Guest column: Don’t expect simple solutions to complexities of flooding – DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register

DOUGLAS M. JOHNSTON is chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning and of the Department of Landscape Architecture at ISU wrote a great article about the Iowa floods*

During and after any catastrophe, many will review the events and ask: Why did it happen and what can be done to prevent it? The ongoing flooding in Iowa is no exception.

…….we often fail to remember is that water flows downhill. It comes from somewhere, and it goes somewhere. Anything we do that affects the flow of water will have an impact further downstream. Prairie and forest are good at capturing rainfall. Tile-drained farm fields, roofs, roads, and parking lots are less so. With fewer wetlands, prairies and forest to slow runoff or prevent it, the same rain event will send more water downstream faster.

Read more @ the SOURCE: DesMoinesRegister.com – Guest column: Don’t expect simple solutions to complexities of flooding – The Des Moines Register.

Where’s our Central Park? – Los Angeles Times

Great cities have great urban parks. Central Park in New York, Millennium Park in Chicago, Washington’s Mall. They are magnets for the key ingredients that make a successful city center: housing and hotels, shops and cafes, museums and concert halls, public festivals and recreation from active sports to leisurely strolling. They provide breathing room amid the civic bustle; they open up the densest cityscapes; they signify the heart of the heart of their hometowns.

Unfortunately, Los Angeles — a great city by most definitions — has no important downtown park. Griffith Park meets many needs, but it’s not in the center of the city. The Cornfield, north of Chinatown, is also removed from the action (and mostly not off the drawing board). The public space that links downtown’s civic center buildings may get a polish as part of the Grand Avenue project, but it’s tucked away, hemmed in by government buildings. None of these alone is the great, open-air city gathering place that L.A. needs.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times – Where’s our Central Park?

Making San Francisco into a people-oriented city

Tim Holt of San Francisco Chronicle interviews urban planning guru, Jan Gehl about San Francisco and create urban spaces and a more pedestrain city(Ed– Maybe hard with those hills) and open air shopping.

Read more @ the SOURCE: SFGate.com – Making S.F. into a people-oriented city

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 – .

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