Monday, February 28, 2011

City Comforts – How to Build an Urban Village – Book Review


“City Comforts – How to Build an Urban Village” by David Sucher is almost a CliffsNotes on the topic of urban planning.  While much of planning is about the big things or big projects, “this book shows examples of small things –city comforts– that make urban life pleasant: places where people can meet; methods to tame cars and to make buildings good neighbors; art that infuses personality into locations and makes them into places.”  To emphasis these ‘city comforts’ the book extensively uses photography to illustrate a design element, such as a photo of a curb as an example of the importance that curbs ramps play in allowing a parent to easily push a stroller on to the sidewalk.  It’s about how these little things make a great city.


more book reviews:

Léon Krier discusses The Architecture of Community

Think Globally, Act Regionally: GIS and Data Visualization for Social Science and Public Policy Research

Book Review: Self Sufficient City Envisioning the habitat of the future

In Markham, the dream of an urban village that never was

by Aaron Lynett

More than 10 years ago, a charismatic Cuban American architect embarked on a bold plan to transform a plot of Ontario farmland into a bustling urban utopia, a place where dwellers would swap cars for walking shoes and enjoy a sense of urbanity in what would have otherwise been just another suburb.
Or so that was Andres Duany’s plan.
Instead, cars today zip up and down the narrow avenues and not a pedestrian, charming coffee shop, nor restaurant is in sight. It is a Tuesday afternoon, and two beauty salons are inexplicably closed for the day, a real estate office is locked with snow piled high outside its door, not a single child is playing in Mews Park, and the convenience store sees only a trickling of residents. Here and there a York Regional Transit bus rolls along, but public transportation to, from  and within Cornell is far from comprehensive.
“The mindset was that people wanted a village feel, but what emerged was a sort of pseudo-village,” said Michael Spaziani, a Toronto architect who a decade ago helped create Cornell’s open-space master plan, adding that Cornell is so far nothing more than a “cuter form of sprawl.”
Cornell 8, by Sean_Marshall

Cornell 18, photo by Sean_Marshall
more about urban planning in Toronto:

Master in Urban Planning (MUP) in Harvard University

A two-year enrollment of roughly 60 students and a core, interdisciplinary faculty of scholars and practitioners generate an intimate, engaged educational atmosphere in which students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for leadership positions in their future professional careers. Graduates of the program work in local city planning departments, state and national agencies, private consulting firms, not-for-profit organizations, development companies, and other public and private institutions in the United States and internationally.
Core courses provide students with fundamental knowledge and technical skills used by urban planners to generate, evaluate, and implement ideas, plans, and projects. Studio offerings encourage students, individually or as members of collaborative teams, to think creatively and apply interdisciplinary, problem-solving methods to United States and international planning issues and projects. Elective courses satisfy faculty-supervised areas of concentration in housing and neighborhood development, real estate and urban development, transportation and infrastructure, urban design, or in an area specially crafted by a student and faculty member. Students may choose to write a thesis in their fourth and final term.
The MUP degree program also allows students to take full advantage of curricular offerings of the GSD's other degree programs, in urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture. Indeed, some students pursue the MUP degree concurrently with these other GSD degrees.
The MUP degree program also draws upon the significant resources of the rest of Harvard University. The program shares two professorships with the Kennedy School of Government and administers a joint degree program with the Law School. Students often cross-register in courses offered by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Kennedy School, the Business School, the Law School, and the School of Public Health. Students also cross-register in courses offered by the neighboring Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Harvard University, by sandcastlematt
more posts about urban planning programs:

The 10 Best Graduate Programs In Urban And Regional Planning

Urban Planning Master's Program in Rutgers University

Urban and Regional Planning Programs, Courses, Schools and Degrees in Ontario Universities

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Skyline photos of Detroit 1

Detroit Skyline, by ifmuth

Detroit Skyline, by sascha.franck

Detroit skyline, photo by larrysphatpage

Detroit skyline, photo by Bernt Rostad

Detroit Skyline, by romancingthedream

Detroit skyline, photo by yellowlinephoto

Detroit Skyline, photo by James Marvin Phelps

Detroit skyline, by Andrea_44
more skyline photos of the American cities:

