The cul-de-sac is losing favor with most planners and many homeowners, minus sprawl-lovin’ Southern California, according to a recent L.A. Times article. After decades hearing of trapped teenagers and families forced to drive everywhere to access basic services, communities nationwide are seeking alternatives. A neighborhood in Irvine California is transforming cul-de-sac woes by simply adding bridges and paths that link otherwise isolated housing tracts to neighboring schools, shopping centers, and churches. Retrofitting the suburbs can start with simple steps.
Seattle voters officially rejected both the viaduct replacement and a four-lane tunnel options on Tuesday’s ballot, showing that more and more people are starting to share the vision articulated by John Norquist of CNU, Scott Bernstein of CNT and Seattle's Cary Moon and fellow advocates -- a waterfront complemented by improved surface streets and transit service, not an ovescaled highway. Councilman Peter Steinbrueck, the council’s vocal surface-transit cheerleader, is proposing an ordinance to require the DOT to study this option. Still, some, including Mayor Greg Nickels, are skeptical of Steinbrueck’s plan that would rely heavily on the grid to absorb traffic.
Staff writer Jerry W. Jackson gives us a glimpse into the coming decade's homebuilding trends in his February 9 Orlando Sentinel article. From his article we learn that the ballooning square footage trends we've seen over the past three decades will probably level off in years to come; however, such hi-tech ammenities as coffee centers and iris-scan security systems are on the rise. Green trends look promising too, as greater supply brings down prices.
New Urbanism is gaining steam these days, in blue states and red states. As seen in Grist Magazine's recent interview with Mayor Rocky Anderson, conservative Salt Lake City is pulsing with green technology and dense, transit-friendly development that's putting many progressive American cities to shame. The city has implemented the internationally-recognized Salt Lake City Green program, a methane-capturing facility, numerous LEED-certified buildings, and people are now willing to raise sales taxes to increase transit service.
Andres Duany’s suggestions on how to save New Orleans may be falling on fertile ground these days. My analysis: people are beginning to sense Duany's’ genuine appreciation for New Orleans, a city which evokes his emotional attachment to similar cities found in his native Cuba, and that his suggestions are addressing practical concerns such as parking issues voiced by local residents. People are seeing that Duany is not playing SimCity with their town.
Nearly a year and a half have passed since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast as well as the unveiling of New Urbanism's latest poster child--the Katrina Cottage. What began as a response to razed housing in Louisiana and Mississippi is now expanding elsewhere. A new round of manufactured cottages have hit the market with potential to gain popularity beyond the Gulf.
The Johnson's recently became the recipients of a donated manufactured home to replace their existing home in Montgomery, MD.
This home is the first of many designed by architect Steve Mouzon who also created the now infamous Katrina Cottage which he called a "FEMA trailer with dignity." The home was generously donated by Housing International, Inc., and given to the Johnson's through a local housing agency when their current home fell under sever need of repair amidst financial struggles.
Green building standards are getting greener. Charles Shaw hunts down cutting-edge environmental advocates such as green architect Doug Farr, one of the leaders of the anticipated new green rating system called LEED-Neighborhood Design (LEED-ND). The LEED-ND Core Committee hopes to launch this impressive eco-friendly rating system by 2009. Shaw’s enlightening visits uncover ways this voluntary green development option will help sustain our planet, that is if developers and homeowners choose to go green.
John Norquist and Scott Bernstein shed light on Seattle’s latest Alaskan Viaduct considerations. After reviewing WSDOT’s analysis of the “no-replacement” option, Norquist and Bernstein find exaggerated assumptions and inadequate considerations as to how traffic in downtown Seattle can be absorbed by the existing street grid. According to the columnists, the “no-replacement” option could reduce traffic congestion, increase economic vitality in downtown Seattle, and help the region meet its desired air quality standards.
One year after Katrina, New Orleans is still behind the eight ball when it comes to rebuilding. However, with the help of a Rockefeller grant, the Great New Orleans Foundation is heading a neighborhood-scale rebuilding effort that employs several new urbanist architects. In the recent posting in Slate online magazine, Rybczynski looks to a major new urbanist project in Denver as a reference point for New Orleans’ rebuilding possibilities. Many questions remain as to how an old city like New Orleans will balance its immediate needs while protecting its distinctive character.