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Kaley Overstreet

B.S. in Architecture and Master of Architecture from Ohio State Knowlton School. Master of Science in Real Estate Development at Columbia University. Senior Contributor at ArchDaily. New York, NY. Interested in strategic development of cities at the intangible scale.

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How Mixed-Use Neighborhoods Can Reduce Crime Rates

The planning and design of mixed-use neighborhoods and individual mixed-use developments are on the rise. Many of the places we frequent most feature a variety of programs, bringing many of life's daily conveniences to one place. But mixed-use spaces do more than just create a diverse array of experiences in cities- they might also help contribute to lower crime rates.

A View From the Top: The History of Observation Towers

There’s something magical about seeing a city from the very top. To have a new vantage point, and look across a skyline instead of looking up at it is one of the most powerful and awe-inspiring feelings. Observation decks are not just architectural marvels, but also a sort of civic icon and sense of pride for a city. In the present day, it’s not just their height that draws people in, but the additional programming of sky-high bars, rides, and bungee jumping as well.

The History of the Penrose Stair and its Influence on Design

Stairs in architecture are oftentimes a design focal point- the heavyhandedness in creating something that moves us from one level to the next, up and down repeatedly, something so simple and familiar with a twist is what makes the experience of traversing a stair so unique. Our obsession with stairs and the level of illusion that they create in architecture perhaps stems from the way that they’re able to twist the optics and perceptions of space. We understand that they transport us in one direction or another, but can stairs ever be circular? Is it possible to go up and down for eternity? 

Built to Not Last: The Japanese Trend of Replacing Homes Every 30 Years

In most countries around the world, value is placed on older buildings. There’s something about the history, originality, and charm of an older home that causes their value to sometimes be higher than newly constructed projects. But in Japan, the opposite is almost always the preference. Newly-built homes are the crux of a housing market where homes are almost never sold and the obsession with razing and rebuilding is as much a cultural thing as it is a safety concern, bringing 30-year-old homes to a valueless market.

© Takawo© Tatiana KnorozCourtesy of NKS ArchitectsCourtesy of designboom+ 5

The Psychological Effects of Watching Cities Get Destroyed in Cinema

The stage is set in one of the most iconic “end of the world” movie scenes: Citizens of New York City are scrambling on top of taxis, quickly attempting to escape the slow-moving giant tsunami heading their way. In the rear-view mirror of a bus, a giant wave can be seen rushing up the narrow city grid. Searching for higher ground, the main characters, Sam and Laura, run up the famed stairs into the famed New York Public Library, and just as the revolving doors shut behind them, the pressure of the water smashes the windows, and water begins to rise. Without seeing it, we know that New York City and its iconic architecture will soon be destroyed.

Rising from the Desert: A 15-Minute City is Coming to Utah

15-minute cities are a trending urban planning topic that has long been discussed academically and is now slowly being implemented across existing cities in Europe. But now, the first 15-minute city is being designed and built from scratch in Utah. Dubbed “The Point”, the new 600-acre city will be located just outside Salt Lake City, and will be a redeveloped former state prison site where new jobs, housing, public spaces, amenities, and transportation will serve almost 15,000 people in an attempt to explore a prototype for how innovative urban planning concepts can improve the public health and wellness.

Understanding the Scales of Carbon Emissions: Who Makes the Most Impact?

Carbon footprints and CO2 emissions are large topics in our conversations about how we create a more sustainable future. Over time, different companies, organizations, and individuals have pledged to alter their lifestyles and habits to make changes that show that they are dedicated to combating climate change. Especially in the design industry, where buildings generate nearly 40% of annual CO2 emissions broken down between daily operations and construction/demolition, architects have long been feeling the pressure of exploring ways to prove that we are doing our part.

When we take a look at the different scales of emissions, one question commonly occurs- how can we measure the different levels of impact? Is it on us individually to recycle and ensure we never use plastic straws again? Does this even have a major impact? Do more car manufacturers need to find alternates for gasoline-fueled automobiles? Do architects need to only source sustainable materials? What are the actionable steps that truly have an impact?

When Paris Eliminates Cars, Will Other Cities Follow Suit?

Paris has been making headlines for years with its aggressive steps to anti-car, pro-pedestrian urban improvements. Faced with increasing issues around air pollution and an attempt to reclaim streets for alternate modes of transit, as outlined in their proposed plan for a 15-minute city, the French capital is seen as a leader in future-forward urbanist strategies. Recently, their department of transportation set a deadline for their lofty goals of eliminating traffic from its roads. In just two years from now, in time for the French capital to host the Olympics, Paris plans to ban non-essential traffic from its city center, effectively eliminating around 50% of vehicular mobility. What does this plan look like? And how might other cities use this strategy to eliminate their own urban issues?