Skyline photos of Boston 1

New York skyline photos 1

The Study of Urban Space: How Cities Shape Our Lives

by Michael Johnson

Urban space has been studied by a range of academic disciplines from geography to architectural history. This article explores some lesser known approaches to the study of the built environment.
The French philosopher Henri Lefebvre has dealt with the concept of space and its role as a stage for social interaction. Lefebvre’s The Production of Space was first published in French in 1974 and translated into English by Donald Nicholson-Smith in 1991.
Lefebvre introduced the concept of social space, which he understood as being at once physical and conceptual. Social space is the realm in which the ‘cultural life of society’ is enacted, but it is not a ‘form or container of a virtually neutral kind, designed simply to receive whatever is poured into it.’ Instead, space is ‘secreted’ by society: it is produced by patterns of social interaction, but also imposes itself on its users and thus shapes society. Space encourages and discourages certain forms of interaction and gives form to social structures and ideologies. It thus perpetuates the power of dominant groups. Lefebvre’s concern with space bears comparison with Gramsci’s theory of hegemony.


Detroit, Michigan, photo by ifmuth

more posts about urban planning theories:

Concepts on Fractal Urban Morphology

by Myriam Mahiques

In 1970, challenging the classic physics, some few scientists from United States and Europe began to look for an alternative route through the disorder: it was the beginning of the theory of the chaos. Mathematical, physical, physiologists, economists, chemical, biologists, tried to look for connections among different types of irregularities; they meditated that although there are phenomena that can be lineally described, -that is to say that the result of an action is proportional to its cause-, most of the phenomena in the nature is non-lineal, "uncontrollable", as the climate, the turbulences, earthquakes, the traffic in a great city, fluctuations in the bag, the physics of the human body, etc. The search for an explanation to all complex phenomena using mathematical models, originated the Chaos Theory.
The urban research was then related directly and formally with the natural world - the forms of the clouds, the arterial bifurcations, the lung texture, the groupings of stars, etc. All these shapes were described as opposite to the Euclidan ones, they were defined as folded, fractured. The word to define this conditions is “fractal” as opposed to “Euclidian”. Fractal is the geometry of nature; the geometric representation of the Chaos theory.


more computer-related posts:

IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform

Architectural Drawings for the Aec Industry

Architectural Design - Modern Architectural Design Softwares

CONZENIAN URBAN MORPHOLOGY AND URBAN LANDSCAPES

Jeremy W. R. Whitehand

Urban morphology began to take shape at the end of the nineteenth century as a field of study concerned with the urban landscape. Its origins were largely within central European geography. M.R.G. Conzen was much influenced by pioneers in the field, such as Otto Schlüter, and in the post-war period he authored publications that gave rise to a Conzenian school, first within anglophone geography and eventually more widely. Morphogenetic method, conceptualization of historical development, termi
nological precision and cartographic representation were characteristic of his work. During the last quarter of the twentieth century this was increasingly recognized as important for an appreciation of the development and significance of the historical grain of urban landscapes. Conzenian thinking has in recent years begun to influence urban landscape management and has been one of the principal stimuli in the origin and growth of an international, inter-disciplinary group of urban morphologists, the International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF).


Rothenberg, Germany, photo by Mikey G Ottawa
Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, by morisius cosmonaut
Frankfurt, Germany, by Jay[N]


more posts about the urban form of German cities:

German geographical urban morphology in an international and interdisciplinary framework

Norman Foster promotes the urban sustainability of Duisburg by regeneration masterplan

Suburbanisation and urban sprawl in Leipzig (Germany)


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Target in Downtown Milwaukee

By Jeramey Jannene

With the announcement that Target is opening a CityTarget store on State Street in Chicago’s The Loop Neighborhood, the idea of a downtown Milwaukee Target has been generating a considerable amount of buzz in the past few weeks. Unfortunately for those wishing to shop at a downtown Target, none of that buzz has come from Target. Assuming Target was interested though, what location and store format would best match the desires of Target-loving shoppers with the needs of the city to continue to develop a healthy urban core in and around downtown? Let’s explore.
First, it’s important to examine what Target typically does in the Milwaukee area, as this should present a good indication of what they would likely do downtown if there were no restrictions.  The three Target’s nearest to downtown are on Miller Park Way, South 27th Street, and Chase Avenue. None are urban in form, in their locations they’re the standard suburban big box retail. The parking lots are the same size of the stores themselves, clearly not something fit for downtown.


