Urban Design For Everyone (UD4U)

By Matthew Clapper | Most recent and interesting Urban Design news, brought to you by the team at udforu.com

Can the Arts Save These Struggling Towns in Postindustrial America?

The scene in Trinidad, Colorado, on a recent Friday afternoon could have sprung from the lines of Walt Whitman’s poem, “I Hear America Singing.” …

Colorado Springs

Los Angeles Is Painting Streets White To Fight Urban Warming

via twitter.com/BSSLosAngeles<p>If you’ve ever walked barefoot on asphalt on a hot summer day, you know that it gets pretty darn hot. It also does a …

Los Angeles

How Houston’s Urban Planning Made A Catastrophic Storm Even Worse

Houston was never designed to quickly bounce back from storms like Harvey.<p>Hurricane Harvey, the strongest hurricane to hit the United States in a decade, pummeled the coast of Texas this weekend. Thirty inches of rain has fallen in the Houston area, and flood waters have inundated the city and …

Urban Design

Houston's Flood Is a Design Problem

It’s not because the water comes in. It’s because it is forced to leave again.<p>Floods cause greater property damage and more deaths than tornadoes or hurricanes. And Houston’s flood is truly a disaster of biblical proportions: The sky unloaded 9 trillion gallons of water on the city within two days, …

Urban Design

The Dutch Understand Flooding. Why Can't America Manage It?

More than a decade after Katrina pummeled New Orleans, Harvey has swamped Houston and highlighted the basic flaws in America’s approach to an imminent deluge.<p><i>This article is adapted from</i> <i>a column</i> <i>published by the nonprofit online news service</i> <i>The Lens</i><i>, and used with permission.</i><p>August brings poignance …

New Orleans

You Can’t Erase Urban Homeless By Making Them “Illegal”

They loiter, they sit, even sprawl on the sidewalk. Often we avert our eyes to their condition. Police see the homeless as a nuisance and they are …

Poverty

What the Controlled Chaos of Burning Man Reveals About Cities

Every year, for the past 26 years, something truly remarkable happens: an entire city appears out of the desert. I’m speaking, of course, of Black …

Festivals

Designing a Megacity for Mental Health

A new report assesses how Tokyo’s infrastructure affects residents’ emotional well-being, offering lessons for other cities.<p>The Tokyo-based psychiatrist Layla McCay says that though the prevalence of mental illness in Japan is comparable to other countries, people don’t talk about it much. “There …

Cities

Chicago River Edge Ideas Lab

“Our rivers are already tremendous assets, but they hold the potential for much more.”<i><br>—Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago</i>

Rahm Emanuel

Can Craft Breweries Transform America's Post-Industrial Neighborhoods?

A new study tells the story of craft beer’s astonishing rise and geographic clustering.<p>I enjoy living in Canada for many reasons, but one downside has been my distance from my home country’s craft beer revival. Since Canada’s outmoded liquor laws prevent much of the good stuff from flowing across …

Beer

Mesmerizing maps show where the most educated Americans live

You may not know your neighbors by name, but you can at least know them by education level.<p>Kyle Walker, an assistant professor of geography at Texas Christian University, has created an interactive dot map visualizing US neighborhoods by educational attainment.<p>Each dot represents between 25-500 …

Kyle Walker

Can the Paris Gondola Succeed Where London's Failed?

France has a grand plan for remaking urban transit, and it’s full of aerial cable cars.<p>In 2021, Greater Paris may be leading Europe’s most unlikely transit revolution: It will put its first-ever urban gondola in service. Starting at a suburban metro terminus, the aerial cable-car link will join up …

Cities

13 cities that are starting to ban cars

In 2015, Oslo announced a plan to ban all cars from its city center by 2019. As the Guardian notes, the plan received some protest from businesses, so the city came up with a clever solution.<p>Instead of kicking out cars, Oslo's council said in June 2017 that it will just make it harder for them to …

Urban Design

The Next Big Challenge for Small Downtowns

America’s smaller cities are winning people back with an explosion of new residential and entertainment options. Now they need to get serious about private sector job growth—and tech isn’t the silver bullet.<p>For downtowns in major American cities, these are boom times. The urban centers of New York …

Cities

Let's All Swim in the Once-Filthy Canals of Paris

Unlike many cities, the French capital has made good on its promise to re-open urban waterways to bathers. How did they do it?<p>We’ve all heard promises from cities to make their once-fetid urban waterways swimmable—probably too many. Boston has been pledging to extend the Charles River’s swimmable …

France

This city needs less parking, shorter buildings and more building incentives, experts say.