Live, Work, and Study: The Future of University Student Housing

Student housing takes on many forms around the world, but most commonly, it’s envisioned as close quarters in a bleakly designed dormitory. While prospective students choose universities based on academic rigor, athletic programs, extracurricular activities, and future career opportunities, they’re now wanting to know what living on and off-campus will be like- and it has forced designers to rethink the traditional designs of dormitories into something more innovative that better reflects what students want (and expect) in their university homes.

Architecture, Memes, and Social Media Influencers

According to a Harris Poll/Lego survey that questioned children across the United States, UK, and China, nearly one-third of children aged eight to 12 want to be a “YouTuber” when they grow up. That’s three times as many children who said that they wanted to be astronauts just a decade ago. The implications of how this generation of future influencers and content creators has a significant impact on the architecture and design profession begs the question- are we on the cusp of experiencing the rise of architecture influencers?

Do Trailer Parks and Mobile Homes Have a Future As Affordable Housing?

The future of manufactured homes may reinvent the form of something that already widely exists- trailer parks. All across the United States, these small homes are being reimagined by architects by utilizing more sustainable materials, inventive construction techniques, and value engineering to create affordable homes and reinvent the once negative connotation that surrounded this housing typology.

Designing Physical Spaces to Support a Virtual World

All aspects of society today are becoming increasingly more digital. Our interconnectedness and speed at which we are able to search and transfer information have made us more accustomed to exploring new ways that technology can impact our lives. Over the last few years, the rise of bitcoin, blockchain, and now the metaverse, has caused architects and designers to reconsider the notion of physical and virtual space. But beyond that, there’s an “in-between” of spaces that will be designed to support the technological escapism that the metaverse and web3 offer. While these virtual worlds are on the frontier of the digitization of everything, architects will play a huge part in designing the real-world physical spaces that can support them.

When 5% of the United States is Covered By Parking Lots, How Do We Redesign our Cities?

Aerial View of a Parking Lot. Image via Parking Industry
Aerial View of a Parking Lot. Image via Parking Industry

Cities face much criticism with how they handle their car population, but have you ever thought about how much land use is dedicated to surface parking lots? In fact, it may be one of the most prominent features of the postwar city in the United States. Housing, community facilities, highway infrastructure, often garner much attention, but the amount of land dedicated just to park cars is astounding.

Rules of the Road for Becoming a More Bike-Dependent City

Proposal for Car-Free Times Square in New York City. Image via 3deluxe
Proposal for Car-Free Times Square in New York City. Image via 3deluxe

Over the last century, cars have been the dominant element when designing cities and towns. Driving lanes, lane expansions, parking garages, and surface lots have been utilized as we continue our heavy reliance on cars, leaving urban planners to devise creative ways to make city streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists alike. But many cities, especially a handful in Europe, have become blueprints for forward-thinking ideologies on how to design new spaces to become car-free and rethink streets to make them pedestrian-friendly. Are we experiencing the slow death of cars in urban cores around the world in favor of those who prefer to walk or ride bikes? And if so, how can it be done on a larger scale?

Workplace Culture, Design Trends, and the Impact of Gen Z

In recent years, there’s been a significant amount of clamor around the habits and impacts of the millennial generation. Headlines often read “Millennials Responsible for the Decline of Cereal”, “Millenials Are Why We No Longer Use Napkins”, and “Are Millennials Killing the Housing Market?” After being burdened with the blame of the death of almost anything, the millennial workforce has now moved away from the spotlight to make room for the next generation, “Gen Z”, which many believe are going to make significant societal disruptions- especially in the architectural and design workforce.

Exploring the History of the Ideal Renaissance Cities

The concept of an “ideal city” is something that is often talked about today, as we look towards the future and think about what aspects of urban life we feel are most important for residents to thrive in a healthy community. However, ideal cities were conceived during the Italian Renaissance, as planners and architects prioritized rationale in their designs focusing on human values, urban capacities, and the recursive waves of cultural and artistic revolutions that influenced large-scale planning schemes.

From Aristocratic Displays to Eco-parks: The Current Questions and Future Design of Zoos

Around the world, zoos draw in hundreds of millions of visitors each year. For some cities, they’re major tourist attractions and economic hubs that generate taxpayer dollars and create long-term employment for thousands of people. But beyond these statistics, people have been criticizing the role that zoos play in our society and the way in which we design them that holds the potential a more positive and natural environment for animals.

Take Out, To-Go, and Delivery: The Innovative Rise of Ghost Kitchens in the Restaurant Industry

On a cold winter day, if you’re craving a fresh hot pizza, a stack of warm pancakes, or a juicy cheeseburger, it’s easy to turn to an app on your phone to quickly place an order and have it delivered right to your door. But if you’ve ever wondered how restaurants keep up with the demands of diners, those who take food-to-go, and those who order through delivery apps, especially over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the solution might lie in the rapidly expanding new trend of Ghost Kitchens.