Land Use


Make No Small Plans

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April 28, 2011
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.

Brave New Codes

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July 8, 2010
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.”

Watching Urban Change Via Satellite

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January 18, 2010
Recent earthquake response efforts in Haiti showed how comparing satellite imagery could help to identify physical changes in the damaged country and assist rescue workers. That same sort of imagery could play a similar role for urban planners.

January 11: buildings and roads. January 12: rubble.

The massive earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti last week toppled buildings and littered the capital city of Port-au-Prince with the crumbled concrete and shattered glass of a broken metropolis. The images beamed across the Internet show the grisly result of the devastating earthquake.

But then, a different kind of image popped up. Google Maps released a series of satellite images of different parts of the city, showing in the same scale Haiti's urban landscape shortly before and immediately after the earthquake.

Creating Neighborhood Capital from Strip Malls

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October 1, 2010
Strip malls are in virtually every American city, but they're rarely an important part of those cities. Ava Bromberg says they can be. Her idea is to turn strip malls into community-owned hubs that generate capital within their neighborhood and keep it there.

Strip malls probably don’t fit into the definition of progressive urbanism for most people, but maybe they should. Well, maybe after a little organizational tweaking.

Next Steps for Shrinking Cities: Results of the Planetizen Brainstorm

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July 9, 2009
Bulldoze? Densify? Walk away? There are many ways cities can react to shrinking populations and abandoned neighborhoods. Planetizen readers decide which ways are the best.

It's hard to think about Detroit these days without picturing empty streets, cracked windows, and chaos -- essentially, a broken city. In fact, if the idea of a "broken city" needed a poster child, Detroit would be high in the running. Between 2000 and 2007, the city lost more than 30,000 people. More than 15,000 homes are currently under bank ownership. More than 3,100 homes were torn down in 2008.

The Black Cloud: Using Games to Understand Air Quality

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September 4, 2008
Human behavior and land use affect air quality, and those effects are very distinct at the local level. A new environmental game fusing public participation, air quality sensors and web technology shows how.

Cities are polluted places, and everyone knows it. Beijing is just coming out of a month-long media barrage on the city's poor air quality. Los Angeles, the original City of Smog, has been hearing it for decades. And though the existence of pollution is well known, it's not so well understood.

LEED-ND: Creating A More Complete Vision Of Neighborhood Sustainability

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November 17, 2007
The green building standard LEED is moving beyond the structure and into the neighborhood. With the pilot phase of LEED for Neighborhood Development now underway, its organizers hope to establish a new way to create and evaluate environmental sustainability in urban design and development.

Environmental concerns have flooded into the public consciousness recently, and addressing these concerns is the new frontier of political correctness. With movies, television, and the popular media at-large increasingly tapping into the drama of climate change and environmental degradation, the past few years have brought about a widespread resurgence of the environmental movement. With that resurgence has come a boom in the green market: organic foods, hybrid cars, energy-efficient appliances, and on and on.

News Summary and Analysis - November 2006

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December 11, 2006
As part of a monthly series, we present a summary and analysis of some of the most interesting news to appear on Planetizen over the month of November 2006. This is the transcript of an audio segment that originally aired on the nationally syndicated radio program "Smart City".

In an effort to reduce traffic, cities across the globe are considering charging drivers to enter their most congested areas. Cities like London have implemented Congestion Pricing, which imposes a daily fee on drivers who enter certain high-traffic parts of the city. The New York Times reports that environmental and community groups in New York are pushing to impose congestion pricing in lower Manhattan during the busiest times of the day...