celebration, the small town developed by Disney next door to Disney World, and the seaside development featured in the movie Truman Show, regarded as a leading example of the new urbanism.
No question about it, the quality of design is better in neighborhoods deliberately created to exemplify the new urban ideals. Places like the Seattle suburban Issaquah Highland neighborhood created by Peter Calthorpe, where Microsoft executives working class people, and individuals recently released from jail live together neighbors, are truly impressive achievements. Returning to Japan, however, it seems to me that Japanese neighborhoods also exemplify this trend.
read the article here
Issaquah Highland, Seattle, source: Google Maps

New Urbanism on the Emerald Coast

By Karrie Rose

New Urbanism started in the 1980s on Florida's Emerald Coast basically as an attempt to counter the impersonal, wasteful environment that is suburban sprawl. The nostalgic environment that it attempts to replicate is one where the car is not king, people know their neighbours, and where the environment makes the resident feel at home.

Codifying New Urbanism

By Buck Abbey, ASLA, LASN associate editor for ordinances

Landscape Standards

One of the really great things about new urbanism is the zoning philosophy provides additional design standards for landscape architects. In a field where design is often “as you want it,” it is wonderful to have specific standards that many can agree to as a theoretical basis for landscape architecture design.
In the years following the creation of Seaside, Florida in 1981 (see the March 2007 column), many books, columns and articles have been published about new urbanism and its essential definition.
New urbanism stresses community design and comprehensive planning from the regional scale to the disposition of the downtown lot. New urbanism principles seek to promote social togetherness, urban livability, reinvestment in the city center and the abatement of urban sprawl. It also seeks to decrease separation of land uses based upon race, income, automobile usage and environmental deterioration—all symptoms of poor land use planning. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Survey: New Urbanist Community Results in More Walking, Interaction

Researchers show that residents walk to shopping, but still drive to work.

Taking Accessibility a Few Steps Further

"An opportunity for homebuilders." That’s how an article in the summer issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA) refers to the lack of accessible housing in the United States.

The article continues: “In light of concerns about the civil rights of people with disabilities and the high public cost of nursing home care, housing accessibility is a critical issue for planners and policymakers as well.” The JAPA research found that most new single-family houses built today will be inhabited at some point by someone with a disability.

New Urbanism Goes Green

Sustainable Designs, Products and Practices Make New Urban Neighborhoods Even Better

During the past decade, proponents of new urbanism and lovers of the environment have had an uneasy relationship. Saddled with an "all or nothing" mentality, both sides have dished up and received their share of disparaging remarks-in spite of their similar ideologies.

New urbanists, the environmentalists claim, are interested only in creating a better suburb - a prospect anathema to their thinking. From the generalist-minded new urbanists' perspective, environmentalists and other green-thinking types are too concerned with a single component of place-making, consumed by thinking that is usually out in left field - sometimes literally, with their "environmentally sensitive" homes and buildings stranded far from the infrastructure of towns or villages.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Causes of sprawl: A portrait from space

Marcy Burchfield
Neptis Foundation
Henry G. Overman
Diego Puga
Matthew A. Turner

10 September 2005

Abstract: We study the extent to which us urban development is sprawling and what determines differences in sprawl across space. Using remotesensing data to track the evolution of land use on a grid of 8.7 billion 30*30 meter cells, we measure sprawl as the amount of undeveloped land surrounding an average urban dwelling. The extent of sprawl remained roughly unchanged between 1976 and 1992, although it varied dramatically across metropolitan areas. Ground water availability, temperate climate, rugged terrain, decentralized employment, early public transport infrastructure, uncertainty about metropolitan growth, and unincorporated land in the urban fringe all increase sprawl.