Downtown Milwaukee, by compujeramey
Downtown Milwaukee, photo by reillyandrew
more about urban planning and transportation in Milwaukee:

The relationship of historic city form and contemporary greenway implementation: a comparison of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA) and Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)

What is a neighborhood? Anthony Dows' answer

Rail stops that make sense

Cities Can Take A Stand on Good Urban Design Without Killing Economic Development!

If You Don't Stand for Something You'll Fall For Anything.  Or something like that.  That quasi-quote reminds me of our conversation about the collision course between Economic Development and New Urbanist Ideals.  Remember?  We discussed whether cities and neighborhoods should take more of a stand to ensure that the development of scarce land in emerging neighborhoods followed important urban design and economic development principles.
Local governments and neighborhoods need to draw a line in the sand and demand good urban design, sustainable, long-term site planning and positive economic development outcomes.  Taking all three of these things into account is not only good for the city but it can be good for business.   The key is that cities and neighborhoods have to be proactive in knowing what they want and signaling to the business community what they want, so that they can actively fight for it when things occur.
If cities and neighborhoods don't take stands, the neighborhoods with the least resources will be limited to developments (and retailers) that don't innovate on their business models, and doom those neighborhoods to less than ideal outcomes.  For example, you'll never see a new, front-of-store, surface-parked grocery store in a tony part of the District, for example, Georgetown.  The neighbors would have a fit and shut it down.


posts about New Urbanism:

New Urbanism: A Salve or Bane to Urban Wounds?

The Roots and Origins of New Urbanism

Survey: New Urbanist Community Results in More Walking, Interaction

Léon Krier discusses The Architecture of Community

By Scott Carlson


It's helpful to understand that Léon Krier is an architectural traditionalist before starting his book, The Architecture of Community (Island Press), or you might not get what his fuss is about. He begins with a rather provocative thought experiment: "If, one day, for some mysterious reason, all the buildings, settlements, suburbs, and structures built after 1945--especially those commonly called 'modern'--vanished from the face of the earth, would we mourn their loss?"
Well, yes, it seems we would. Just think of the great buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright, and so on. But Krier's thought experiment doesn't end there: What if, instead, all of the pre-modern buildings--the ones we consider historic--disappeared? Would we weep more for them?
And there begins the rather provocative arguments that Krier lays out in Community. Krier contends that modernism, whatever its virtues in small scale, has been nothing but a disaster in larger scales--a force that has managed to sterilize cities aesthetically, ruin years of expertise in building trades, and lead planners and developers to compose cities in unsustainable ways. Krier punctuates his arguments with his illustrations, which are sometimes more like architectural editorial cartoons, presenting modern architecture in grotesque exaggeration. (If you're more of a picture-book kind of person, you might pick up Drawing for Architecture [The MIT Press], Krier's recently released collection of these illustrations, sans essays.) 


Leon Krier, by Daquella manera

more about architecture:

How many qualified Chinese landscape architects are there? – and how many does China need?

City Beautiful movement

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Spatial Analysis of Future Macro-Urban Form, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Transport Energy Outcomes for Melbourne

