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Old 06-10-2014, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
And I never said that's what YOU said! I don't really think Pittsburgh is the "gold standard" of urban renewal or whatever the fashionable term is these days.
Okay, but what does that have to do with my post? If I was gonna say something is a gold standard, I would have referred to Portland where the city has been seen a rise of local developers and architects build the city.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:38 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 42,008,719 times
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As an aside, I would like to find an obscure, non-American city and bring it up as an urban planning example and make it my "gold standard".
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:12 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,846,931 times
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Might I recommend Curitiba?
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:24 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Might I recommend Curitiba?
How about Manaus?

Here is an interesting article about Pittsburgh, originally posted on the Pittsburgh forum. I don't quite agree with all the "rah-rah", but nevertheless.
What Smart Cities Can Learn from Pittsburgh
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Liminal Space
1,018 posts, read 1,236,068 times
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New Urbanism is on the verge of irrelevance. In 7 years as a planning professional, I have never once heard a planner actually say the words "new urbanism" or "new urbanist" (outside the internet). People talk about infill, density, mixed use, encouraging walking, bicycling, transit, etc. but not New Urbanism.

New Urbanism was the reason I became an urban planner, but more for the abstract idea it suggested than the actual movement itself. My amateur understanding of urban development, before actually studying it, was that new places in the United States were almost all suburban and what urban fabric exists consists of the urban places that existed before 1950 that haven't been demolished yet. The words "New Urbanism" hit me like a lightening bolt suggesting the idea that with better planning we could direct development investment towards existing urban neighborhoods or build new neighborhoods based on successful models of old neighborhoods.

After visiting a few actual New Urbanist developments I realized that the focus of such developments was to offer a somewhat more aesthetically pleasing version of suburbia or vacation communities for the upper-upper-middle class rather than to build, expand or reinvest in anything "urban."
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:02 PM
 
3,946 posts, read 4,047,315 times
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Quote:
better planning we could direct development investment towards existing urban neighborhoods or build new neighborhoods based on successful models of old neighborhoods
Yeah, that's exactly what the movement is, but changing 'planning' is a political thing and can take a long time. You have to change zoning and laws, and then wait for the economics to shift. And you have to realize that plenty of people *like* the aesthetics of big box stores and suburban streets, so they will be fighting against change.

On the other hand, changing the aesthetics of new developments (even if they are nowhere near an existing urban area, and as such urban constraints don't apply) is something designers and planners have control of and can do today.

You can't mistake progress in one area as denying another area.

People were going to build suburbia or something else there RIGHT NOW, and the 'something else' might as well be something more multimodal if not in any other case 'urban'.

Just to give an example in my area, 75% of new builds are greenfield, and only 25% are infill. And this is Texas, where the *majority* of building in the US has been occurring for the past 10 years. Shifting this number will take time.
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:27 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^The only New Urbanist development I have ever known of that really seems to fulfill at least some of the principles of New Urbanism is Stapleton in Denver, built on the old Stapleton airport site. Even so, people call it "suburbia in the city" which it does look like b/c all the homes are fairly new, even if they are on small lots. It's also very attractive to people with small children, so much so that one Denver poster warns people (jokingly) that they'll have a new baby if they move there. One does see lots of people driving around over there, so even though it's "walkable", people aren't always walking.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,764,345 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^The only New Urbanist development I have ever known of that really seems to fulfill at least some of the principles of New Urbanism is Stapleton in Denver, built on the old Stapleton airport site. Even so, people call it "suburbia in the city" which it does look like b/c all the homes are fairly new, even if they are on small lots. It's also very attractive to people with small children, so much so that one Denver poster warns people (jokingly) that they'll have a new baby if they move there. One does see lots of people driving around over there, so even though it's "walkable", people aren't always walking.
Is it to the point where sidewalks are often pretty deserted, even in the areas with shops? Or is it more like a decent mix of driving and walking? Were any reasons given for why Stapleton is family friendly compared to other Denver neighbourhoods? Backyards are often cited as a reason for neighbourhoods being family friendly but Stapleton seems to have smaller backyards than most of Denver.

How about Prospect in Longmont? The architecture is nice but the location might mean high car use.

I'd still like to see more quality new urbanism
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,764,345 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
Yeah, that's exactly what the movement is, but changing 'planning' is a political thing and can take a long time. You have to change zoning and laws, and then wait for the economics to shift. And you have to realize that plenty of people *like* the aesthetics of big box stores and suburban streets, so they will be fighting against change.

On the other hand, changing the aesthetics of new developments (even if they are nowhere near an existing urban area, and as such urban constraints don't apply) is something designers and planners have control of and can do today.

You can't mistake progress in one area as denying another area.

People were going to build suburbia or something else there RIGHT NOW, and the 'something else' might as well be something more multimodal if not in any other case 'urban'.

Just to give an example in my area, 75% of new builds are greenfield, and only 25% are infill. And this is Texas, where the *majority* of building in the US has been occurring for the past 10 years. Shifting this number will take time.
I still doubt very many people like the aesthetics of big box stores. Do they like the aesthetics, or are they just willing to put aesthetics aside because they consider them convenient places to shop?

For suburban streets, depends on what kind of suburban street. If we're talking about residential streets, and they're not too garage dominated, then I can see that.

I certainly wouldn't mind if new urbanists were to raise the bar for urban development (not suburban, I mean infill type stuff). For all the infill development nearby Toronto is getting, I don't think there are a whole lot of new urbanists involved. In a lot of the cities that are getting infill, much of it is bland stucco and glass boxes. Some of it is better, but it's pretty rare to something of the quality of Seaside.

As much as Torontonians compare about the architecture of their development (at least, they complain on Toronto's main online urbanism forum), some smaller cities like London, and here in Kitchener-Waterloo are probably worse. Here in Waterloo, we're finally getting a few decent projects, but there's still quite a bit that's bland.

If you want to change zoning laws, changing people's fear of infill by raising the bar helps.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:39 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
Reputation: 33083
Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Is it to the point where sidewalks are often pretty deserted, even in the areas with shops? Or is it more like a decent mix of driving and walking? Were any reasons given for why Stapleton is family friendly compared to other Denver neighbourhoods? Backyards are often cited as a reason for neighbourhoods being family friendly but Stapleton seems to have smaller backyards than most of Denver.

How about Prospect in Longmont? The architecture is nice but the location might mean high car use.

I'd still like to see more quality new urbanism
Stapleton is family friendly because a lot of young adults live there and they're having kids like crazy. For the most part, people drive around Stapleton, yes, even in the areas with shops.

Prospect New Town in Longmont is simply a housing development that calls itself "New Urbanist". It has a number of bars (seems to be a big deal among many of the urbanists on this forum) and a few shops, none of which sell anything you need for day to day living, except perhaps the wine store, since drinking seems to be a favorite activity there.
Neighborhood - Prospect Newtown

That's my issue with a lot of these NU developments; they're just housing developments with a slightly different style of homes than a suburban tract development, with some frou-frou shops and restaurants. Stapleton at least has some practical stores such as groceries, a Target, Macy's, movie theaters, even a Walmart! It also has professional offices and hair salons, things like that.
Stapleton Denver
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