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

Auckland a city in need of ambition – NZ Herald

Auckland is failing to fulfil its potential and needs to be bidding for ambitious projects such as the 2016 Commonwealth Games, says Ludo Campbell-Reid, the city council’s urban design champion.

Campbell-Reid, who was brought to Auckland two years ago by then mayor Dick Hubbard to give the city a cohesive design framework, has spent a month in London where normally sanguine Londoners are getting excited about the Olympics being held there in 2012.

SOURCE:  NZ Herald – Auckland a city in need of ambition – 06 Jul 2008 -

Lower Don Lands project receives sustainable development award

Waterfront Toronto, alongside Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, has been honoured for the sustainable design of its Lower Don Lands project.

The new development, one aspect of Waterfront Toronto’s 8000-hectare central waterfront transformation, recently received the 2008 Royal Architecture Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) Sustainable Development Award.

The award is designed to recognize the role urban design and architectural excellence play in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian cities.

SOURCE: Beach-Riverdale – THE MIRROR – Lower Don Lands project receives sustainable development award.

Government delays eco-town design competition – Building Design

Government plans for a competition to “set the design standards” for its eco-towns programme have been delayed by at least a year amid mounting hostility to the 10 proposed developments.

The contest, announced last October by then housing minister Yvette Cooper, was set to involve “leading creative thinkers” in architecture and landscape design, as well as a so-called citizens’ panel. It was due to name winning proposals early this year.

But the competition, run by Cabe, the RIBA and the Prince’s Foundation, has now been mothballed until this October.

SOURCE: Building DesignGovernment delays eco-town design competition -

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