by Gavin Alford and Jeremy Whiteman

The implications of climate change and peak oil present major challenges for policy makers.These challenges will have an impact on transport costs, mode choice, volume of travel made and the attractiveness of using different transport technologies. They are also likely to influence the structure of our cities and how they function in the future. An important area of debate centres on the capacity of urban form (and investment in infrastructure) to influence mode choice, transport energy consumption and resultant greenhouse gas emissions. Many advocates in Australia and elsewhere have promoted the need to invest more in public transport as the means to positively influence the level of greenhouse gas emitted and transport energy consumed. In addition, arguments for higher urban densities, particularly at activity centres with good accessibility, have been based, in part, on its potential to increase
public transpot ridership and lower negative environmental externalities such as greenhouse gas emissions.
The Victorian Government’s Department of Transport has been undertaking a broad program of work investigating the relationship between urban form, greenhouse gas emissions and transport energy outcomes. The work aims to improve the Department’s understanding of the relationship between the structure of the city and how this influences transport energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. From this may be developed a better understanding of the likely effects that changes in the energy sector will have on transport (including the impact of climate change).
One part of this work, detailed below, relates to the analysis of the potential relative impact of different transport infrastructure options, coupled with different land use development scenarios, on greenhouse gas emissions and transport energy outcomes. It seeks to inform our understanding of the long-term potential for different types of land use to positively influence emissions and energy outcomes if integrated with compatible transport infrastructure and service provision. Moreover, it will demonstrate how the use of analytical tools that highlight potential impacts of transport investments and land-use changes at the small spatial scale can help us better understand the implications for urban structure. The implications of climate change and peak oil present major challenges for policy makers. These challenges will have an impact on transport costs, mode choice, volume of travel made and the attractiveness of using different transport technologies. They are also likely to influence the structure of our cities and how they function in the future.
An important area of debate centres on the capacity of urban form (and investment in infrastructure) to influence mode choice, transport energy consumption and resultant greenhouse gas emissions. Many advocates in Australia and elsewhere have promoted the need to invest more in public transport as the means to positively influence the level of greenhouse gas emitted and transport energy consumed. In addition, arguments for higher urban densities, particularly at activity centres with good accessibility, have been based, in part, on its potential to increase public transport ridership and lower negative environmental externalities such as greenhouse gas emissions.
The Victorian Government’s Department of Transport has been undertaking a broad program of work investigating the relationship between urban form, greenhouse gas emissions and transport energy outcomes. The work aims to improve the Department’s understanding of the relationship between the structure of the city and how this influences transport energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. From this may be developed a better understanding of the likely effects that changes in the energy sector will have on transport (including the impact of climate change).
One part of this work, detailed below, relates to the analysis of the potential relative impact of different transport infrastructure options, coupled with different land use development scenarios, on greenhouse gas emissions and transport energy outcomes. It seeks to inform our understanding of the long-term potential for different types of land use to positively influence emissions and energy outcomes if integrated with compatible transport infrastructure and service provision. Moreover, it will demonstrate how the use of analytical tools that highlight potential impacts of transport investments and land-use changes at the small spatial scale can help us better understand the implications for urban structure.


more about urban environment:

Finland’s New Sustainable Underground City

Low Carbon Housing for `Young Cities`: Experiences from Hashtgerd New Town, Iran

Pedestrianisation promotes road safety and clean air

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Flat City; a space syntax derived urban movement network model

by Stephen Read

A model of urban movement dynamics is presented, based on a system of overlaid movement infrastructural networks distinguished by movement scale. This model accounts simply for the space syntax `intelligibility' scattergram, proposing that it is a systematic product of the interaction between two movement centrality efects in two conceptually and functionally separable infrastructural networks. The signifcance of this model consists in the ¯rst place in the fact that it o®ers a simple way of thinking the relation between the two diferent but related levels of spatial integration. It is argued that this relation supports situated intelligibility on the one hand and on the other refers to the emergence of particular place conditions. It is argued that it offers an easily conceivable model to replace the objectivist centre-periphery model, which is at present the default but inadequate model for beginning to think the form of the contemporary city. The extendibility of the idea (through the addition of further infrastructural network layers representing higher scales of mobility and connectivity) also begins to address a fundamental edge problem in the application of conventional space syntax to the metropolitan spatial problematic. It is believed that the model can be adjusted to model other types of city and that in its most general formulation that it may have a generic relevance to the way that urban form may be understood in the way it a®ords situated environmental action, perception and intelligibility.


more Space Syntax:

A GIS-based Traffic Control Strategy Planning at Urban Intersections

Space Syntax: An Innovative Pedestrian Volume Modeling Tool for Pedestrian Safety

Solutions for Visibility Accessibility and Signage Problems via Layered Graphs

Making an Urban Oasis The Use of Space Syntax in Assessing Dhanmondi Lake Revitalization Project in Dhaka, Bangladesh

