On a blistery, cold but sunny morning in Brooklyn, Future Planners organized a Walk & Talk Tour™ for a group of children (and their parents). These energized kids took to the streets to voice their thoughts on the cityscape that surrounds them daily. From two to seven years old, they shared their thoughts on what they like and dislike along Atlantic Avenue, a street that three centuries ago started as a dirt road which lead to the Patchen Farm located, along the East River. Fast toward to today and Atlantic Ave is one of the most important arteries of the Brooklyn borough.
For some this was a new experience, others were veterans of previous Future Planners events and enrichment classes for kids. What they all had in common was enthusiasm and a forthright conviction on their ideas about how they experience their community. Suggestions ranged from updating bus shelter benches to become user-friendly for the homeless, to using bike racks as jungle gyms. Their suggestions fluctuated from fun and frivolous, to politically sensitive.
Having children lead adults, sharing their passion for what they see, feel and experience instills an awareness that as young city-zens their voices matter. Small yet powerful events such as these are an important step in creating a sense of civic participation, making our cities more sustainable for all generations.
Discussing Bus Shelters
Analyzing City Maps
Sampling Urban Furniture
Testing Citi Bikes
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.
“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
Happy Women’s Day to all past, present and future women urban planners, designers and thinkers.
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.
Feature Photography Credit: JHB Gallery
Pier 36 Photography Credit: docknyc.com
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
The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) poses this question – how can we get people more engaged, more productive, and happier at work?
And Emerging.City asks, how will the ideas presented in the video effect our communities, directly and indirectly?
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!
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.
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