The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on October 29, 2012

  • Provocative talk by Kent Larson. Covers “mobility on demand”; land utilization (which is better with shared vehicles); how to get 7 vehicles into the “space” of 1; democratizing access to bike lanes; re-thinking housing by probing development of micro-units and creating “technology enabled infill” (furnishings); approaching apartment infill (furnishings/ walls/ etc.) like vehicles, building robotic walls, etc. Larson notes that architects have been thinking about this for a while, and that what we need now are developments that can scale (meet demand in China, eg.). Most interesting take also on “personalizing sunlight.” Concludes: cities are all about people; what we need to focus on are people.
    In this TEDPrize City 2.0 talk Kent Larson, director of the MIT Media Lab Changing Places’ group, tackles the problems of increased congestion and pollution with new models for urban dwellings, shared-use vehicles, and responsive environments.
    See also

    tags: tedx kent_larson boston cities development video youtube

  • Another great article from Placemakers. Seven points, explained. See article:
    1. Good governance
    2. Walkable, connected, mixed-use character
    3. Parks and gardens
    4. Partnerships
    5. Programming
    6. Neighborhood-responsive schools
    7. Tree culture
    In sustainability’s triple bottom line of profits, planet and people, it’s people that tend to get the shaft. There’s an entire industry surrounding environmental advocacy and we can always count on business interests to fight for stable economies, but what about the social resilience of our communities?

    Personally, I consider the social leg to be the most critical, as I’m unconvinced that we’ll ever be able to effectively handle the challenges of the other two — especially at the local level in times of turmoil and change — in the absence of the rich social interdependencies that used to define us.

    Get reconnected first. Then save the planet and the economy.

    tags: scott_doyon placemakers urbanplanning liveability

  • Another great article, point-by-point form, with excellent visual comparisons, on the compensation analysis of placemaking:
    1. Pedestrian Propulsion
    2. Downtown Living
    3. Small Yard (or no Yard)
    4. Small Dwelling
    5. Master on the Main
    6. Freeway Removal
    7. Parking Deck
    (see article for full details and images)
    Call it “Fair Trade Placemaking” — complementing the quantifiable measures of economics with the qualitative ones people use in their ultimate perceptions of value.

    tags: placemakers nathan_norris urbanplanning cities liveability

  • Great article that outlines six ways that density and walkability pays:
    1. Building Equity: Commercial and Home Values
    2. Building City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased Costs
    3. Building Health: Cycling and Walking
    4. Building Connections: Social Capital
    5. Building Supply: Market Preference
    6. Decreasing Emissions: VMT and Gas Pump Bills

    tags: urbanism urbanplanning placemakers hazel_borys cities walkability trends

  • Interview with David Cay Johnston, author of The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use ‘Plain English’ to Rob You Blind. Must-read. Why are we so ignorant of what has been happening? One reason:
    SP: If this has been such a dramatic occurrence, why has the media failed to cover what’s happening?

    DCJ: We used to cover more of this, but the fastest disappearing job in America is journalist. In some cities 75 percent of the reporting jobs are gone. These deals also require journalists with high levels of skills who understand government, regulation, taxes and lobbying, but journalism wages are falling fast. One study showed the average reporter pay is now the national average for all jobs. Consultants have also told newspapers for years that readers want soft features and beautiful layouts more than hard news, which is expensive to produce. That our society worships corporations and the rich also detracts from serious coverage.

    SP: People aren’t exactly revolting against the system. What would compel the American people who believe as you do to act to change how the marketplace works?

    DCJ: Knowledge. If you do not know that you are being ripped off, and how, then you cannot focus yourself and others on a response. What I write about in THE FINE PRINT should have been page one news in papers across the country –and had it been many of these outrages would have been stopped. Information is power. The companies that profit from the new rules and laws know that so they work very hard to make things obscure and, if they become known to make them sound complicated. As I show, though, once you understand the principles it is all easy to understand.

    tags: capitalism david_cay_johnston smartplanet corporatism scandal

  • Thoughtful article about strip malls, and how they could be re-structured to resemble boulevards.
    While both the arterial and the multi-way boulevard handle lots of traffic, give stores parking in front, and serve as regional commercial corridors, the subtle difference of a connected high-quality pedestrian realm versus the disconnected individual access of a strip mall actually ends up producing a very striking contrast. Here is what the multi-way boulevard allows:

    The connected, pedestrian friendly sidewalk near the store encourages walking.
    Encouraged walkers will park once and access more stores and other land uses, thus reducing car trips on the faster moving center lanes.
    Happy pedestrian environments attract other possible building uses including office, hotels, and even residential.
    Because the parking lane is accessed at one point (at the beginning of every block) rather than at every parcel, there are fewer accesses interrupting the faster moving center lanes which makes traffic engineers and motorists happy.
    Stores that are asked to move up to the sidewalk and be more “livable” still get some parking in front of the store (with the rest in the rear for longer term and overflow parking).
    And the ultimate advantage? Economic development. The more attractive boulevard builds value for the municipality, increases livability, increases tax base per infrastructure, and becomes a destination for visitors. (Hey, apparently anyone can build a big dumb arterial street).

    tags: boulevards stripmalls urbanplanning placemakers geoff_dyer

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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