by Nasreen Hossain, Ishtiaque Zahir, and Poddar Apurba

Within a process of rapid urbanization, Dhaka city is faced with the constant threat of encroachment of land and water bodies like lakes, canals and rivers by the public and private sectors to accommodate housing and commercial facilities to the growing population. This phenomenon is changing the residential landscape of the city into a mixed land-use pattern. Dhanmondi, a high class planned residential area lying in the heart of the city is an extreme example of such an urban sprawl. Here, the uncontrolled and unauthorized growth of different urban amenities such as retail centres, hospitals, clinics, schools and other commercial activities are rapidly diminishing the open spaces which also served as the social and cultural spaces by the lake side green plateau passing throughout the entire neighborhood.
To cope with this extreme urban situation, Dhaka City Corporation commissioned a local architectural practice, to revitalize the lake and the adjacent area to enhance the social, economic, cultural and environmental sustainability of this residential neighborhood. The idea was also to invite people from other parts of the city so that the lake can be protected from encroachment by creating a buffer zone in between the allotted residential plots and the lake. In reality, the project appears to be a successful model by restoring the lake and environment of the neighborhood. It is considered as a paradigmatic strategic urban project in a developing city like Dhaka. The scheme significantly restores and manages an urban water front development and incorporates visionary design strategies to avoid encroachment by the city.
By using ‘Space Syntax’ techniques, this research allows us to investigate the actual spatial characteristics of the lake side development project. The study will enable us to understand the accessibility and locational importance of Dhanmondi and the lake from local and global perspective of Dhaka. The research findings suggest that, an increased connectivity throughout the spaces in the lake side development scheme, has successfully integrated the segregated water body and the residential neighborhood into a continuous whole. The spatial intelligence of the design process lies, in the creation of a high level of social and spatial interface among people from different parts of the city.


more articles about Space Syntax:

Planning a Deep Island: introducing Space Syntax to an urban planning process for Phuket, Thailand

New Developments in Space Syntax Software

Modeling street connectivity, pedestrian movement and land-use according to standard GIS street network representations: A Comparative Study

The Role of Space Syntax in Identifying the Relationship Between Space and Crime

by Linda Nubani and Jean Wineman

Criminologists, planners, and architects are still unable to predict criminals' preferences for committing an o®ense in one location over another. Criminologists associate crime with socio-demographic factors such as income, racial composition, youth concentration and level of education. Architects and planners on the other hand, relate crime to environmental design factors such as lighting, target hardening, or orientation of entrances, just to name a few. Recently, some work using space syntax has demonstrated statistical relationships between properties of spatial layouts and the occurrence of certain types of crimes. In this study, Space Syntax measures of accessibility are used to examine geographical patterns of four types of o®ense behavior: breaking and entering, larceny, vehicle theft and robbery. Crime data, at an address level with the exact date and time, is based on a 12 month period for the city of Ypsilanti Michigan (USA). After mapping crime locations using GIS, an axial map was prepared using Spatialist, a program developed by Peponis and Wineman. Syntax measures of street accessibility and visibility characteristics were examined in relationship to instances of criminal behavior, controlling for such factors as neighborhood socio-economic status. This paper concludes by de¯ning a set of measures that identify street segment characteristics that a®ect the incidence of crime.


more articles about Space Syntax:

WALKABILITY, MOVEMENT AND SAFETY FOR THE CITY OF BERKELEY

Evaluated Model of Pedestrian Movement Based on Space Syntax, Performance Measures and Artificial Neural Nets

Space Syntax: An Innovative Pedestrian Volume Modeling Tool for Pedestrian Safety

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finland’s New Sustainable Underground City


In the beautiful city of Helsinki, Finland, there lies a hidden secret that is buried beneath the city. In order to become more sustainable, the city has decided to go underground to solve some of its big problems in an eco-friendly way.

The City Plan

The bedrock under Finland’s capital city accommodates a vast network of more than 400 tunnels and underground structures. These include everything from utility, water and metro tunnels, to underground shopping malls, swimming pools, parking and storage facilities, leisure complexes and of course Helsinki’s famous Temppeliaukio Church.


more about urban environment:

Neighbourhood planning and sustainability: mutually exclusive?

Low Carbon Housing for `Young Cities`: Experiences from Hashtgerd New Town, Iran

Urban Planning for Tehran, By Using Environmental Modeling and GIS/RS

Neighbourhood planning and sustainability: mutually exclusive?


Popular opinion amongst planners and environmentalists is that neighbourhood planning and climate change don’t go together. Taking my usual outlook on things I would agree. But is that necessarily true and what does it mean for the rest of the principles behind localism and planning? In this post I look at choices and decision-making in the context of localism and sustainability. I think there is a way to nudge people into making the best decision for themselves and the planet.

