As the fastest-growing metropolitan city in the Midwest region, Columbus is situated amidst Central Ohio’s exciting blend of infrastructure and natural landscape. Columbus and its surroundings are currently undergoing a significant phase of cultural expansion and anticipate a population surpassing 3 million by 2050. In collaboration with Columbus-based Moody Nolan, Gensler has just revealed their design for the new terminal at John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Ohio, a facility to grow the city and support it in reaching these goals of expansion.
Transit Infrastructure: The Latest Architecture and News
Architect Antoine Predock has unveiled his vision for the Albuquerque Rail Trail, a multi-use trail that will connect key destinations in the greater downtown area of New Mexico’s largest city. The project set out to combine the utility of pedestrian and bicycle pathways with the culture and history of the lands, encouraging healthy recreation, cultural expression and economic development. The Rail Trail project is of the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, Just City Mayoral Fellowship.
There are three primary settings in which lower-density urbanism can be useful, and where conditions favored by YIMBYs are weak or nonexistent: as a replacement for what is currently slated to be built out as sprawl, as a recovery process for existing sprawl, and in small towns that are growing. Giving up on these settings forces all development intended to combat the housing crisis into urban settings, ideally near transit, where land is much more expensive to acquire and to develop. It also allows the sprawl machine to roll on unimpeded.The best vehicle for implementing principles illustrated here at the scale of a neighborhood, hamlet, or village is not a major production builder, as these principles violate almost all of their conventional industrial practices. Instead, look to the record of stronger New Urbanist developers who are no strangers to doing things considered unconventional by the Industrial Development Complex in the interest of better places with stronger lifetime returns.
As its full title somewhat implies, Nicholas Dagen Bloom’s new book, The Great American Transit Disaster: A Century of Austerity, Auto-Centric Planning, and White Flight (University of Chicago Press), tells the whole grisly story of how, in less than a century, the U.S. changed from a rail-connected nation of cities and towns to a sprawling network of increasingly congested roads. A historian and a professor of urban policy and planning at Hunter College, Bloom rejects the sort of conspiracy-driven narratives around transit’s demise and comes to an uneasy conclusion: America essentially chose the car for a variety of reasons, only one of which was automobile company collusion. I talked with Bloom about why transit in the U.S. collapsed, why it turned out differently in European cities, and the hopes for a transit renaissance.
When San Francisco’s MUNI spent big money on a “central subway” to Chinatown, I was doubtful. One recent Saturday, though, I revived the gallery-hopping I did before the pandemic, taking the train from Berkeley into the city, walking to one gallery near Embarcadero Station, then taking a tram past the ballpark to the CalTrain Station, where I switched to another tram to head south to Minnesota Street’s Dogpatch cluster of galleries and artists’ studios.
“Economic shocks, climate change, and COVID-19 have changed transportation systems in a fundamental way. We can’t waste a crisis. We can increase access to transportation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We can achieve more mobility with fewer impacts,” argued Ani Dasgupta, president of the World Resources Institute (WRI), at the 20th annual Transforming Transportation conference. For two days, global leaders reflected on the state of transportation systems worldwide at the hybrid event in Washington, D.C., which was also watched by tens of thousands online. The event was co-organized by WRI and the World Bank.
Transportation still accounts for 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and up to 30 percent of emissions in developed countries. Transportation is a diverse sector that includes sidewalks, bikes, cars, buses, trains, subways, ships, and planes.
Foster + Partners and Arup have chosen to work together to design the Merced, Fresno, Kings/Tulare, and Bakersfield stations that will service high-speed train passengers on the first 171-mile leg of California High-Speed train (CA HSR). The Central Valley stations will be the grand entrances to America's first high-speed rail stretch, marking an important step towards providing all Californians with sustainable, carbon-free transportation. Planning, architecture, and engineering for the four new stations, which will serve as design templates for stations planned for the whole 500-mile Los Angeles/Anaheim to San Francisco line, are being done jointly by Foster + Partners and Arup.
The California high-speed rail will connect the state's mega-regions, promote economic growth and a cleaner environment, foster job growth, and conserve agricultural and protected lands. With up to 200 mph speeds, the system can travel from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in less than three hours. The Authority is collaborating with regional partners to implement a state-wide rail modernization plan that will spend billions of dollars on local and regional rail lines.
