Moving Downtown to save on car costs

The Associated Press and other news outlets have reported over the last few weeks on the growing trend for young people and empty nesters moving downtown in major cities across the USA to save on fuel costs and to reduce their travel time.

The other growing trend is more people opting to use public transport to get to work whether it be driving to a station and riding to work.

Both of these shifts in commuter patterns is due to fuel however it is not solely in the USA, across Europe and Asis are changing their habits however many governments have been left lagging on public transport as they never anticipated a huge spike in oil. 

Let’s hope this shift to downtown living and use of public transport stays for the long term and creates more livable walkable cities.

The reference SOURCE: Associated Press – Renters go downtown to save on gas, commuting

City Will Explore Broad Bike-Sharing Plan – NYTimes.com

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.comCity Will Explore Broad Bike-Sharing Plan -

State-of-the-art sustainable neighborhood- Columbian.com

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

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.

An art center worth the climb – The Boston Globe

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 

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