Localism isn’t just about devolving decision-making. It’s about the idea that people need and want to be involved in providing services and being active in their community.  Thanks to a nef paper on localism (reference below), I’ve been able to broaden my thinking about what this means for people and the decisions they can make about the places they live in.


read more posts about urban sustainablility:

Urban Form and Sustainability of a Hot Humid City of Kuala Lumpur

The Human Benefits of Green Building

Urbanization and Environmental Sustainability

Sydney Cycle Strategy: Building a Bicycle Friendly City


Many developing cities are implementing policies to increase the appeal of cycling and reduce the dependence on cars for transportation. Sydney is one such city, and is actively developing a strategy to increase the use of alternative, sustainable modes of eco-friendly transportation.
It is shocking that in certain parts of Australia the transport sector is responsible for approximately 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. The Sustainable Sydney Strategy 2030 aims to address these environmental issues through a number of avenues, one of which is the City of Sydney Cycle Strategy and Action Plan 2007-2017. It is part of the City’s commitment to achieving a sustainable future by making riding a bike an attractive and efficient choice of transport.


Bourke Road cycleway, photo by Newtown grafitti
more about planning in Australia:

Evaluating urban transport and land use policies through the use of an accessibility modelling framework

Affordable Housing - theoretical utopia or achievable reality

Skyline photos of Sydney, Australia 1

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Urban Transport in Bangalore - The Worsening Crisis


Efficient and reliable transportation systems are crucial for a city to sustain high growth rates. All services and manufacturing industries require people movers to bring and take workers and connect production facilities to the logistics chain. Unfortunately, growth, a direct result of improved economic conditions, brings with it several negatives along with its many benefits, and Bangalore is perhaps one of the prime candidate cities to demonstrate the adverse effects of growth. Very high levels of traffic congestion, pollution and safety hazards experienced in the 1970s and ‘80s in Kolkata have demonstrated the dangers of un-restructured public sector combined with un-regulated private providers for public transport services.
Priority lanes for buses on streets can reduce passenger cars & private modes of travel to a great extent. Limiting or stifling growth is neither avoidable nor necessary and to facilitate some degree of orderly city development, the Bangalore Development Authority, or BDA, the nodal planning agency had in late 2007, prepared a Comprehensive Development Plan, titled CDP-2015 that covers an extremely large area, almost the whole of Bangalore district. This extremely large coverage of land areas in the latest CDP is the result of an earlier such attempt by BDA when the previous CDP had to be drastically revised as the population anticipated for 1991 had been reached ten years earlier, by 1981 itself. It is relevant here to emphasize that the CDP/s are mostly zoning documents and do little to address congestion, particularly street congestion levels within the city as they have no bearing on transport matters nor do they provide recommendations for transport development in the newly added areas or the existing city areas. Thus, the city has not formalized a comprehensive urban transport strategy linked to an urban development strategy.


photo by rAmmoRRison


more about India:

Urban Transport Sector in Developing Countries

Urbanization, Urban India and Metropolitan Cities in India

TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE URBAN TRANSPORT SYSTEM: PLANNING FOR NON-MOTORIZED VEHICLES IN CITIES

Urban Transport Sector in Developing Countries


There are critical differences in the urban transport problems that the cities in the developing countries face as compared to the industrialized countries. Urban transport systems of cities in the developing countries are characterized by premature congestion and deteriorating environmental standards and security c0nditi0ns. The mega cities of developing countries face road congestion at much lower levels of car ownership. Although most developing countries have less than 100 cars per thousand people as compared to 400 or more in the industrialized world but the relationship between income growth and car ownership is similar. Congestion in mega cities of developing counties is due to the concentration of population and income in the cities. In many African and Asian cities the capital city is more than 40 times as large as the second city. The primacy index for Malaysia was 0.29 in 2000 and a similar situation is prevalent in many other cities of Asia. Vehicle ownership and use is growing even faster than the population, with ownership growth rates of 15–20% per year not uncommon in developing countries. However, growth of road infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with the vehicle growth. 
The most important feature of urban transport systems in developing countries is the absence of an efficient public transport system. Unlike the rich industrialize countries which are able to afford rail based mass transit systems; public transport is developing countries are mostly dependent on buses. Though buses are the main mechanized public transport mode, carrying 6.5 trillion (6.5 × 1012) passenger-km per year in 3 million vehicles, of which over 2 million operate in cities, the traditional local monopoly bus operators, whether private or publicly owned, have now mostly collapsed. (Gwilliam 2003)


photo by jeevs
New Delhi Metro, photo by Wen-Yan King

more about urban transportation:

The relationship of historic city form and contemporary greenway implementation: a comparison of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA) and Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)

