City puts development applications online

The City of Ottawa is going online with all major development applications in an effort to increase transparency and build public confidence in the planning-approval process.

As of Tuesday morning, citizens can go on the city’s website and see all of the current development applications and supporting studies for everything from zoning changes that allow taller buildings to site plan applications that show exactly how a building project will be laid out.

Read more @ the Source: Ottawa Citizen – Canada.com – City puts development applications online

Shrinking public spaces in cities

MANY INDIAN cities do not have public spaces worth their names. Most of the open grounds in urban areas have been converted into stadiums, corporate blocks etc. Space should be such where citizens can gather for conviviality without being bothered by honking of horns.

It is a distressing reality of urban India that open public spaces are being converted into enclosed stadiums, sporting arena or shopping plazas. Earlier, these places were available as neighborhood grounds in till few years ago but have shrunk at an alarming speed.

While in developed countries these spaces are converted into urban settlements for citizenry, the haphazard urban growth in our country has put so much pressure on land that not a small piece of land seems left for any other purpose than commercial or exclusive uses.

Read more @ the SOURCE: merinews.com – Shrinking public spaces in cities.

Urban checkpoint – timesofmalta.com

“Contact with the natural environment can be an antidote to some of the unhealthy aspects of an urban environment.” This statement came out of a seminar on mental health organised by the Richmond Foundation.

Marking its 15th anniversary, while taking a leaf from this year’s theme for World Health Day, the foundation invited a psychiatrist and psychologist to speak on the effects of the environment on mental health.

In cities, mutual trust and the safety of neighbours, the glue that holds society together, can break down resulting in social isolation. The way urban areas are designed can sometimes contribute to this. The health effects of infra-noise (low-level noise) and vibration from building sites or machinery require more study.

Believing that cities should serve people and nature, visionary architects and activists in 1970s California created ‘Urban Ecology’. They used urban planning, ecology, and public participation to help design healthier cities together.

Read more @ the SOURCE: timesofmalta.com – Urban checkpoint – Anne Zammit.

Destroying a neighborhood to save a city – The Boston Globe

FIFTY YEARS ago this spring the roar of heavy machinery echoed down the narrow streets of Boston’s old West End as bulldozers and cranes with wrecking balls began executing a desperate plan to revitalize the city by razing one of its oldest neighborhoods.
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Thousands of poor and elderly residents were evicted, many from the only home they had ever known. Veiled promises of relocation to comparable housing never materialized, and the West Enders were scattered throughout the metropolitan area. For many, their standard of living was severely reduced and they never recovered.

Destroying a neighborhood to save a city – The Boston Globe.

Boris takes on Ken’s Legacy

Day one, gaffe one. Even before he officially signed on as the new London Mayor on Saturday 3 May, Boris Johnson had managed to confuse Norman Foster with Richard Rogers.

Stumbling up to the podium, he mistakenly praised Rogers for designing the Greater London Authority HQ in Southwark.

But at least he noticed the architecture. In urban design terms the Conservative candidate has a lot to live up to when compared with his predecessor Ken Livingstone, who commissioned the London Plan and launched the 100 Public Spaces drive. Islington-based architect Chris Roche says Livingstone has ‘done more for London, and for architecture, than any other politician in recent history’.

Read more @ the Source: Architect’s Journal – Boris picks up Ken’s urban design legacy.

 

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