The urban reinvestment and renewal efforts of the last half-century left a legacy of neglect and underinvestment in many American cities. Now that pattern is shifting.
Large-scale public housing projects and forced relocation programs created pockets of poverty in inner cities, concentrating the problems of low-income urbanites and not really doing much to effectively solve them. The concept of urban reinvestment has, understandably, developed a negative connotation over the years.
Facing budget cuts, transit agencies building new rail projects are struggling to make the trains run on time—or at all.
Public transit needs public funding. And that goes way beyond the fare box. Local, state, and federal dollars are the lifeblood of public transportation projects in the United States. But with the country in recovery from the recession and states cutting back programs to close budget holes, support for public transit looks to be grinding to a halt.
Grounding architecture within a larger building ecology.
Regional issues such as stormwater treatment and energy production have become major elements of the design of architectural projects, even at a very small scale. As demand for natural resources rises and the impact of pollution spreads, taking these issues into consideration is likely to become a more important part of urban planning and architecture. This year’s national AIA convention recognizes the shift with its theme “Regional Design Revolution: Ecology Matters.”
But many argue that the long-term thinking of regionalism is still a burgeoning concept.
The project-manager-turned-public-servant discusses the ideas that helped him defeat an incumbent for a seat on West Hollywood’s city council.
John D’Amico, 47, is the newest member of the City Council of West Hollywood, Calif., which is a small, independent city of 34,000 people almost completely surrounded by the metropolis of Los Angeles. But unlike the typical cadre of attorneys and organizers who fill these sorts of seats in cities across the country, D’Amico comes to his new role with a master’s degree in architecture and urban design and a second in aesthetics and politics, plus more than 20 years of experience in the field.
Cities and towns across the country are abandoning conventional zoning codes in favor of a New Urbanist alternative, the form-based code. Some architects have embraced the change, but others are wary.
Nobody ever really reads a zoning code, unless you want to rewrite it. That’s what the city of Miami experienced over the past five years as it replaced its old zoning code with a new one, dubbed Miami 21.
“I’ll tell you one thing: Miami 21, everybody read,” says former Mayor Manny Diaz. “From commas and semicolons to substantive provisions.”
If you’re being taken for granted, it can be hard to tell. Just ask the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED certification system.
For years, as more and more flashy new buildings lined up for their bona fides, LEED routinely allowed them to stand on its shoulders and reap the benefits of sustainable credentials and higher property values. But once the certifications had been awarded, did those buildings look back? Did they keep the green promises they’d made?
“It’s been like an arranged marriage. You go to the ceremony, then never see each other again,” says green building consultant Jerry Yudelson about LEED, now in its third major iteration. “That’s not the way it’s going to be going forward.”
Could portable, easy-to-print holograms be the next big thing in design visualization?
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” That was the call of desperation from an imprisoned Princess Leia in the original Star Wars movie. She was just 12 inches tall at the time, and she wasn’t even really there—she was a hologram. In the real world, holograms haven’t quite yet reached that level, but they’re getting close...
AC Martin's new police station in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles strives to create a strong sense of community.
When the city of Los Angeles announced it wanted to redesign 13 of the city’s aging police stations, architect David Martin set his sights on a station in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in town: Boyle Heights. “It’s a rough, tough area,” says Martin, principal at local architecture and planning firm AC Martin. “So we thought, of all the sites, we might really be able to make a difference on this one.”