THE FUTURE OF MOBILITY IN CITIES: CHALLENGES FOR URBAN MODELLING

The Maddening Wrongness of TTI’s Annual Urban Mobility Rankings

Chicago Takes a Census Shellacking


The Census results are out for Illinois, and it's bad news for the city of Chicago, whose population plunged by over 200,000 people to 2,695,598, its lowest population since before 1920.  This fell far short of what would have been predicted given the 2009 estimate of 2,851,268. It's a huge negative surprise of over 150,000, though perhaps one that should have been anticipated given the unexpectedly weak numbers for the state as a whole that were released in December.
The American Community Survey data from last year show a clear improvement in items like college degree attainment (up 7.6 percentage points since the 2000 Census) and median household income (up 18%, which trailed the nation slightly, but beat Cook County and the state).  These data points show the very real improvements that have swept over a portion of the city, the visible gentrification that envelops the greater core area has now been shown to have been unable to power overall population growth, or to restrain the rampant exurbanization in the region.


Suburban Chicago, photo by Philabeemer


more about Chicago:

City Beautiful movement

The Maddening Wrongness of TTI’s Annual Urban Mobility Rankings

Top 20 Urban Planning Successes of All Time

Monday, February 21, 2011

Analyzing the Variation of Building Density Using High Spatial Resolution Satellite Images: the Example of Shanghai City

by Xian-Zhang Pan , Qi-Guo Zhao, Jie Chen, Yin Liang and Bo Sun

Building density is an important issue in urban planning and land management. In the article, building coverage ratio (BCR) and floor area ratio (FAR) values extracted from high resolution satellite images were used to indicate buildings’ stretching on the surface and growth along the third dimension within areas of interest in Shanghai City, P.R. China. The results show that the variation of FAR is higher than that of BCR in the inner circle, and that the newer commercial centers have higher FAR and lower BCR values, while the traditional commercial areas have higher FAR and BCR ratios. By comparing different residential areas, it was found that the historical “Shikumen” areas and the old residential areas built before 1980s have higher BCR and lower FAR, while the new residential areas have higher FAR and lower BCR, except for the villa areas. These results suggest that both older building areas and villa areas use land resources in an inefficient way, and therefore better planning and management of urban land are needed for those fast economic growing regions.


Shanghai, China, photo by Lady_K

more about urban Shanghai:

A GIS-based gradient analysis of urban landscape pattern of Shanghai metropolitan area, China

Urban Design After Oil

China's Urban Low Carbon Future in Shanghai

Remote Sensing and Urban Growth Models – Demands and Perspectives

by Martin Herold, Gunter Menz and Keith C. Clarke

Urban growth and land use change models are an important and innovative tool that support planning and development of sustainable urban areas. The data requirements for parameterization, calibration and validation of urban models are intense due to the complexity of the models and their objectives. In this study several urban land use change models are evaluated and their demands on spatial data sets are compared. These needs are discussed and evaluated based on the use of remotely-sensed high spatial and temporal resolution data. The results show especially the need for accurate urban land use information due to the Level II and III of the USGS/Anderson land cover/use classification scheme. An appropriate methodology for urban land use differentiation using high resolution remotely sensed data is presented and evaluated in test sites in the southern California city of Santa Barbara, USA. The approach is based on irregularly-shaped regions of homogenous urban land use as the defined mapping units. Within these regions, spatial and fractal metrics were applied to describe the land cover structure, to acquire urban land use information and to describe socioeconomic features.
The application of one of the evaluated urban growth models is presented, based on a seventy-year time series of air photos. The urban growth process, as well as future predictions of land use change are well represented in the model based upon the concept of cellular automata and demonstrate the potential of a combined remote sensing and modeling approach.


more about remote sensing:

REMOTE SENSING IMAGE INTERPRETATION STUDY SERVING URBAN PLANNING BASED ON GIS

Think Globally, Act Regionally: GIS and Data Visualization for Social Science and Public Policy Research

