Danish Architectural Press, 2000, 264 pp., hardcover 375 Danish kroner (approximately $62 US). Like many new urbanists, I got my first exposure to Jan Gehl in June, when the Danish architect gave a mesmerizing closing address at the Congress for the New Urbanism’s annual conference in Pasadena.
I dug out my copy of Reyner Banham’s 1971 classic, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, the other day, intent on confirming whether Banham — an extraordinary if sometimes wrongheaded architectural historian — was as ardently pro-freeway as I recalled. It turned out he was. Banham, who died in 1988, was one of the most respected authorities on Los Angeles and he depicted the LA freeway system as just about the closest that civilization has ever come to motorized perfection.
Mixed uses and comfortable pedestrian connections are keys to the turnaround of Tennessee’s fourth-largest city.
Chattanooga attracted a burst of national attention in the mid-1990s when visitors began noticing that the once-smoky city had cleaned up its air, constructed the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, and injected life into a stagnant downtown.
On an opening night that includes a video message from the Prince of Wales, Villaraigosa says New Urbanism presents an “ideal opportunity” to transform the nation’s second-largest city.
The new Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, forcefully outlined a vision for a more urban LA in delivering the keynote address of the opening night of the Thirteenth Congress for the New Urbanism in Pasadena, California, on June 9.
Villaraigosa said he wants high-quality transit service and walkable transit-connected development for Los Angeles.
Danish architect Jan Gehl, who shared CNU XIII closing keynote duties with author James Howard Kunstler, was a modernist and “less is more” believer when he graduated from architecture school in 1960. Then he married a psychologist and set himself on a path to become what he calls “a people architect.” Because participation in public spaces today is optional, Gehl takes seriously the challenge of making them irresistible. He’s succeeded in making the streets and plazas of cities from Copenhagen to Melbourne, Australia, teem with human life.
Transect-based codes like the SmartCode provide new opportunities for municipalities to promote New Urbanism and smart growth. But the difficulty of applying these codes to local conditions remains a hurdle to widespread implementation. One method for overcoming that barrier is a system called TransectMap, which will soon be introduced.
One of the challenges to using the SmartCode or other Transect-based codes is the difficulty of doing the local mapping of the Transect zones (T-zones). Especially in new growth areas, the process involves a fairly complicated balancing of T-zones.
The higher the initial cost of a given public transit technology, the less likely a system using it will be built. From the outset, this tough reality must be recognized. The last Technical Page considered the higher levels of technology and infrastructure investment: in descending order heavy rail, light rail, streetcars, and trolleys. All require fixed rail, a layer of supporting infrastructure, and, in most cases, dedicated rights of way.
Fourteen projects that fulfill and advance the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism will be recognized as this year’s best examples of New Urbanism when the 2005 Charter Awards are formally presented in a ceremony at CNU XIII in Pasadena on June 10.
The most diverse group of winners to date, they include:
• A dying mall converted into the vibrant downtown a city never had;
• Six projects located outside the US;
• A pair of high-density brownfield reuse plans for downtowns fronting the Great Lakes — one a cosmopolitan city with a vastly underutilized lakefront and the other a small
TOD or transit-oriented development is a complex topic that can nevertheless be demystified.
In new urbanist parlance, the “transit” of TOD is often assumed to refer to rail. But rail is merely the most glamorous of various means, including buses, circulators, and even taxis, around which TOD land uses may be arranged. The term is better understood as including all sorts of transportation in which the vehicle is held corporately or in common and used for fee.
By Vincent Scully, Catherine Lynn, Erik Vogt, and Paul Goldberger Yale University Press, 2004, 406 pp., paperback $45. How do you judge whether a university is treating its host city decently? Some focus on how much or how little the university does to support the local community through money and programs. Yale University, which has a $12 billion endowment, has won praise in some quarters for operating the New Haven HomeBuyer Program, which has given $15 million — in subsidies of up to $25,000 per household — to help faculty and staff members buy homes in certain neighborhoods.