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Before & After: 30 Photos that Prove the Power of Designing with Pedestrians in Mind

Providing more public space for pedestrians is one of the main goals of urban renewal projects taking place in cities around the world. 

By planting more trees, implementing more sidewalks and bike paths and establishing new seating areas, it is possible to design more welcoming places with less traffic congestion and that promote sustainable methods of transportation, such as walking or biking. 

With the aim of publicizing urban renewal projects that have made cities more pedestrian friendly, Brazilian group Urb-I launched the “Before/After” project, which compiles before and after photos that show how cities have redistributed their public space. 

The project is collaborative so that anyone can use Google Street View, or another similar tool, to raise awareness of the changes taking place in their cities. 

Read on to see the transformed spaces. 

Bold Urban Renewal Projects in City of Port Phillip, Melbourne

The City of Port Phillip near Melbourne is taking bold measures to enhance the vibrant atmosphere and livability of their city through a variety of urban renewal projects. Promoting a four part community plan of working together to take action, neighborhood development, community leadership, and monitoring progress, and fifteen priorities for action, the city's commitment to environmentally and socially conscious design and policy alongside a strong support for the arts has resulted in a number of noteworthy projects, attracting designers such as Simon Oxenham of Convic, Gregory Burgess Architects, and Paul Morgan Architects to take part.

Read on after the break to see three videos featuring the award winning projects, created by our friends at Traces Films.

Reviving Vacant Buildings: A Tale of Two Cities

A former treasure in Louisville is now nothing more than a storage facility, while a dilapidated office building in Paris has sat empty for months on end. Both of these cities are taking proactive, but wildly different, measures to help the valuable vacant buildings and lots in their jurisdictions find new life. To learn more about each city's potential solution to this global problem, keep reading after the break.

Sydney Plans Large-Scale Urban Renewal Program

The government of New South Wales have announced plans for Sydney's largest program of urban renewal since the 2000 Summer Olympics. The proposal seeks to utilise and regenerate a series of former docklands from the area of Blackwattle Bay, through the Sydney Fish Market, Rozelle Bay and Rozelle Rail Yards, to White Bay Power Station (a protected building).

The Paris Debate: Must Preservation Inhibit Urban Renewal?

What is the preservationist's role in our modernizing world? According to Michael Allen of Next City, preservationists exist to ensure that redevelopment meets both cultural heritage and economic demands. Read his entire article, originally published on Next City, below.  

The Atlanta BeltLine: From Student Thesis to Community Mobilizer

An abandoned twenty-two mile stretch of derelict railroad and industrial sites used to be a thorn in the Atlanta community's side. But with one student's thesis proposal to redevelop these areas into a sustainable network connecting 45 mixed-use neighborhoods, public concern has since turned into excitement. To learn more about the ambitious project, head over to The Atlantic Cities here.

The Beam / MVRDV and de Alzua+


Development corporation ADIM Nord with MVRDV and de Alzua+ have been announced the winners of an urban renewal competition in the French town of Villeneuve d’Ascq. Dubbed ‘The Beam’, the winning proposal will transform a cluster of disused parking lots and a former petrol station into a dense, pedestrianized haven, whose 15,000 square meters of offices, retail space and lodging will hover over the adjacent motorway as a icon of a larger urban regeneration effort for the town center.

More information on The Beam after the break...

A "High Line" Makeover for A Former Railroad in Philly?

The unused Reading Railroad, in Philadelphia.
The unused Reading Railroad, in Philadelphia.

From a park in a forgotten metro station to a human-sized “LEGO” bridge (see our post: The 4 Coolest “High Line” Inspired Projects), the massive success of New York City‘s High Line continues to inspire citizens across the globe to see their city’s forgotten spaces with new eyes – as opportunities for action.