When Palmetto Bay set out to create a vibrant, desirable downtown in 2013, the city put together a task force and charged it with sketching out a …

Cities

Grocery stores could save dying suburban shopping malls

Since the 1950s, department chains like Sears and J.C. Penney have anchored suburban shopping malls. But hundreds of stores are expected to soon close their doors. Sears, an iconic mall mainstay, plans to shutter more than 300 locations in the US by the end of this year, and J.C. Penney recently …

eCommerce

Norway’s Plan To Get Rid Of Cars Involves A New Billion-Dollar Bike Highway

A rider can cruise at up to 25 miles per hour from the suburbs to the cities.<p>Norway is trying to get rid of as many cars as it can. By 2030, though the country’s population is quickly growing, the government is aiming for zero growth in private car use. Downtown Oslo will be car-free in three …

Transportation

11 billion-dollar mega-projects that will transform the world's greatest cities by 2035

The world is rapidly urbanizing. The United Nations predicts that the number of people living in cities could double by 2050 — to 6.5 billion.<p>To accommodate growing populations, cities like Paris, New York, and Tokyo are building more housing and public resources, including parks, schools, and …

Urban Design

Revealed: the insidious creep of pseudo-public space in London

Pseudo-public space – squares and parks that seem public but are actually owned by corporations – has quietly spread across cities worldwide. As the Guardian maps its full extent in London for the first time, Jack Shenker reports on a new culture of secrecy and control, where private security …

Cities

Mexico City is kicking its parking addiction. Can U.S. cities do the same?

By dropping rules that mandate more parking spaces, the largest city in North America will become more affordable and transit-friendly<p>This week, Mexico City took a big step towards making housing more affordable and transit more efficient. Did it pass a new budget that funded new apartments, or …

Urban Design

Bikes Aren’t Just Good For You, They’re Good For The Economy, Too

The information in this hand graphic makes it clear that spending money on bike infrastructure can have far-reaching positive economic impacts.<p>By now, we all know that cycling is good for health, fitness, cutting road accidents, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing energy security (and so on, …

Cycling

Honolulu's Rapid Transit Crisis

Traffic in Hawaii’s capital is terrible, but construction on a rail system may now cost as much as $13 billion while alleviating road congestion by as little as one percent.<p>Despite a famously laid-back culture, Honolulu’s traffic is about as bad as it gets. In a bid to unsnarl its highways a bit in …

Urban Design

They discover, they gentrify, they ruin: How 'progress' is wrecking Los Angeles neighborhoods

A few months ago, on a Sunday morning, I drove from my house near the Venice Pier over to Abbot Kinney Boulevard to meet my cousin for a cup of coffee at Blue Bottle, which is to coffee what the French Laundry is to dinner: peak fetishization. (But yes, of course, delicious!)<p>I circled the block a …

Los Angeles

Ann Arbor's greenbelt program now protecting over 5,000 acres

The city completed the purchase of another conservation easement on roughly 250 acres.

Ann Arbor

An American Blueprint for Smarter Cities Arrives in France

Bloomberg Philanthropies teams up with French cities trying to break out of the national mold.<p>Can an American organization teach the French to run their cities better? This month, Bloomberg Philanthropies are moving into as yet uncharted territory by extending their Innovation Team program to …

Cities

A portrait of a dense city

Once a land of spacious abodes, Vancouver is becoming crowded – and residents are feeling the squeeze<p><i>Dense City: The Globe and Mail's B.C. bureau is spending the summer examining how Vancouver's increasing density is shaping the city and its residents. This is the first in a series.</i><p>A century ago, …

Cities

Gender makes a world of difference for safety on public transport

Urban environments are not gender-neutral. Architects and urban designers are increasingly seeking to understand how gender-sensitive design can …

Asian cities overtaking "impossible" London and "terrible" New York in urban design, says Winy Maas

"Monster cities" in Asia including Seoul, Taipei and Jakarta are racing ahead of western counterparts in terms of architectural vision and urban …

Cities