Urban design

Dealing with urban design

Newest eco-development model: ‘Agricultural urbanism’

Farms and gardens would be key to a self-sustaining 2,000-home development envisioned in British Columbia.

An eight-day charrette in May, led by Andres Duany, laid out an innovative, agriculturally-oriented path that new urbanists could start using in communities that are worried about losing farm land.
Duany and other new urbanists collaborated with Michael Ableman, an organic farmer and author, to show how a 538-acre tract near Vancouver, British Columbia, could accommodate nearly 2,000 housing units and at the same time foster a wide range of food-producing activities.

New Urbanism and Beyond: Designing Cities for the Future

Edited by Tigran Haas

Rizzoli, 2008, 349 pp., $50 hardcover

Suburban Transformations

By Paul Lukez
From the beginning days of the movement, there was a genuine desire on the part of several of the New Urbanism’s founders and other early members of CNU to bring Modernists and other proponents of the architectural avant-garde into the fold.

Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life

Edited by Stephen R. Kellert, Judith H. Heerwagen, and Martin L. Mador

John Wiley & Sons, 2008, 400 pp., $75 hardcover

Rivertown: Rethinking Urban Rivers

Edited by Paul Stanton Kibel

The MIT Press, 2007, 216 pp., $22 paperback

Of the six riverfronts carefully examined in this book, the one with the most exciting prospects is the Anacostia — sometimes referred to as Washington, DC’s “other river.” Much less well-known than the Potomac, the Anacostia flows through eastern parts of the nation’s capital for seven miles — past public housing projects, poverty-stricken neighborhoods, and highways that impede residents’ access to the river.

Block by Block: Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York

Edited by Timothy Mennel, Jo Steffens, and Christopher Klemek

Municipal Art Society and Princeton Architectural Press, 2007, 64 pp., $17.95 paperback

Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature

By Douglas Farr

John Wiley & Sons, 2007, 304 pp., $75 hardcover

Americans love to celebrate “our robust range of life choices,” Chicago architect and urban designer Douglas Farr writes in this potentially important book. We express satisfaction about “being able to pick where we work, whom we live with, where we shop, and how we play” — all the while failing to deal with the obesity epidemic, global warming, and many other unhealthy trends. “Our lifestyle, to put it simply, is on the wrong course,” Farr declares.

Charrette devises plan for ‘Walkable Towson’

A major suburban center near Baltimore will likely become much more congenial for pedestrians, thanks to a six-day charrette sponsored by Baltimore County. The charrette, led by Stuart Sirota of TND Planning Group, produced a plan that calls for redesigning a hazardous roundabout, converting one-way streets and roads to two-way traffic, and connecting a large, existing shopping mall to the downtown section of Towson, Maryland.

The Miller School plan

Dover, Kohl & Partners led a week-long charrette in mid-September aimed at bringing order, pedestrian comfort, and a degree of architectural grace to the jumbled section of Miami containing the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, the Miami-Dade justice center, and other institutions.

A campus for India, shaped like a mandala

Vedanta, the largest new university in the world, will have a plan that draws from Indian spiritual traditions.

On an expanse of flat rural land near the Bay of Bengal, earth-moving is to get under way this fall for an extraordinary institution. Vedanta University — to be built with a billion dollars donated by Indian industrialist Anil Agarwal — will have a shape like no other university on the planet (see plan on page 1).

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