Government Minister calls for improvement in planning and design of Britain’s towns and cities

Government Minister Iain Wright MP today called for an improvement in the planning and design of Britain’s towns and cites and stressed the importance of good quality public space.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Communities and Local Government said good design influenced people’s opportunities and aspirations but that it currently remained “an exception rather than the norm.”

Speaking at the Landscape Institute Conference on the theme of “Housing, Land Use and Community,” Wright said: “Building more houses is only part of what we want to achieve. Bad design has a profound impact on the whole community. We are talking about people’s lives, people’s opportunities, helping to shape people’s ambitions and aspirations.

read more @ the SOURCE: Landscape Institute (UK) – Government Minister calls for improvement in planning and design of Britain’s towns and cities.

Malaysia’s largest development unveiled

The Iskandar Investment Board (IIB) launched Malaysia’s largest urban development at Cityscape Dubai last week.

Medini Iskandar, a 2,300 acre (920 hectares) international mixed-use urban development project consisting of nine clusters, should bring in about Dh20 billion in the next 15 to 20 years, said Arlida Ariff, managing director of the Malaysian-based Iskandar Investment Board.

The Iskandar Development Region will include 5 Economic Zones in the country’s southern peninsula. Many of the Zones will have tax concessions for investment in the local economy.

SOURCE: Gulfnews: Malaysia’s largest development unveiled.

Tianjin – Eco city under construction

AFTER 17 months of painstaking preparation and planning, Singapore and China yesterday began construction of their flagship eco-city, with a ground-breaking ceremony attended by top leaders from both countries.

Singapore’s Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao were at the event to launch the project, which both sides hope will show the way forward for other environmentally-friendly cities in China.

read more @ the SOURCE: Straittimes.com – S’pore, China breakground.

Companies moving inland from coastal region

China Daily gives an insight into the companies moving inland from the Shanghai and surrounding coastal cities – higher land, construction and labour costs.

“A changing industrial landscape is unfolding in China’s most prosperous coastal region…….

read more @ the SOURCE: China Daily Companies moving inland from coastal region
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Urban expert offers advice on San Francisco

“There’s too little water, and too much of everything else,” Gehl said. “It has gone completely overboard in the quick-buck focus – how to skim a half-day tourist.”

“Gehl was in San Francisco last week as a guest of the Planning Department, which has engaged Gehl’s firm to recommend how the city’s streets and sidewalks can be made more enticing to bicyclists and pedestrians.”


read more @ the SOURCE: SFGate.com – Urban expert offers advice on San Francisco.

Is Farmland Preservation Worthwhile? – Planetizen

Preserving farmland has always been a major issue in the U.S. But as Bill Fulton discusses, the local economic results don’t quite justify the efforts.

“The longtime farmers say they’re losing money. Even the organic farmers, who are making money, fear that proximity to urban development — and the complaints that arise — will drive them out of business. The farmland is worth far, far more for development than for farming. So why save it? Is there an economic development purpose to farmland preservation?”

Read more @ the SOURCE: Is Farmland Preservation Worthwhile? – Planetizen.

Big City – In Manhattan, a New Playground Is an Instant Hit – NYTimes.com

16th Street in Morningside Park, which had its ribbon-cutting a few weeks ago, could have been envisioned by some of those designers, to judge from the tasteful, creative layout, a vision of bright blues and greens.

The playground was designed by Alexander Hart, a 33-year-old assistant landscape architect at the Department of Parks and Recreation. “I wasn’t so keen on designing playgrounds until I started doing it,” Mr. Hart, a father of two young children, said on Wednesday morning at the playground. “But once I started, I found the design challenges so interesting.”

Read more @ the SOURCE: NYTimes.comBig City – In Manhattan, a New Playground Is an Instant Hit

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