Turn the freeways into solar collectors and at the same time mitigate noise, pollution, blight, and open space encroachment. This is a fascinating idea from architect Måns Tham of Sweden. He also proposes that the solar canopy capture auto exhaust for feeding algae ponds to create bio fuel. While it seems at first glance to be ‘pie in the sky,’ upon further reflection it may not be so far fetched. It could help resolve the controversy regarding solar arrays in the desert and possible effects on fauna such as the desert tortoise. Freeways typically involve vast sun exposed stretches of real estate that would seem ideally suited for solar panels. Read more on the architect’s blog.
There are many academic lists regarding the principles of urban planning, a sampling of which is included below. However, I’ve put together my own list about what creates a pleasant place in the built environment. Its based on nothing more than my personal observations.
1) Narrow streets make nicer neighborhoods and shopping districts.
2) Setbacks suck. (Compare all the places we are attracted to for vacations.)
3) Great cities happen at the street level, not the skyline.
4) Preserve the old buildings not just for architectural significance, but for diversity of architecture.
5) Small lot development is smarter development. (i.e. large master planned developments lack soul) 10 Principles of Planning Pleasant Places
This post is the first of a multi-part (but irregular) series about the conflicting relationship between U.S. transportation policy and urban renewal efforts, and what some communities are doing to “take back the streets” from cars for people. This post features a video by COAnews (published on YouTube), which gives a little history of the rectangular or square street grid patterns so common in U.S. cities, especially in the west. Then it goes on to talk about a project in Portland, frequently a leader in urban planning, to make neighborhood intersections more community oriented.