Urban design

Dealing with urban design

The necessity of adjustments Alley and garage variations

Every component of urbanism possesses both technical and social dimensions. While there are always good reasons for a traditional component or relationship of components to assume a standard form, there are also times when some widespread alteration of social circumstance licenses, indeed demands, technical reinvention.

Ritual House Drawing on Nature’s Rhythms for Architecture and Urban Design

By Ralph L. Knowles Island Press, 2006, 224 pp., hardcover $35.

The necessity of adjustments: The alley opening

The patterns of alley geometry and alley-associated buildings, where they meet the block faces and surrounding streets, may be usefully adjusted in a variety of ways. It is necessary to understand standard configurations, but also how they may be tuned to local situations.

Planning and Urban Design Standards

By the American Planning Association

John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006, 736 pp., hardcover $199.

The Power of Ideas: Five People Who Changed the Urban Landscape

By Terry J. Lassar and Douglas R. Porter

Urban Land Institute, 2004, 150 pp., paperback $34.95.

The Mississippi charrette: a proud moment for new urbanists and one step on a long road

Hurricane Katrina destroyed property and lives in Mississippi. In the aftermath, step one was survival and rescue. The next steps were hard to imagine at first. Coastal cities such as Waveland, Pass Christian, and Bay St. Louis were as much as 70 percent destroyed.

The continuing charrette

CNU team members return to Mississippi. While the Mississippi Renewal Forum achieved about as much as a weeklong planning event could possibly accomplish, participants realized that little would come of the charrette’s impressive plans, drawings, and tools if they were simply dropped in the lap of Mississippi officials. Even under the best of circumstances, local leaders require ongoing support to keep development from taking the path set by existing separate-use zoning codes, supersized state infrastructure projects, and conventional sprawl developers.

Ideas for Mississippi’s coast ignite enthusiasm, face FEMA resistance

New urbanist “mega-charrette” calls for boulevards, rail transit, mixed uses, and walkable neighborhoods in a devastated 11-city region. The people of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast have begun taking a series of previously unfathomable mental leaps, thanks to an extraordinary new urbanist charrette that captured the imagination of the region this fall.

Quantity and quality in Biloxi

The seven-day Mississippi Renewal Forum in mid-October, which created regional and local plans for redevelopment of 11 cities along 120 miles of coast devastated by Hurricane Katrina, was the most efficient and productive event I have ever witnessed or even heard about in recent times. The plans are masterful, state-of-the-art visions.

Making casinos open to the city

The prevailing concept of a casino — a windowless place closed off from its surroundings — is under assault in Mississippi. The Mississippi Renewal Forum urged that casinos on the Gulf Coast be rebuilt to a new standard as part of the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Instead of being designed to keep visitors indoors from the time they arrive until they head home with empty pockets, casinos would be integrated into their cities or towns. Until the Aug.
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