AN ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE ON URBAN SPRAWL: With an Application to the American West and a Test of the Efficacy of Urban Growth Boundaries

Robert W. Wassmer

Public Policy and Administration
California State University, Sacramento

September 2002

This paper begins with a short background on what economics can offer to the debate over urban sprawl. This economic perspective is then compared to definitions of sprawl found in the previous planning literature and a possible consensus is reached on ways to quantify the degree of urban sprawl in a metropolitan area given the available data. Values for these measures are provided for metropolitan and urbanized areas throughout the western United States. Simple evidence on the presence of urban growth boundaries and the containment of urban sprawl is offered. Conclusions are drawn and a policy course for dealing with sprawl is suggested.

Causes of Urban Sprawl (Decentralization) in the United States: Natural Evolution, Flight from Blight, and the Fiscalization of Land Use

Robert W. Wassmer
Department of Public Policy and Administration
Sacramento State University

David Edwards
California Bureau of State Audits

January 10, 2005

Relying upon three theories previously offered by economists to explain differences in the degree of decentralization observed across urban areas; this paper uses regression analysis to examine what causes this form of “urban sprawl” in the United States. Building on Brueckner and Fansler’s (1983) analysis, we find evidence that explanatory factors associated with the “natural evolution” and the “flight-from-blight” theories of causes of urban dispersion do influence differences in the year 2000 square mile size of United States’ urbanized areas. Our regression results also offer support for the presence of one form of “fiscalization of land use”, and for regional variation in United States’ urban decentralization that may be due to differences in land use history and/or institutions. If so desired, the empirical evidence offered here could be used to craft policy prescriptions to alter the course of sprawl in an urban area.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From Urban Wastelands to New-Build Gentrification: The Case of Swiss Cities

Patrick Rérat, Ola Söderström, Etienne Piguet and Roger Besson
Institute of Geography, University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Popul. Space Place (2009)
Published online in Wiley InterScience

Gentrification represents an important aspect of the transformation of socio-demographic structures in many cities around the world. The definition of this concept has been extended in recent years to cover different processes of social upgrading and to incorporate a plurality of forms, protagonists, and spaces. The notion of ‘new-build gentrification’ is part of this process of redefinition. Because of its strong connections with global socioeconomic trends, the adoption of regeneration and densification policies along with the emergence of numerous new urban districts, Switzerland offers a particularly interesting case in which to study this specifi c form of gentrification. In this paper, we first provide an assessment of the residential attractiveness of Swiss core cities for the middle to upper class. We then study new housing projects in Zurich and Neuchâtel. Our focus on the actors involved in these projects brings original results to the debates surrounding the driving forces behind new-build gentrification. Empirical material is drawn from official statistics, questionnaires relating to inhabitant profiles, interviews concerned with the strategies of actors in the real-estate market, and planning policy documents.

Rural gentrification and the production of nature: a case study from Middle England

Dr Martin Phillips,
Department of Geography,
University of Leicester,
Leicester LE1 7RH,
United Kingdom

4th International Conference of Critical Geographers, Mexico City

In a series of previous work I have sought to "make space for the study of rural gentrification" (Phillips 2005a) by highlighting parallels which exist between observed urban transformations and changes occurring in the countryside, or at least within the British countryside, and also how rural researchers might draw upon and contribute to wide ranging theoretical debates concerning the significance and constitution of gentrification (see
Phillips 1993; 2001b; 2002b; 2004; 2005a). The term gentrification is often interpreted as a largely urban phenomena, with urban gentrification being a widely acknowledged research subject – even research frontier (Van Weesep 1994) - and having become a heterogeneous and contested discursive space, with highly divergent interpretations of gentrification being advanced and debated. In contrast, rural gentrification appears as a small, restricted and rather unremarkable discursive space. A relatively small number of people use the term rural gentrification, and when it is used is often accompanied with little or no justifying commentary: rural gentrification is either largely ignored or presented as a commonplace referent to some changes in contemporary rural life.

