CNU

Syndicate content
The Congress for the New Urbanism promotes walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development as an environmentally, socially, and economically responsible solution to the challenges of our built environment.
Updated: 6 min 23 sec ago

Two Cheers For Negative Thinking

Thu, 2014-04-17 11:41

I recently read an article suggesting that Cleveland's problems were in part due to "negative thinking"- some fuzzy "vibe of negativity" that discourages people from moving to Cleveland.  I am skeptical of this claim for two reasons.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Salon Interviews CNU Board Member John Massengale

Sun, 2014-04-13 22:12

Salon praises Massengale and Victor Dover's  “Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns.” The link is  http://www.salon.com/2014/04/13/how_cars_conquered_the_american_city_and_how_we_can_win_it_back/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

 

Categories: New Urbanism

Freeway Down! Seoul Removing 16th Freeway

Mon, 2014-04-07 21:32

Seoul, South Korea is leading the charge in urban freeway removal, having torn out 15 freeways in the past 12 years. This year, the city will add a sixteenth by removing the Ahyeon Overpass, a 1 km (.6 mile) long roadway constructed in 1968 - the city's first. Today, the overpass is old and ugly, eating up about $25 million annually in maintenance alone.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Suburbia Not Always Cheaper

Fri, 2014-04-04 10:28

A story from a coworker of mine: Mr. X (the coworker) and his family move from Queens to Long Island to take advantage of the allegedly better public schools.  As a  result, they are able to save money by pulling their children out of Catholic school.  Were they better off?  Apparently not.  Mr. X explains that what they saved in tuition was more than balanced over time by the cost of having to have a car for every adult, and later for every teenager.

Categories: New Urbanism

Auto-Oriented Transit in Israel

Thu, 2014-04-03 00:30

Tonight I saw lawyer Kevin Dwarka speak on smart growth in Israel, focusing on the weaknesses of Israel's railway system.  Although Israel's major cities have rail service, that nation's major rail stations are a classic example of auto-oriented transit: stations surrounded by huge parkiing lots instead of housing and shopping.  

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

The Irrefutability of Harriet Tregoning

Tue, 2014-03-11 13:39
2013-11-1-harriet-tregoning_1.1.jpg

Last month, Washington, DC Planning Director Harriet Tregoning announced that she'd be leaving her position after 6 years to become the director of HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, the position vacated by Shelley Poticha last year. This is great news for those of us engaged in reforming HUD policies, like outdated limits on retail/office in mixed-use developments.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

The "Cheap Cars" Myth

Thu, 2014-03-06 15:47

One sprawl lobby argument I have occasionally is heard: "So what if people have to drive to reach jobs in sprawling areas? Used cars are so cheap that even poor people can afford them!"

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Chicago’s Bus Makeover

Thu, 2014-03-06 02:00
transit2_.jpg

Author Chiara Montecchi is a Master’s student in the School of Public Service at DePaul University, in Chicago, Illinois. She is currently employed as a Fundraiser in DePaul’s Office of Advancement.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Always Room For More

Mon, 2014-03-03 14:38

One common argument against infill: "but there isn't room for any more people!"  (or, alternatively, "we can't have more people without turning into a skyscraper monoculture!"

Manhattan is far from a skyscraper monoculture- even in midtown there are lots of 2-6 story buildings of all types.  And yet our housing density is 70,000 people per square mile- more than four times that of San Francisco, more than seven times that of Washington.

In other words, at Manhattan densities San Francisco could accommodate more than 3 million people. 

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Religion and urbanism

Mon, 2014-02-24 13:51

(Cross-posted, with some additions, from my personal blog). 

 

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Presidential heroes of urbanism

Mon, 2014-02-17 23:18

Since the weekend that just ended was Presidents' weekend, I thought now would be a good time to acknowledge some especially pro-urban Presidents.  I don't plan to focus on their actual policies (a complicated topic, and one not very relevant to most pre-New Deal presidencies) but on their post-White House personal lives.  The majority of Presidents have retired to resorts, estate-home suburbia, or (in the 18th and 19th century) country plantations.  

However, I would like to honor a few exceptions to this rule:

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Dingbats and "Scarchitecture"

Wed, 2014-02-12 17:29
2090001956_30150b14b2.jpg

The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design is in the throes of Kickstarting a book they're calling Dingbat 2.0. For those who don't know, the dingbat is a housing type that proliferated in the Western U.S. in the 50s and 60s, driven primarily by increased parking requirements. As you can see at right, the dingbat basically paves over the front lawn, thrusting the house or apartments up on stilts and creating a parking garage at ground level.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Steps vs. The Elderly

Wed, 2014-02-12 01:44

I am currently reading White Flight/Black Flight by Rachael Woldoff of West Virginia University.  The book discusses a neighborhood at the edge of a northern city (Philadelphia, I suspect) which was overwhelmingly Jewish as late as 1990, and became black in the 1990s.  One area of interest to new urbanists is its discussion of white "stayers" - elderly people who are not at all displeased with integration.  What drives them out is not crime or social disorder, but steps.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Some Cities Have More Children Than Their Suburbs

Fri, 2014-02-07 17:51

Today, I read a blog post by Joel Kotkin asserting, for the umpteeth time, that famlies with children prefer suburbs.  But at the bottom of the post is a chart comparing the child population (as a percentage of total population) for dozens of cities and their suburbs.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Looking at another Republican Governor's Transit Record

Thu, 2014-02-06 12:14

A few weeks ago I posted an entry on transit ridership under several Republican governors who might be running for President; since most governors are judged based on one or two high-profile decisions (e.g.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Toronto Gets Another Chance To Remove the Gardiner

Wed, 2014-02-05 14:55

Torontonians have been calling for the removal of the Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway for more than a decade. The effort, led by WATERFRONToronto, proposes tearing down the eastern portion of the expressway and building an eight-lane urban boulevard in its place. The effort has faced resistance from controversial Mayor Rob Ford and a handful of city council members, and the debate is destined to heat up again with the release of the environmental assessment (expected later today, and to be presented to the public tomorrow).

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Review of Emily Talen's book online

Sat, 2014-02-01 22:17

My review of Emily Talen's book City Rules is now online.   To briefly summarize the book: in addition to explaining how land use and street design regulations promote sprawl, Talen shows how those regulations have become stricter over time.  In addition to addressing oft-discussed issues like single-use zoning, Talen discusses issues like curb radii (the measurement of the edge of a block).

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Coexist

Tue, 2014-01-28 18:38
coexist.jpg

While walking around I occasionally see the "Coexist" bumper sticker, showing the symbols of various religions in order to suggest that it would be nice if they all coexisted peacefully.

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Vision Zero in America's Most Walkable City

Sat, 2014-01-25 23:14
lexcropped.jpg

STREETS FOR PEOPLE ARE THE WAY TO CUT FATALITIES TO ZERO—BUT NYPD COMMISSIONER BRATTON DOESN'T AGREE

Originally posted on the Street Design Blog

STREETS FOR PEOPLE ARE THE WAY TO CUT FATALITIES TO ZERO—BUT NYPD COMMISSIONER BRATTON DOESN'T AGREE

read more

Categories: New Urbanism

Urbanism and the Oscars

Wed, 2014-01-22 13:20

I just finished watching all nine Best Picture nominees, and thought I would discuss what the front-runners should be from an urbanist perspective.  Which films occur in an urban or walkable environment?  Which films present such environments favorably (or at least not unfavorably)?

read more

Categories: New Urbanism