Good design requires innovation – Seattlepi.com

GRAHAM BLACK AND BRAD KHOURI have written a comprehensive article about designing residential developments in Seattle.

Town homes don’t have to be ugly and dampen the human spirit. But so many of them are eyesores that town homes have become a lighting rod in the local debate over housing. They’ve been blamed for the decline of community and called a threat to single-family neighborhoods. Their rapid proliferation has even prompted recent City Council-led community forums.

Town homes aren’t the problem. A critical part of the housing stock, they allow the city to create more urban density, reduce our carbon footprint and provide an affordable housing option for local families.

Bad design and laziness are the real problem. Badly designed, shoddily built, cookie-cutter town homes that don’t fit or build the character of our city’s neighborhoods isolate residents from one another and discourage open space. Bad design is the result of a formula-driven approach, where generic plans are slapped onto every lot, regardless of site or neighborhood.

Seattle has an opportunity to shape neighborhoods for the future. The city needs to take charge of its permitting and design process, eliminate the loopholes that allow some builders to avoid design review and give an incentive for opting into that process. Design review, when done right, can ensure projects that make the city a more interesting place.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Seattlepi.com - Good design requires innovation.

Housing societies have no environment plans: EPD official – Daily Times

LAHORE: Housing societies of the city do not have an environment plan approved by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the agency has not made a law to induce these housing societies to quantify trees on their land to protect the city’s environment, an Environment Protection Department (EPD) official told Daily Times on Sunday.

He said the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Model Town Society and many other societies did not have any scientific “Land Use Planning” (LUP) under an approved environment plan to ensure a specific number of trees on their land.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Housing societies have no environment plans: EPD official.

They build a suburb, then find the buses don’t fit – National – smh.com.au

Glenmore Park, opened in 1990, was designed without consideration for public transport, an urban planning expert says. The bus company serving the area says it is difficult to manoeuvre around, and residents say buses are infrequent and unreliable.

Bill Randolph, from the City Futures Research Centre, at the University of NSW, said Glenmore Park was a classic example of a 1990s design of cul-de-sacs and small, bending roads. “The key thing is, it was never designed forpublic transport … It was assumed everybody would just be driving cars.”

read more @ the SOURCE: smh.com.auThey build a suburb, then find the buses don’t fit – National 

Ecotowns: for and against – Times Online

The Times has published an insightful article about the ‘eco-towns’ proposed by the UK Government

Ten new clean, green ‘eco-towns’ will be built by 2020. And pigs might fly, say critics. They argue that the government is bulldozing through a programme that will create the slum estates of the future

This is how it will be. Across the fair face of Albion, to the ringing of bells and the soft murmur of doves, appears a leafy flush of eco-towns. They are sun-dappled utopias, urban dreamworlds in which no human need is unfulfilled. Wildlife romps through bird-loud glades. People work at home or in business parks to which they can stroll or cycle. Public transport is swift, efficient and free, so cars are not needed. Community sports hubs, leisure and cultural facilities are so abundant that nobody wants to leave the town anyway. Children walk safely to schools in which the most popular subject is environmentalism. There are superstores for convenience, and farmers’ markets for friends of the planet. Allotments, too, for those who want to grow their own. Energy is renewable, insulation total and the carbon footprint zero.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Times Online – Ecotowns: for and against – .

Want a new urban model? Go west – TheStar.com

VANCOUVER–Even in this city of condos, The Beasley stands out. Not because of its height (33 storeys), the number of units (271) or its location (Yaletown). What makes it impossible to ignore is its name – The Beasley.

In this city, that can mean only one thing, Larry Beasley.

On the off chance you haven’t heard of Beasley, he is Vancouver’s former chief planner and creator of the famous “Vancouver model,” which for all its flaws, now defines this city.

The point is that in a world obsessed with starchitects and celebrity designers, Vancouver is one of few cities to have grasped that the important issue isn’t architecture, but planning. It’s not so much buildings as the space between them that differentiates one city from another, that makes one city attractive, another unappealing.

SOURCE: TheStar.com - Ideas - Want a new urban model? Go west.

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