How to achieve climate-friendly behaviour changes ? A case study of the university of Grenoble

Odile Blanchard

Climate change is definitely a huge challenge for the 21st century. Models in energy economics show that efficiency gains through energy productivity improvement, technical change and technological innovations towards lower carbon technologies will not be sufficient to achieve the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC, ie stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Mitigation actions that stem from individual behaviour change towards a lower individual carbon footprint are also part of the response to the climate challenge. However, barriers are numerous for individuals to change their behaviour and actually reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Even individuals with positive attitudes may show much reluctance to behave in a climate-friendly way : cognitive dissonance often emerges between people's statements and people's actual actions. The paper aims to investigate how these barriers can be overcome so that individuals take action. It draws on the climate-friendly initiative that has been carried out at Grenoble university for six years. The first part of the paper presents the university actors, and their mission in the initiative. The second part identifies the actors' main motivations and barriers to a climate-friendly behaviour. The third part discusses potential responses provided by various social sciences in order to address the barriers and remove them as much as possible. Digging alternatively into economics, sociology, psychology, or marketing is obviously not sufficient to entice behaviour change. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach drawing simultaneously on those social sciences may bring better results.


Sharon Zukin
Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 13, 1987

Department of Sociology, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Brooklyn, New York 11210, and City University Graduate Center, New York, New York 10036

Gentrification, the conversion of socially marginal and working-class areas of the central city to middle-class residential use, reflects a movement that began in the 1960s, of private-market investment capital into downtown districts of major urban centers. Related to a shift in corporate investment and a corresponding expansion of the urban service economy, gentrification was seen more immediately in architectural restoration of deteriorating housing and the clustering of new cultural amenities in the urban core. Research on gentrification initially concentrated on documenting its extent, tracing it as a process of neighborhood change, and speculating on its consequences for reversing trends of suburbanization and inner-city decline. But a cumulation of 10 years of research findings suggests, instead, that it results in a geographical reshuffling, among neighborhoods and metropolitan areas, of professional, managerial, and technical employees who work in corporate, government, and business services. Having verified the extent of the phenomenon, empirical research on gentrification has reached a stalemate. Theoretically interesting problems concern the use of historic preservation to constitute a new urban middle class, gentrification and displacement, the economic rationality of the gentrifier’s behavior, and the economic restructuring of the central city in which gentrification plays a part. Broadening the analytic framework beyond demographic factors and neoclassical land use theory is problematic because of serious conceptual and methodological disagreements among neo-Marxist, neo-Weberian, and main-stream analysts. Yet efforts to understand gentrification benefit from the use of economic paradigms by considering such issues as production, consumption, and social reproduction of the urban middle class, as well as the factors that create a supply of gentrifiable housing and demand for it on the part of potential gentrifiers. An emerging synthesis in the field integrates economic and cultural analysis. The mutual validation and valorization of urban art and real estate markets indicates the importance of the cultural constitution of the higher social strata in an advanced service economy. It also underlines how space and time are used in the social and material constitution of an urban middle class.

Urban Revitalization: Best Practices to Prevent Residential Displacement Due to Gentrification

Elizabeth Austrom
2006 August 23

Executive Summary
This report synthesizes the causes of gentrification and the best practices to prevent displacement due to gentrification. Gentrification is defined as “the process by which higher income households displace lower income residents of a neighborhood, changing the essential character and flavour of that neighborhood” (Kennedy & Leonard, 2001).
The report is limited in scope to North American case studies and is limited as it:
• Presents a synthesis, not a critique by the author.
• Presents the findings, both positive and negative as presented by the research, without additional commentary from the author.
The report identifies and discusses five factors that are key in triggering gentrification. These include:
• Rapid job growth
• Housing market
• Preference for city amenities
• Traffic congestion and lengthening commutes
• Public sector policies and investment
An examination of various case studies in North America illustrates best practices in preventing displacement due to gentrification. These best practices identified include:
• Affordable housing strategies
• Economic development strategies
• Education of residents
• Having a community association to develop a unified vision and advocate for residents
• Controlling public assets
• Development of community cohesion
This report concludes that all of the identified best practices will aid in reducing displacement due to gentrification and makes two specific recommendations for the City of Calgary:
• It will be beneficial for the City of Calgary to further investigate affordable housing strategies that have worked in similar communities in North America and Europe. Future research in this area is highly recommended and may include a more in-depth review of the case studies presented in this report and additional case studies throughout the world. The research could be presented in a similar format to this document and conclude with recommendations for the City of Calgary based on the findings.
• Creation of an effective economic development strategy aimed at local disadvantaged Calgarians would be beneficial in preventing displacement due to gentrification. A locally based program, which is easily accessible to the demographic group in need and that addresses local residents, local concerns and the local economy will likely benefit residents of revitalizing communities as well as the growing number of homeless individuals and many other residents in Calgary. Future research may begin by studying the efforts in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Vijai Shanker Singh
Deep Narayan Pandey
Pradeep Chaudhry

