• Great idea: Sustainable urbanism

    The trend toward complete communities shapes the debate on sustainability and environmentalism, and vice-versa.
    In celebration of the upcoming CNU 25.Seattle , Public Square is running the series 25 Great Ideas of the New Urbanism. These ideas have been shaped by new urbanists and continue to influence cities, towns, and suburbs. The series is meant to inspire and challenge those working toward complete...Read more
  • Need quick public buy-in on climate action? Think urban heat islands

    As a strategy, it’s local, less controversial and far more manageable, with actionable steps that give quick, tangible feedback while simultaneously addressing climate change.
    Climate change is arguably the biggest challenge facing humanity. It is categorically and qualitatively different from the long list of chronic troubles that civilization has always faced, from poverty and disease to crime and war. Importantly, cities are no longer seen as the problem, as they were...Read more
  • Street trees are essential for Walk Appeal

    Trees should be planted either in swales (on primarily residentail streets) or in tree wells (on Main Streets). Do not listen to “urban foresters,” who insist that trees must be planted in landscape beds large enough for their mature drip lines.
    Street trees are essential for strong Walk Appeal almost anywhere in the US, which makes them a fundamental part of the public frontage, which extends from the property line to the edge of the street. We’ll talk about other public frontage parts later, but street trees are so important that they...Read more
  • A tale of two futures

    Urbanism will play a key role in a choice between an “age of human capital” and an age of depletion and division.
    Before she died, the great urbanist Jane Jacobs was known to be working on a book project about a subject she referred to as “the coming age of human capital.” This work seemed to represent a culmination of her earlier writings on urban economics and regeneration, and her later focus on human...Read more