APPLICATION OF REMOTE SENSING AND GIS TECHNIQUE FOR EFFICIENT URBAN PLANNING IN INDIA

LINKING REMOTE SENSING AND DEMOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS IN URBANISED AREAS

by Klaus Steinnocher, Jürgen Weichselbaum and Mario Köstl

During the last decades urban areas have experienced an enormous growth in terms of human population and physical size. Applying remote sensing techniques has become a standard approach for monitoring the physical growth of urban areas. However, when it comes to social studies statistical data are used for analysis in a first line. Only a few studies have been undertaken that try to combine these complementary data sources. In this paper we will show how land cover information from remote sensing can be combined with population data in order to derive refined information products.
Demographic data is usually derived from census and represented in administrative units such as districts or municipalities. Spatial analysis on a finer level is not possible due to this restriction. Introducing remote sensing can partially overcome this problem by indicating where people actually live within the administrative units. The total population of one unit can then be allocated to the built-up areas within the unit leading to a spatial refinement of the statistical data.
The paper will present a number of examples for spatial disaggregation of population data based on remote sensing derived information on urbanised areas – ranging from binary settlement masks to housing densities – for regional and European applications. A special focus will be set on to the assessment of accuracies of the presented method. Detailed demographic data available for selected regions will be used as reference for the spatial disaggregation results. These comparisons show that the approach is reliable and the quality of the final information products can be controlled via the level of detail of the remote sensing analysis.


more about Germany and Austria:

German geographical urban morphology in an international and interdisciplinary framework

Norman Foster promotes the urban sustainability of Duisburg by regeneration masterplan

Skyline photos of Vienna, Austria 1

UN-Habitat 2010 Award for Vienna

Sunday, February 20, 2011

THE URBAN SPRAWL: A PLANETARY GROWTH PROCESS? AN OVERVIEW OF USA, MEXICO AND SPAIN

by Blanca Arellano and Josep Roca

It is a fact that the urban sprawl, known as the process of gradual spread out of urbanization has become a worldwide phenomenon. The growing consumption of land, as a result of the extension of highway networks, open up vast space of territory, which seems to have become an unstoppable cancer, and affects virtually all the contemporary metropolis.
The expansion of the cities had its origin in the model of suburban life, which began with the generalized use of the automobile. A lifestyle based on the "american dream‖, one single family-home, one (or more) car (s)." But it has been since late 70’s of the last century, when it has had a more dramatic development, as a consequence of the crisis of metropolitan areas linked to what, it is called Post-Fordism economy and some authors have characterized as counter-urbanization (Berry) desurbanization (Berg), edge-cities (Garreau) metapolis (Asher) or diffuse city (Indovina). Despite the diversity of urban development, the increasing consumption of land, the excessive use of land as a scarce resource, it is a constant in the urbanization process in the early twenty-first century.
The object of our contribution is to make an overwiew about urban sprawl in USA, Mexico and Spain. The use of technologies related to satellite imagery (remote sensing) allow the characterization of the phenomenon of consumption, pathological or not, of land. And this analysis suggests some hypothesis about the plurality of the contemporary urbanization processes. Roughly two models stand out: On one hand, urban development based on low densities, where the unsustainable consumption of land is presented as a paradigm of economic development and, on the other hand, an urban development with a compact city model, where recycling land, and not just increasing the consumption of land, is one of the key objectives of urban policies. The work presented here, suggests that in the second model seems to appear a change in the paradigm towards a more efficient and sustainable use of the territory.


Las Palmas in Spain, photo by WindwalkerNld
Las Palmas in Spain, photo by WindwalkerNld
more about Spain:

Skyline photos of Madrid 2

Routes of Gothic

Toward Low Carbon Cities: Madrid and London

Urbanization, Urban India and Metropolitan Cities in India


The present book is an attempt to study the process of urban growth, urban development constraints, urban policies and strategies to produce an integrated rural-urban model of urban development in India. It is a collection of essays by the author, Dr. V. Nath, a geographer by training, a practicising development economist, policy maker and analyst, who had written these essays over a period of about 45 years during his diverse job and life experiences in India and abroad. The essays provide the reader a comprehensive understanding of the urban development trends, processes, problems, scenarios and strategies for a balanced rural-urban growth. Since these essays are written by an expert, they provide an added value of giving an incisive and critical account of 50 years of urban development and metropolitan planning in India.
The book is divided into two sections. The first section deals with urban development and urban process in India. It contains 7 chapters (chapters 1-7). In this section the author has discussed the principle processes of urban development, looked into newer concepts of urban growth and suggested new approaches like an integrated growth concept of rural and urban areas with corridor development approach and integrated urban fringe development to achieve a balanced state of urban development in Indian cities. 


Paharganj, Delhi, India, photo by Molesworth II

Mumbai, India, photo by Par Fifty


more about urban India:

How many slum-dwellers live in the world?

Sustainable Development Ends Suburban Sprawl

Delhi’s Walkways Hazardous to Your Health, Study Finds