RSPCB Occasional Paper No. 1/2010
Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board

In an era of global climate change and rapid urbanization, innovations on governance of urban systems are critically required as 50% people are now living in less than 3% of the earth’s urbanized terrestrial surface. Without careful production of knowledge, and large investments to link that knowledge to action, cities will be overwhelmed with environmental challenges. Both policy and science now emphasize the critical necessity of green areas within urban social-ecological systems. Here, we review the present status of urban forestry across the world, and draw lessons that can be applied for the governance of urban green spaces during the development of Jaipur as a world-class city in Rajasthan. We find wide variation both in coverage as well as per capita availability of green spaces. There are, however, some discernible trends emerging from cities renowned for their urban green spaces: approximately 20 to 30% coverage of the total geographical area, and 15 to 25 m2 urban green spaces per capita. World Health Organization suggests ensuring at least a minimum availability of 9 m2 green open space per city dweller. Finally, we provide strategies and lessons for connecting science to decision making aimed at creating multifunctional landscapes to enhance urban resilience and human well-being.


A 90-pages report prepared For:
California Energy Commission
Public Interest Energy Research Program

Prepared By:
Alex Lantsberg

California’s local governments are in a position to play a critical role in advancing the state’s policies for the reliability, affordability, and environmental sustainability of its electric energy supply. The regulatory and institutional landscape of federal and state energy policy makes local governments critical partners in promoting efficient resource use, market transformation, and location efficiency within the built environment. Because the PIER program is funded by a surcharge on electric utility ratepayer bills, this report is primarily concerned with electricity production and use. Although some of the recommended research agenda will also have implications on transportation energy use, transportation research is handled by other divisions and agencies mandated for such research. Local governments have strong reasons to promote what can be considered sustainable urban energy planning practices, and a number of local governments throughout California are already doing so. Among the main energy‐related concerns driving local action are: the need for price stability; the public health and safety consequences of energy unreliability; the centrality of affordable and reliable energy to economic development; strong public support for environmental initiatives; quality of life considerations; and environmental justice demands by disproportionately impacted communities.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Inner-urban sustainability: A case study of the South Brisbane peninsula

Daniel J. O'Hare

International Conference on Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, 19th -21st November, Brisbane, Australia.


The combination of elements and conditions in inner-urban areas may be argued to constitute established patterns of urban sustainability. This paper develops the argument through a case study of the South Brisbane peninsula, one of Queensland’s oldest and densest inner-urban areas. For the purposes of the paper, urban sustainability is defined in the context of urban design and development. This definition highlights the interrelationship between urban form and structure, and the social and economic life of the city. The paper argues that South Brisbane demonstrates significant characteristics of ‘triple bottom line’ environmental, social and economic sustainability in a subtropical inner-urban context. The main data source is a major study of Queensland’s cultural landscapes, supplemented by analysis and interpretation of current local government planning and community advocacy for sustainability. The area is strongly supportive of sustainability in terms of residential densities; mixed land uses; coherent urban structure, with strong local centres serviceable by public transport; mixed building types and ages; diversity in culture and socioeconomic status of the population; and social capital in the form of engaged and creative communities. The management of such diverse and dynamic inner-urban areas raises challenges for sustainable urban design and development practice.


