Jan Gehl on Urban Design | VIDEO

Jan Gehl, architect and urban designer that has helped cities around the world focus on improving the quality of life. In this short 3 and half minute crane.tv video ) Gehl gives some insight into cities such as Copenhagen and urban design.  “….its like a revelation, oh we forgot the people…”

Urbanized: A Conversation

Urbanized,  feature-length documentary by Gary Hustwit was recently shown at University of Pennsylvania. Afterwards, a panel conversation took place between Gary Hustwit, James Corner and Ricky Burdett chaired by  Marilyn Jordan Taylor (Dean of PennDesign). The 40 minute conversation was caught on film and published by PennDesign for our viewing pleasure.

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

Speck: Cars are a greater risk than crime to pedestrians

Jeff Speck of Speck Associates recently gave a presentation at the University Park Alliance as apart of the Urban Innovators Speakers series. Speck  stated that “Most American cities have been shaped around the automobile” and “Cars are a greater risk than crime” to pedestrians. He also spoke about the need to create thriving cities and that cities need to be designed for people.

Read more at [Ohio.com]

Suburbs stop growing due to housing bust

USAToday reports

The recession and housing collapse have halted four decades of double-digit growth for nearly half of the nation’s biggest rapidly expanding suburbs.

Twenty-four of the 53 cities of 100,000 or more that grew by at least 10% every decade since 1970 lost population in the last two years.

SOURCE: USA Today – Housing bust halts growing suburbs

Asian cities are growing

A great editorial from The Nation from the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 Conference (ANMC21) being held in Bangkok.
The editor writes about various issues including:

As Asian countries enjoy economic growth, many face problems that come with too-rapid urbanisation. City dwellers in many Asian countries are increasingly suffering from deteriorating environment conditions.

Many big Asian cities, including Bangkok, have seen their populations grow so fast that social services and infrastructure cannot cope. High density of population can also lead to the quick spread of communicable diseases such as swine flu. Besides this, rapidly growing cities tend to suffer the twin problems of an upsurge in crime and poverty in slum areas.

read more at the [SOURCE: The Nation – Asian cities are growing but quality of life is plummeting]

Bulldozing Cities – GOOD.IS

Dan Kildee is the treasurer of Genessee County, Michigan, the county which contains the city of Flint. His recently written a guest post at GOOD.is. He starts his post

The quality of a city is determined by what life is like for the people who live there—not by how many people live there.

So why is my suggestion that my hometown of Flint should shrink—reducing the “built” environment—creating such a stir? Is our American obsession with growth and expansion so pervasive that a community would rather fail at being large than succeed and become a smaller place?

Read the full post at the SOURCE: GOOD 100: Bulldozing Cities

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