The 2nd annual workshop of the Urban Sciences Research Coordination Network on June 11, 2014 in Chicago didn’t exactly set out to rival Spring Awakening – a thumpin’ electronic dance music festival occurring a few days later – but it turns out that social scientists, computer scientists, and young urban partygoers (Fig. 1) have much more in common than at first blush. [Read more…] about City of Big Data: Creators and Interpreters
In my previous post, I addressed some assumptions author Vishaan Chakrabarti makes in How Density Makes Us Safer During Natural Disasters. I don’t mean to single out Mr. Chakrabarti – many of his points are well-taken. Among them the reduced energy consumption of urban dwellers, balanced by his acknowledgment that “[r]egardless of the inherent environmental advantages of urban living, however, cities are vulnerable sets of materials and systems, and Sandy revealed some of their glaring deficiencies.” Over at messysystems.com, we can certainly appreciate the notion of a city’s resilience as a resultant of its systems. However, let’s look at examples of when density does and doesn’t make ‘us’ safer during disasters. [Read more…] about Disasters depend
In How Density Makes Us Safer During Natural Disasters by Vishaan Chakrabarti, the author uses the example of Hurricane Sandy’s effects within New York City to highlight urban resilience:
…higher-density neighborhoods—from downtown Brooklyn and Battery Park City up to Harlem—were up and running within a week. By contrast, lower density areas like Staten Island and Breezy Point—with their single-family homes, elevated power lines, timber construction, and auto-dependency—took longer to recover.
Springfield MPO (IL) was recently invited at the AMPO (Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations) Annual Conference in Portland (OR) to present one of the initial testing concept projects using newly released sustainability tool – INVEST 1.0 (Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool) by Federal Highway Administration. We were enormously proud to receive an overwhelming response to our work, especially on two accounts. [Read more…] about Our MPO story of ‘INVEST – A Sustainability Tool’
In Part 1 of this series, we explored the context that made greenfield or exurban sites attractive for post-earthquake recovery in Haiti, as well as two examples of this strategy. Part 2 takes us to two examples of government-built housing, the informal settlement of Canaan, and draws some conclusions. [Read more…] about Promised Lands: 5 Examples of Housing Developments in Haiti (part 2 of 2)
A good friend and colleague of mine, and a very talented architect, always insisted that with respect to social housing, ‘humanitarian design’, or whatever other term one cares to employ, we as designers should not experiment on people who have few alternatives. [Read more…] about Promised Lands: 5 Examples of Housing Developments in Haiti (part 1 of 2)
There is no away
On some philosophical level, most of us recognize the truth in this adage which has gained traction in recent years. [Read more…] about The ravines of Port-au-Prince (part 2)
The ravines of Port-au-Prince represent for me a perfect distillation of adjectives about this city.
So you are probably wondering what 50 vacant lots in an unfinished subdivision in Yorkville, IL has to do with UrbDeZine. Yorkville is a suburban community located 50 miles southwest of Chicago. You can barely go a day without reading an article about the impending death of the Suburbs and how to fix it. The promise of the American dream that the suburbs once embodied is under serious attack.. [Read more…] about Infill in the Suburbs…