Final Report of the Working Group on Urban Design for Sustainability to the
European Union Expert Group on the Urban Environment
23 January 2004

This is the interim report by the Working Group on Urban Design for Sustainability, reporting to the EU Expert Group of the Urban Environment. It should be read in conjunction with the reports of the Working Groups on Sustainable Urban Transport, Urban Management and Sustainable Construction. Together with the outputs of these other groups, its main objective is to deliver a set of recommendations to the European Commission to inform the Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment. It should also be read in conjunction the earlier EU Expert Group report on Sustainable Urban Land Use as there is a large degree of overlap between the two study areas and this report draws on the contents of that earlier report.The report identifies models and strategies of good practice in urban design to support sustainability in EU and EU-accession countries, and presents a review of best practice and recommendations for action at all levels. It explores the themes of re-designing and retro-fitting existing urban areas, designing for greenfield sites, and knitting the urban fabric together to achieve an integrated city-wide vision. These themes are explored within the broader context of achieving sustainable urban development in Europe. The report sets out the main issues to be faced on a Europe-wide scale in response to a common set of ‘mega trends’.
Read the report here

Sustainable Urban Form and Real Estate Markets

Colin Jones and Charlotte MacDonald
Heriot-Watt University
Paper presented to the annual European Real Estate Conference, Milan, 2-5 June, 2004.


A number of models of sustainable urban form have been promoted but the concept has not been subject to a fundamental review of its theoretical and empirical underpinnings. Sustainable urban form implies an inter-linkage of sound environmental, social and economic foundations. This paper initially focuses on the nature of the economic debate surrounding sustainable urban forms. It then considers the principal elements of urban form - land use patterns, position/ transport infrastructure, density, characteristics of the built environment. From this base it considers the underlying urban economic forces that shape these elements and their impact in turn on the urban economy. The role of transport infrastructure and spatial real estate markets is highlighted in the determination of urban form. The paper suggests an alternative formulation of the approach to urban sustainability that requires as a necessary condition a viable real estate sector with sustainable markets. As a consequence the paper argues the need for policy to understand and shape functional (sub) land use market/ catchment areas.

Our suburbs can be transformed into true communities

Such a pathway is fast becoming one of necessity, not choice.
April 26, 2010

About 80 per cent of the population - and an even greater proportion of children - live in the suburbs, which with a bit of effort can become communities in the true sense of the word, growing some of their food and doing more of their own construction and maintenance.
Of course, some social trends are obstacles to sustainability: family size has shrunk and its instability and mobility have increased. Houses are larger and the land around them smaller. Suburbs are often stripped of community skills, resources and networks. They are largely deserted during the day.

Are pedestrian malls the future or the relic of antiquated thinking?

Yonah Freemark, May 3rd, 2010 

Even as New York City makes big news for transforming parts of 34th Street into a pedestrian mall, Sacramento is pulling back from the concept. Four decades after first closing a section of downtown’s K Street to automobile traffic, the leaders of California’s capital have had enough. They want the cars back to bring new vitality to the city’s streets to save businesses threatened by extinction due to a lack of traffic.

How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road

To boost urban bicycling, figure out what women want

 From the October 2009 Scientific American Magazine 

By Linda Baker   

Getting people out of cars and onto bicycles, a much more sustainable form of transportation, has long vexed environmentally conscious city planners. Although bike lanes painted on streets and automobile-free “greenways” have increased ridership over the past few years, the share of people relying on bikes for transportation is still less than 2 percent, based on various studies. An emerging body of research suggests that a superior strategy to increase pedal pushing could be had by asking the perennial question: What do women want?

read more

Transit-oriented development: a failed promise?

Rodger Jones, Mar 12, 2010

Advocates of DART's aggressive rail expansion, which it calls the most ambitious in North America, argue the theory that development will cluster along rail lines because people want to live nearby, park their cars and commute by train. A core objective is to improve the air. Plus, supporters say, rail boosts property values and thereby helps economic vitality.
My observation, from my daily commutes on the Red Line, is that TOD has been slow to develop near DART stations. And I doubt anyone has data indicating whether nearby residents are indeed DART users.

