Chicago Rarities hoping for an Urban Orchard at Logan Square

Chicago Rarities Orchard Project is a non-profit organization founded to establish community rare-fruit orchards in Chicago. There current project is Logan Square an abandoned lot that Chicao Rarities hopes to turn into a community orchard and plaza. Currently they are working with the City of Chicago and Altamanu planning + landscape architecture + urban design on developing the plan for the orchard.

Read more at Chicago Rarities Orchard Project

Spotted at Huffington Post

Improving Superblocks in cities through Redevelopment

Superblocks have their advantages – internal circulation is pedestrian friendly but also disadvantages – long distances between blocks and sometimes impervious as they become more private rather than public space. Recently Under One Roof posted an interesting read about how development of superblocks can improve cities. Read more at [Under One Roof]

The Advantages of High Density

High Density cities have there advantages include convenience, access to transport, reduction in services & infrastructure. Prathima Manohar has outlined more advantages & challenges in a recent post – The Advantages of High Density at Urban Vision

Urbanism – trying to balance wants & needs

Kaid Benfield in his recent post for Switchboard asks “How much Urbanism is enough?”. What is the right balance of walkability and nature? What is your a person who need to retreat from the urban environment? How do we balance transit with driving cars solo?  Kaid looks at various challenges we face in creating cities which create a walkable, green city.

Read more at [Switchboard]

Pushing for changes to Mixed Use Development funding

The National Association of Home Builders in the USA has been enlisted by the Congress of New Urbanists to push Freddie and Fannie to change their lending standards to allow more funding for mixed-use development and raise the cap on commercial from 20% to 45%.

Read more at [Streetsblog]

Signage Guidelines can reduce clutter in the landscape

The image of US 280 in Michael Tomberlin’s post – Birmingham committee revisiting sign rules is very telling of the suburban landscape where signs breed like rabbits and litter the road side with retailers using the mantra ‘the bigger the better’ rather than ‘less is more’. Signage littering the urban landscape is not endemic to just Birmingham or the USA for that matter, all across the globe streetscapes are littered with A-Frames blackboard signs, bus stop advertising and billboards. But do they really urge passers by to go and shop or are they just landmarks to designate the location of the store? I think it is the latter and that all cities should have formulate signage guidelines (many already do) including the number of signs allowed and the size.

Guidelines should also go further to streetscape and city government signage & intepretation. Often towns and city landscapes becomes a minefield of directional, parking and place marking signs that have been added layer by layer by various departments and changes of staff who continually add more signage to the landscape. All cities should at the least evaluate their main streetscapes and see where they can reduce the clutter to provide a clean landscape that is visually easy to navigate and often more pedestrian friendly. Often city signage for an area can be easily amalgamated into one sign(or sign family) such as place marking and area parking restrictions.

Read more about what Birmingham is proposing at []

Toronto: Can it break free from the Sprawl

Christopher Hume, Architecture Critic for Toronto Star writes in Hume: Resisting the Call of Sprawl

Though suburbia has failed to live up to the promise, its appeal isn’t hard to understand. The damage inflicted on cities during the last 50 or 60 years went a long way to make them unlivable. Even now, the suburbanization of Toronto continues.

Hume looks at various players and how they are enabling each others behaviour.

Read more at []

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