Editorial Team

Mixed-use Neighborhoods

By: Benedetto Davi

Photo credit: USDN Sustainable Consumption Toolkit                                                             

Mixed-use neighborhoods are only one of the principles that defines Smart growth, but perhaps the most difficult to achieve. There are various definitions of what mixed-use development means, all of which embed common characteristics:

1)blending vertical and/or horizontal uses (residential, commercial, cultural, industrial, etc.),

2)walkability

3)pedestrian, bike and child friendly environments

4)healthy and resilient communities

5)local economy improvement

Obviously not every urban area and community is set-up for mixed-use land and development.  And noise, pedestrian traffic and congestion are frequent side-effects of mixed-use neighborhoods. Therefore this is where bottom-up planning can take a step towards giving voice to those communities that suffer from the absence of diversity in land-use.

Furthermore, planning policies that point in the direction of polycentric cities, can considerably reduce pressures on public and private transportation, decreasing the number of long distance commuters and traffic congestion.

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Urban Streets

By Benedetto Davi

Urban streets can often be seen as boundaries for communities, almost resembling transparent walls. Throughout the decades, streets that were a vital community space, have become mono-purpose and over-dimensioned infrastructures, especially in suburbs of large cities.

Historically Avenues and Boulevards have had a specific purpose, allowing different forms of transportation and mixed-uses to coexist safely. Today, streets are designed for the sole purpose of minimizing travelling time and vehicle traffic.  What falls through the cracks throughout this process are the needs of the communities and pedestrians who inhabit the neighborhoods crossed by these roads.

As demand for public space increases and supply decreases, cities should not sacrifice public space for over-sized roads.  Better that cities reconsider the design of modern, functional and “smart” streets. Various practices like “street diets”, raised and colored crossways, wider and greener sidewalks and the introduction of bike lanes between sidewalks and parking lanes have been tested throughout with promising results.

Urban design and planning can be the keys to finding solutions to human scale problems around city neighborhoods.

Evolving City Culture

“Creating a city that is inclusive, lively, healthy, and sustainable means designing for human needs and inviting for public life to flourish in many different ways. Some keys to this approach include walkability, bikability, public space and public transportation.”  -Jeff Risom

What can North American cities learn from Copenhagen about adapting and evolving city culture?  Helle Søholt and Jeff Risom of Gehl Architects share engaging observations and innovations in this video.

 

Feature Photo Credit: Danka & Peter

Art on Paper

Art on Paper is a paper-focused, international art fair that will take place in New York City at Pier 36 from March 5 – 8, 2015.

The art mediums represented include sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, and photography, representing fifty-five galleries from around the world.

Pier 36 is a great example of a flexible urban space that be transformed for various city events and happenings.

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Feature Photography Credit: JHB Gallery

Pier 36 Photography Credit: docknyc.com

The Street Architecture Prize

Want to directly effect life in the city?  Take a look at this competition, the Street Architecture Prize.  It will be awarded to an interdisciplinary team with the most innovative project for a temporary outdoor structure to be built as part of Ideas City.

More info found here

New York, Cleveland, Minneapolis…Restaurant Week Continues

Restaurant Week continues in 3 exciting cities:

New York February 16 – March 6, 2015

Cleveland February 20 – March 1, 2015

Minneapolis February 22 – 27, 2015

Support your local businesses and enjoy great meals all, at discount prices.  Win/win/win!

Support your city the culinary way – Restaurant Week

The season of Restaurant Week is upon us.  What better way to support your local community than by patronizing local restaurants, enjoying their culinary specialties and all this, at greatly reduced prices.

What could be better?!

Up first, Sweet Home Chicago, their restaurants week starts today and ends February 12, 2014.  Fourteen days of food fun, learn more here.

 

 

Most Liveable City – Monocle chooses Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a city that has developed into a place for people, pedestrians and cyclists versus a city for cars. Two Emerging.City team members visited during the winter season.  Despite the cold, they agree it is a great city for its density.  It has a strong cycling culture and a mix of old and contemporary design.

Check out this video by Monocle and see if you agree.

Copenhagen, Most Liveable City

Elevating City Life