The city took a tentative step this week toward fulfilling the dream of a certain kind of urban idealist, saying that it will explore the possibility of creating a bike-sharing program that could make hundreds or even thousands of bicycles available for public use.
“This is a really big deal,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group for cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders. “In the realm of things you can do to boost bicycling in a city, bike-share is at the top of the list.”
The city asked companies and organizations interested in running a bike-sharing program to provide assessments of how it could work.
SOURCE: NYTimes.com – City Will Explore Broad Bike-Sharing Plan –
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
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.
The Clark is one of the country’s best small art museums, and in Stone Hill Center, which opens today, it has added a wonderful piece of architecture.
The architect is Japan’s Tadao Ando, the 1995 winner of the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel. Stone Hill houses a mix of uses. The biggest chunk, which isn’t open to the public, is a conservation lab for the restoration of artworks. The lab occupies the lower of the building’s two levels, where it isn’t disturbed by unwanted direct sunlight.
Collaborating with Ando from the start was the Boston firm of Reed Hilderbrand, landscape architects. Their work is an essential foil for the architecture. Besides planning the paths and roads, they terraced a slope above Stone Hill into a green parking lot and planted some 300 new trees. Especially successful is the meadow below Stone Hill Center, where the grass is left wild and unmowed. It waves in the wind like an ocean, and the building’s triangular terrace pushes into it like the prow of a ship.
Read more @ the SOURCE: The Boston Globe – An art center worth the climb
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.
San Franciso Chronicle has published a practical artile on permeable pavement – sort of a Sustainable Landscape Design 101
Does your driveway look like a patchwork quilt, with raised and sunken surfaces; chipped, off-color mortar stuffed into jagged cracks; and a generation’s worth of oil, paint and mold stains? Has the time come to replace it? Or, if your driveway is fine, is this the year to install the new patio you’ve been dreaming of, or some garden walkways?
Whether you’re replacing your existing driveway, patio and walks or installing new ones, you have an opportunity to turn them into water management and conservation features by building them so water can drain through them – in landscaping terms, making them “permeable hardscape.”
SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle (SFgate.com) – Permeable hardscapes let the water soak in.
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?