We hear a lot about “smart growth” in the press, in blogs, and at planning commissions these days. There are folks who support smart growth projects, and folks who don’t. But of course, no one ever couches their opposition to a smart growth project in terms of favoring “dumb growth,” although that’s what they may really be saying, if they thought about it. What Makes Smart Growth “Smart”
Vancouver B.C. Metropolitan Core is famous among urbanists for what is now called the “Vancouver Style,” neighborhoods of point towers of 40 stories or more, with a planned tower separation to preserve public views and maximize privacy. The towers have small floor plates set on top of a street wall podium lined with three-story townhouses, or retail storefronts with offices above. There is landscaping on top of the podium and parking underground. Vancouverites have embraced density and walkability in the urban core, the envy of many of us from stateside. How Metropolitan Vancouver Is Reorganizing Suburban Growth Around Transit
I recently returned from Asia, where I noticed, as always, numerous people wearing face masks on the street. In Mainland China, I have always assumed this was because of the rampant air pollution in major cities. But I also observed masks in other cities such as Hong Kong and Taipei, where industrial and automotive pollution appears, at least to the unscientific observer, to be much less. And we Californians are also used to seeing some of our Asian neighbors wearing masks in American cities. I have wondered, is this a holdover from life in Beijing or Shenzhen or other cities in Mainland China, where the color of air can be as dull as a grey goose? (And I’m not thinking of vodka.) Or is it something else? Why we had Urban Renewal
Like many westerners, I left a rust belt eastern city decades ago, in the belief that the region, and certainly those old east coast cities were goners. So it was with surprise and pleasure that I recently read in Landmarks, the journal of The Landmark Society of Western New York, that residents with choices are moving back into the old downtown, and even more surprising, that nationally, corporate headquarters are also moving back to urban centers from the suburbs at an accelerating rate. Take me back to tomorrow – Some surprising indicators of change in U.S. cities
While I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying architecture, ideas were always buzzing around; at design charrettes, guest lectures and of course, at the dining table. International House, where I lived, was home to residents from eighty countries enrolled in various academic programs. Our insatiable thirst for learning extended to coffee hours and dinner, with enough food for thought to go around. Celebrating Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas
The Occupy Movement is alive and well in the Bay Area. Since April 20 (Earth Day), Occupy Oakland, Occupy Cal, and Occupy SF have had a new neighbor – Occupy the Farm.
These students, professors, neighbors, and activists-turned farmers have set up a small and growing working farm. These 14 acres of University-owned agricultural land sit in the middle of the quiet suburban City of Albany. The UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources uses the land for research, but intends to redevelop the property in 2013. The current proposal includes a Whole Foods and market-rate senior housing. Taking Back the Right Tract