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Posts tagged "Urban Planning"

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It’s Smart to Be Dense

As the world’s population continues to urbanize, our cities have two options for growth: densify or sprawl. To accommodate a more populous and more prosperous world, the spread-out, car-dependent model of the 20th century must change. In this video, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and Streetfilms team up to bring you the most important reasons for building dense.

If you like this one, don't miss our other productions with ITDP:

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London’s Do-It-Yourself Approach to Safer Streets

In the UK, the non-profit Sustrans is pioneering a community-based method to reclaim streets from high-speed traffic and make neighborhoods safer and more sociable places.

Called "DIY Streets," the program brings neighbors together to help them redesign their streets in a way that puts people, safety, and streetlife first. So far, individual streets have benefited from DIY redesigns in 11 communities in England and Wales. Recently Streetfilms got a walk through of one successful DIY project -- on Clapton Terrace in London. With the people who made it happen as our guides, we saw how planners and neighbors collaborated to transform a place where speeding used to rule into a local street with calm traffic and safe space to socialize.

Can the DIY model work on a bigger scale than an individual street? We're about to find out: Residents of the London Borough of Haringey will soon be working with Sustrans on the first neighborhood-wide DIY project.

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Building Greenways and Community in the Bronx

The Bronx River Greenway and South Bronx Greenway plans apply community-driven design strategies to help undo years of top down, auto-centric planning and development in the Bronx. The greenways, when completed, will create a network of safe bicycle and pedestrian paths and routes, parks, and waterfront access points throughout the borough. See the Bronx River Alliance's 2009 calendar for a list of events and activities planned on or around the Bronx River. Also be sure to check out Sustainable South Bronx and The Point Community Development Corporation for more information about the projects and for ways to get involved.

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Curitiba’s BRT: Inspired Bus Rapid Transit Around the World

Curitiba, Brazil first adopted its Master Plan in 1968. Since then, it has become a city well known for inventive urban planning and affordable (to the user and the city) public transportation.

Curitiba's Bus Rapid Transit system is the source of inspiration for many other cities including the TransMilenio in Bogotá, Colombia; Metrovia in Guayaquil, Ecuador; as well as the Orange Line of Los Angeles.

This video illustrates how Curitiba's public transportation system operates and the urban planning and land use principles on which it is based, including an interview with the former Mayor and architect Jaime Lerner. Current city employees also discuss the improvements that are being made to the system to keep it up to date and functioning at the capacity of a typical subway system. Curitiba is currently experimenting with adding bypassing lanes on the dedicated BRT routes and smart traffic lights to prioritize buses. They are even constructing a new line which will have a linear park and 18km of bike lane that parallels the bus transit route.

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Piazza Saint Francis: A Proposed Urban Park in San Francisco

One of San Francisco's cherished literary icons -- poet, painter and City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti -- is celebrating his 90th birthday today, and we thought it would be fitting to bring you his vision for transforming a small block of Vallejo Street in the city's historic North Beach into what would be called the Piazza Saint Francis.

The piazza would be built outside Caffe Trieste, a European-style coffeehouse that for many years has been the gathering place of poets, writers, artists, and filmmakers, including the Beat Generation writers.

Ferlinghetti founded the Piazza Saint Francis Foundation and is working with the San Francisco Planning Department, and many others, including film director Francis Ford Coppola, who worked on his screenplay for the "The Godfather" in Trieste, to create an Italian-style piazza, with inscriptions on the paving stones from up to 30 or 40 authors, mostly poets.

The biggest obstacle to realizing the project is the estimated $3.5 million price tag. The city can't afford to do it, so private funds will need to be raised to make it happen.

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Making a Better Market Street

Just about everyone who visits San Francisco's grand Market Street is awed by its hustle and bustle, the myriad modes of transportation, and some of the most beautiful architecture in the city. But just about everyone also agrees that Market Street has much bigger potential as a space that accommodates its users in more efficient and human terms. Parts of the street are in disrepair; whole blocks contain more boarded up facades than functioning businesses.

Streetfilms was able to talk to many advocates who would like to see a different configuration of Market Street -- folks who have already invested in making it better, and passersby who use it as a daily commuting option. It's fair to say not all ideas are universally accepted among all stakeholders, but hopefully their thoughts can serve as a springboard to a bigger discussion on what to do when Market Street is finally re-examined and re-paved.

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An Alfresco chat with Jan Gehl

Every time we manage to snag an interview with Jan Gehl, it ends up being one of the coldest days of the Fall. But that didn't stop the Danish livable streets maestro from grabbing a table in New York City's new wonderful public space, Madison Square, to chat with Streetsblog's Editor-in-chief Aaron Naparstek.

It was just a little over two years ago we talked with Mr. Gehl in the iconic Times Square "bowtie" where he offered up a sobering evaluation of the lack of public space in NYC. You can watch that here. But thanks to recent initiatives by the NYC DOT, these days the future looks more promising for pedestrians and cyclists. During their conversation Mr. Gehl and Aaron covered much ground including the rapid pace of the transformation of our streets, the concepts behind the fluidity of traffic, the release of World Class Streets: Remaking New York City's Public Realm, and the democratic process - with a shout out to our future 44th prez!

If you love this, don't miss some of our past interviews. Here are just a few: Janette Sadik-Khan. Enrique Penalosa. Gridlock Sam. Donald Shoup. Randy Cohen.