For every car that drives on the road, we need to find a place to put it- but are parking garages the answer? Parking garages are often seen as the antithesis of people-friendly urban planning. Large gray boxes are used solely to store cars that make temporary visits and seem like a poor use of space, especially in cities where land comes at a premium. Because of these garages, urban cores have quickly been transformed into parking districts, where vehicle storage dominates the aesthetic of a business district. Building codes only contribute to the problem, where the number of spaces is passed down as a mandate, even spreading out into suburban areas. Parking garages are everywhere- flanking shopping malls, connecting to residential towers, and surrounding sporting venues.
UNStudio, HKS, and Gehl Selected to Lead a Major Expansion of the Public Transit System in Austin, Texas
The Austin Transit Partnership has selected UNStudio, HKS, and Gehl to lead the architecture and urban design of Project Connect, a major expansion of the public transportation system in Austin, Texas, in the United States. The project is set to become a transformative investment, including and integrating the light rail system, expanded bus routes, and connectivity with more services across the city. The initiative is also voter-approved. In November 2020, Austin citizens approved Project Connect, leading to the creation of the independent entity Austin Transit Partnership charged with implementing the project. The citizens of Austin are invited to continue to get involved and provide feedback.
Following an international competition, MAD Architects, in collaboration with China Airport Planning & Design Institute and Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, has revealed the design of the Changchun “Longjia” International Airport Terminal 3 in China. The new building is expected to accommodate 22 million passengers per year. After completion, the 270,000 square meters terminal will become the largest transportation junction in Changchun city and the Jilin Province.
Designed by URB, The LOOP is a 93-kilometer-long sustainable highway that aims to encourage Dubai’s residents to opt for a healthy mode of transportation. The structure provides a climate-controlled all-year environment to make walking and cycling the preferred type of transportation in the city. The initiative aligns with Dubai’s 20-minute city initiative, which hopes to see 80% of Dubai’s residents commute to work by walking or cycling. The project is currently in the research and development phase.
JAJA Architects won the competition organized by Metroselskabet, Denmark, to develop resource-efficient and climate-friendly metro stations. The winning team takes a comprehensive and holistic approach, looking at both material-optimized and sustainable design solutions and the character of the journey that passengers take to reach their destination. The proposal is centered around three core elements: Materials, Mobility Hub and Climate Campaign. While aiming to reduce CO2 emissions, the team also seeks to create an enjoyable and easy-to-navigate space for the many daily passengers. Snøhetta, 3XN/GXN, and Effekt also participated in the competition.
Urban Agency, in partnership with COBE, won in 2019 a competition to transform a former steel factory into an 850,000 square meters car-free mixed-use district. The industrial site is planned to become a mixed-use district, with housing for over 8,000 new residents, office spaces, schools, workshop spaces, and 268,000 square meters of landscape, including a reactivated river area. The master plan strategies focus on urban nature, renaturalization, preservation and reuse, car-free streets, and an adapted dense mix of buildings and functions.
Although disability laws have been put in place decades ago, architects are still struggling with disability requirements. A recent article by CityLab explored how the rise of speed and efficiency-driven cities have overlooked accessibility, neglecting the needs of people who are physically unable to live or keep up with these dense neighborhoods. And while the "15-Minute City", one that allows people to walk or bike to most essential services within 15 minutes of their home, may seem as the future of built environments, it does not cater to disabled individuals or their movements.
The World’s Longest Immersed Road and Rail Tunnel, between Denmark and Germany, Receives Green Light
The world’s longest immersed road and rail tunnel design, the Fehmarnbelt link gets a go-ahead. The 18 km infrastructure, the longest of its kind, connecting Denmark’s Lolland Falster region with Germany’s Schleswig Holstein region across the Baltic Sea will shorten the journey between both countries to just 10 minutes by car and seven minutes by train.
Zaha Hadid Architects and A-Lab have been announced the winner of a competition to design two new metro stations in Oslo. The stations, Fornebu Senter and Fornbuporten, are to be part of Oslo's new Fornebubanen line, connecting a major existing rail interchange to the Fornebu Senter, a major shopping center in the city.
In Europe, Asia and much of the developed world, high speed rail is convenient and accessible. Whether for business or pleasure, travelers are served by an efficient and extensive rail network that connects passengers to the desired destination on time and with relatively little effort. Although these train systems can travel as fast as 350 kilometers per hour, speed is not the only important factor. Rail stations in Europe, for example, are an integral part of the historic urban fabric. These facilities are often perceived as civic destinations that play a fundamental role in the mobility system, providing a wide range of services for the larger collective; shopping, entertainment, commercial and civic uses are often paired with transit services as new stations are built and historic stations are retrofitted.