WSJ joins the LU vs NU debate with The Rise of the “Landscape Urbanists”

Christopher Shea recently posted The Rise of the “Landscape Urbanists” on his Wall Street Journal blog

And that’s the rub—the bit about cars and “spacious suburbs.” Architects who believe that a fresh commitment to urban living offers the best path to a sustainable future are deeply disconcerted by this quasi-green rhetoric, and by the way it’s catching on at trendy architecture schools. They call it a “a misguided surrender to suburban sprawl.”

Read more at WSJ

LU vs NU – more fuel to the fire

The Landscape Urbanism vs New Urbanism debate has been burning along for the last few months with LAND Reader – LU vs NU synopsis back in November. Leon Neyfakh of the Boston Globe has recently published Green Building that adds more fuel to the LU vs NU fire.

Its an interesting article worth the read but one line(amongst many) that stayed with me was “We criticized it and called out all the contradictions, and we laughed and we made fun of him,” Duany recalled about showing a lecture delivered by Charles Waldheim. Is Landscape Urbanism vs New Urbanism about theory and how to make great places for people or more about ego?

China to create megacity with 42 million residents *UPDATE*

*UPDATE* The report that Guangdong planned to create a megacity is ‘false’ according to Guangdong government officials. The plan is to strength the transport links and public services between the cities. The government under the formal ‘outline’ plan from 2008 will develop three economic circles Guangfozhao (Guangzhou, Foshan and Zhaoqing), Shenguanhui (Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou) and Zhuzhongjiang (Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Jiangmen) – will be developed in the near future. [SOURCE: China.org.cn]
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According to the Telegraph the urban planners in the Pearl River Delta are set to join 9 cities under the “Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One” scheme create one mega city that is 16,000 square miles. The cities included in the scheme include Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing. According to the consultant Guangdong Rural and Urban Planning Institute they undertaking this plan to allow services to be spread across the mega-city, reduce phone call costs and have universal high speed rail and metro train cards.

Whether we call the plan a mega-city or mega-region its still a large urban planning and services task. That involves one the largest manufacturing regions of the world. The speed at which it will move will be dependent on how successfully it is implemented.

The mega-city plan is big and bold like many in China and is in keeping with the current economic plan of mega-regions with two or more cities – Yangzte River Delta(Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Changzhou, Ningbo) , Bohai Economic Area (Beijing, Tianjin),  Sichuan Basin(Chongqing, Chengdu), Pearl River Delta(Guangzhou, Shenzhen & Hong Kong), Cross Strait Economic Area (Xiamen, Fuzhou, Wenzhou, Shantou). These mega-regions have between 23 million to 120 million people.

Read more at the [Telegraph]

Tel Aviv University creates Lab to study Israel’s urban spaces

The Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design at Tel Aviv University has a weekly meeting to study the urban spaces to develop an overall picture of how spaces and neighborhoods develop. The group gathers information on the ground and interviews residents for a later group discussion. The Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design was set up in 2010 with seven members who hotly debate the urban planning of Israel.

If you create the same type of apartment and structure, without variety in the mix of the neighborhood, you in fact produce homogenous social environments. The interaction with ‘the other’ is completely lost.

Read more about The Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design at Haaretz.com – Deconstructing the city, from inside a lab

Mega Cities not always the biggest polluters

Mega-cities around the world such as New York, London, Los Angeles, Shanghai are often blamed for the high Green House Gas(GHG) emissions but a recent report released found that cities like Sydney(20.6), Calgary(17.7), Stuttgart(16.0), Denver (21.5), Rotterdam (29.8) CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) per capita where far higher than some of the world’s mega-cities including Shanghai (11.7), Tokyo (4.89), Dehli (1.5), Mexico City (4.25), London (9.6) and New York (10.5) CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) per capita. Although it could be seen that the overall city emissions are high however, when measuring  tCO2e per capita it gives a very different picture.

The report focused on the Canadian city of Toronto and the results were surprising across the city as an inner city resident could have an annual emissions as low as 1.3 tCO2e whereas someone in a sprawling outer suburb could have 13.02 tCO2e. The report has a series of aerial images including high-rise(1.31) to outer suburbia(13.02) with the annual emissions for the area which gives a great insight into urban design and consequent emissions.

Lowest emissions in the study where from apartment dwelling city residents using public transit as there main source of transport.

I recommend reading the report ‘Cities and greenhouse gas emissions: moving forward‘ (10 January 2011) – a free copy is available from Environment & Urbanization

NOTE: Values in brackets () are tonne CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) per capita

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