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A New Vision for the Upper West Side

Supporters of a greener, safer and more livable Upper West Side were joined by elected officials, renowned urban planner Jan Gehl and P.S. 87 students in the Livable Streets Education program, to celebrate the launch of the "Blueprint for the Upper West Side: A Roadmap for Truly Livable Streets," at P.S. 87 on Thursday. Check out The Upper West Side Streets Renaissance Campaign on Livable Streets to learn more about the plan and how you can take action to make changes in your neighborhood.

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Depaving Day!

The Towards Carfree Cities VIII kicked off Monday in Portland, Oregon with an exciting community event. Hundreds of conference participants helped break and remove asphalt from a 3000 square foot parking lot. Depave.org is the mastermind behind the Fargo Garden Project. They promote the removal of unnecessary concrete and asphalt from urban areas. Depave.org will continue to work with Goldsmith Properties to transform this now asphalt-free site into a community greenspace. Once completed, the site will be used to educate the public about pavement removal and storm water drainage management. Notice an example of Depave's work in this video at founder Arif Khan's house.Music by Reptet and Dreamtime Stilters.

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Melbourne: A Pedestrian Paradise

Finally cajoled into taking the long trip to Melbourne, I was told to expect a city where walking abounded, where the streets were flowing with energy, where the quality of public space would blow my mind. Little did I know my already high expectations would be pleasantly exceeded.

Melbourne is simply wonderful. You can get lost in the nooks and crannies that permeate the city. As you walk you feel like free-flowing air with no impediments to your enjoyment. For a city with nearly 4 million people, the streets feel much like the hustle and bustle of New York City but without omnipresent danger and stress cars cause.

Read more...

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Taking a Bite out of Traffic in Istanbul, Turkey

I recently visited Istanbul, Turkey and was struck immediately by the car traffic congestion. However, knowing that Istanbul hosted the World Carfree Conference last year, I set out to uncover what NYC can learn from a city with a population of 12 million plus people, 2.4 million cars and at least 100,000 new vehicles each year.

I met up with urban planner, World Carfree Network Advisory Board Member and local StreetStar, Kevser Üstündag. As a professor at the Architectural Faculty of Mimar Sinan Fine Art University in Istanbul, she teaches about the social, environmental and economical impacts of urban transportation planning. In this video she discusses the importance of adjusting urban planning to the needs of people - including public transportation, pedestrian only streets, and Car-free Sundays.

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In Davis’ Platinum City Even the Munchkins Ride Bikes

With New York City recently scoring a medallion for "Bronze Achievement in Bicycling Direction" by the "LAB Academy" (you like us! you really like us!) we figured it was a good time to post our very brief StreetFilms visit to Davis, California back in August 2007. Even though Portland, Oregon is nipping at their heels, Davis is still the only city in America to attain the very prestigious Platinum status for overall bicycle friendliness in a city.

Credit for Davis's bike-friendliness goes back to the 1960's when forward-thinking University of California urban planners began thinking about ways to make it safe and convenient for college students and city residents to travel safely by bike. During an era when most California towns were focused on building freeways, strip malls and suburban arterials, Davis's planning wizards were developing off-street greenways, bike lanes and installing bike racks everywhere.

In the last decade, an influx of car-commuters moving to Davis from nearby Sacramento and San Francisco has decreased the bike commuting mode share from 25 percent to 18 percent. Still, Davis remains an amazing place to use a bike for transportation. Any place that has eliminated school buses and have children riding bikes to school is doing something right. And check this out -- Davis has its own Wiki page devoted to bicycling.

Now click your heels four times and repeat after me, "There's no place like Davis. There's no place like Davis. There's no place..."

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Reclaiming Grand Army Plaza

Anyone who lives near Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza knows it is a nightmare to navigate if you are a pedestrian or cyclist. And with its proximity to Prospect Park it's also an area with vast potential for becoming one of the most popular public spaces in Brooklyn.

The Grand Army Plaza Coalition formed in the Spring of 2006 to help improve the area. Community driven, it is a prime example of how the public planning process should work and how the Department of Transportation should support such efforts from citizens to improve their quality of life. After all: no one knows a neighborhood better than the people who live there.

GAPCO groupGAPCO Charette 2GAPCO people3

Recently, fifty members of the community met to brainstorm ideas of how to make the plaza safer, more accessible, greener, and people-oriented. The workshop was facilitated by Project for Public Spaces, which specializes in community Placemaking activities.

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Interview with Enrique Peñalosa

As mayor of Bogota, Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa accomplished remarkable changes of monumental proportions for the people of his country in just three years.

Penalosa BRT

Peñalosa changed the way Bogota treated its non-driving citizens by restricting automobile use and instituting a bus rapid transit system which now carries a 1/2 million residents daily. Among other improvements: he widened and rebuilt sidewalks, created grand public spaces, and implemented over one hundred miles of bicycle paths.

Penalosa Bike Lanes

TOPP Executive Director Mark Gorton discusses with Penalosa some of these transportation achievements and asks what the future could hold for NYC if similar improvements were made here.

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Portland, Ore. – Festival Streets

The Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT) recently completed work on two Festival Streets, a new experiment that uses traffic calming and unique streetscape features to create a street that can easily be converted to public use on weekends or for special events. Here, Ellen Vanderslice (PDOT Project Management) and Lloyd D. Lindley (Urban Designer/Landscape Architect) explain a few of the street's pedestrian features and why it is so important for the surrounding Old Town/Chinatown community.