Transit: How ‘Transit-Oriented Development’ Will Put More New Yorkers in Cars

by Brian Paul for The Gotham Gazette

In its effort to achieve a “greener and greater New York” while accommodating one million new residents, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC2030 embraced transit-oriented development” — the concentration of new housing in neighborhoods with good access to the city’s subways and buses. The plan contends that such development will encourage these new New Yorkers to use mass transit rather than cars, helping to improve air quality and transportation efficiency.
In last year’s PlaNYC progress update, the mayor’s office claimed “21 transit oriented rezonings” of neighborhoods such as the 125th St. Corridor in Harlem, Dutch Kills in Long Island City, St. George in Staten Island, and Coney Island as a major step towards sustainability.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

18th New Urbanist Congress: Best Ever?

By Ben Brown, 28 April 2010

What’s constitutes “best ever” depends on the takeaways, right? And when it comes to conferences, we could be talking takeaways that aren’t products of the event itself. Like maybe you got a job or connected with a soul mate. Let’s call that the upside of unintended consequences.
Atlanta, host city for the 18th Congress of the Congress for the New Urbanism, May 19-22, is going for something more intentional, a timely convergence: Right place. Right moment. Right people.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Urbanism, Smart Growth, & Andres Duany: A Critique From Suburbia

By Rick Harrison, 04.05.2010

In 1998 Hollywood introduced us to a new star when it released The Truman Show, shot on location at Seaside in Florida. No I’m not talking about Jim Carrey, Laura Linney or Ed Harris. I'm talking about none other than Andres Duany.
A few months ago, I stayed at the magnificent WaterColor Inn, which is in the neighborhood adjacent to Seaside. Watercolor is closer in feel to a suburban development's sense of space (more open), but WaterColor’s Town Center doesn't offer a large choice of restaurants, so Seaside serves as a destination. Other than a sign marking the border, one does not immediately feel as if Seaside and WaterColor are two very different developments.

skyline of Paris 1

Paris is one of the biggest cities of Europe. However its urban form is different from the main cities of the North-America. Like the common urban form of the European cities, most of the parts of the city are flat. There is a high rise CBD, but it is not as high as the one in American cities. these photos are interesting:

click on the images to see more details.

 image: old fashin'd/Flickr

image: mark siem/ Flickr

image: mark biddulph/Flickr

image: austrini/Flickr

image: austrini/Flickr

image: austrini/Flickr
 image: wunluv/Flick

image: Gill Rickson/Flickr

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New York skyline photos 1

The skyline of New York has always been eye catching and attractive.
image: wwarby/Flickr

image: Edward Sudentas/Flickr

image: mana.ustad 

Different Sprawl Patterns in the U.S. Cities

After The World War II, urban sprawl has been a major form of the development of the urban areas across the United States. But it is usually neglected that speed of urban sprawl in different American regions is various.
Traditionally, Los Angeles is an icon in the mind of the Americans which represents huge sprawl and auto dependency.
Although car use is an undeniable characteristic of L.A., an interesting report conducted in 2001 showed that L.A. and generally western cities have better status compared to Northeastern and southern cities in case of sprawl. This research entitled “Who Sprawls Most? How Growth Patterns Differ across the U.S.” was done by William Fulton, and his colleagues Rolf Pendall, Mai Nguyen, and Alicia Harrison for the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy.

Who Sprawls Most?

The research shows that during the 15 years of 1982 to 1997, there has been higher level of sprawl in the Northeastern and Southern cities compared to the Western ones. The Western settled more population and consumed less land during the mentioned years in comparison with Northeast, South and Midwest. In general, in 1997, the highest metropolitan population density has been related to West region with 4.85 persons per urbanized acre. At the same year Northeast region had a population density of 4.51 persons per urbanized acre.
These conclusions are based on calculating the negative or positive growth of population of the urban areas on the one hand, and the negative or positive growth of land consumption on the other hand. If the rate of population growth is faster than the rate of the land consumption, it means there is “densifying”. If the speed of land urbanization is faster than the population growth, then we will have “sprawling”.