New book by NJIT architecture professor focuses on urbanism

The University of Chicago Press has published Modernizing Main Street: Architecture and Consumer Culture in the New Deal by Gabrielle Esperdy, an associate professor in the New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT.

Esperdy’s research and teaching focuses on urbanism–the study of the urban environment, its buildings, infrastructures, institutions, and all things that support and shape them.

“Despite what many people think,” Esperdy said, “What we could call suburban and urban today are utterly intertwined. Who can say where the city ends and the suburb begins? This is especially complicated in a state like New Jersey which has a strong urban tradition in the sense of defined, albeit small-scale, communities. In this state now the concerns of smart growth are forcing a reconsideration of conventional suburbia. Many people would like to make the state more dense and less car dependent.”

SOURCE: Eurekalert – New book by NJIT architecture professor focuses on urbanism.

State-of-the-art sustainable neighborhood- Columbian.com

A former industrial site on prime waterfront real estate in the city’s core sheds its working-class roots for a future as an urban neighborhood reconnecting people to the water.

Sound familiar? Except this isn’t Vancouver’s Columbia River waterfront, where developers envision a dense cluster of apartments, condos, offices, retail, restaurants and parks.

It’s in Victoria, B.C., and it’s a glimpse of what might be possible here. Called Dockside Green, this self-contained neighborhood is being built on 15 acres on the city’s Inner Harbor, and is hailed as one of the most environmentally advanced projects of its kind.

They intend to incorporate green principles in the build-out of the 32-acre site along the Columbia River that they call Columbia Waterfront. Gramor and the city of Vancouver have hired PWL Partnership, a landscape architect firm involved in Dockside Green, to work on the 10 acres of parks planned for the Boise site.

SOURCE: Columbian.com – State-of-the-art sustainable neighborhood

Landscape architects shape our ‘most livable’ city

Arthur Erickson, Bing Thom, Jeff Wall–these are names of Vancouver architects familiar to many locally and worldwide. The work of the first two is highlighted in a London, U.K. exhibit heading to Paris in the fall.

But just as architects have shaped our surroundings, so have landscape architects who design our parks, plazas and many streetscapes that contribute to Vancouver’s label as the world’s most livable city. Yet you probably don’t know their names.

Margot Long, a principal at PWL Partnership, a local landscape architecture firm, won an award for her plan for Southeast False Creek, for Town and Gown Square at SFU and for her master plan for Mountain View Cemetery. She’s working on the redesign for downtown Granville Street, the waterfront for East Fraserlands and the waterfront for Vancouver, Wash. But she doesn’t care if you don’t know who she is.

SOURCE: Vancouver Courier – Landscape architects shape our ‘most livable’ city.

Editor: Great article and very apt comments from landscape architects about our role.

Vibrant urban villages? Plans don’t fit reality

Stitched together by developers from fields and gravel pits, Apple Valley has worked for years to build the kind of downtown where residents can leave home in the morning and walk to the bus, their jobs or local stores.

New restaurants and a hotel, townhouses and a park with water fountains where kids can play have already sprung up in the Central Village, but right next door, there are still empty fields.

The housing market slump caused a slowdown in development that forced city leaders to plead earlier this summer to hang onto public funding that is key to their vision: a $2.3 million Livable Communities grant from the Metropolitan Council to build underground parking below an as-yet-unbuilt complex of housing and businesses on Galaxie Avenue.

SOURCE: Star Tribune – Vibrant urban villages? Plans don’t fit reality.

Eco-towns should be near urban sprawl, say planning chief – Birmingham Post

The Government should drop proposals for eco-towns in rural locations and concentrate instead on developing sustainable communities in urban areas, according to the chairman of Birmingham’s planning committee.

Councillor Peter Douglas Osborn said the council would be pushing ahead with its own plans to build five eco-towns within the Birmingham city boundary.

He said locations favoured by the Government for eco-towns including Long Marston, near Stratford-upon-Avon, and Curborough, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, made “no sense” because they were isolated from transport links and nowhere near urban centres.

Birmingham PostEco-towns should be near urban sprawl, say planning chief

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