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Walkability: The Latest Architecture and News

Is Fixing City Sidewalks Feasible for Future Cities?

Whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area, there’s a good chance that using a sidewalk, in some capacity, is part of your everyday routine. Whether crossing over a sidewalk to get to your car in a parking lot or walking several blocks on your commute to your office downtown, sidewalks are critical for creating safe places for pedestrians away from the streets. But what happens when cities don’t take ownership over sidewalk maintenance, and they’re left to be protected by the people who just use them?

Pink Zoning Detroit

The City of Detroit, in partnership with the Knight Foundation, seeks ambitious, multidisciplinary planning and design teams to reimagine Detroit’s commercial corridors and explore reforms to Detroit’s land use regulations.

Inspired by the principles of Lean Urbanism, the project involves modest research, design, and analysis services, spread over a six month period.

Successful teams will receive $19,000 to cover costs and travel.

Why Ancient Cities Can Still Teach Us About Urban Planning

In the 20th century, urban planning went through some big changes, creating much of our current urban environment in a mold that is now widely seen as anti-human. Fortunately, in recent decades urban planning has changed again - partly revising and partly reverting the theories espoused by the 20th century. In this article, originally published on Autodesk’s Redshift publication as "What the Future of Cities Can Learn From Ancient Cities," James A Moore looks at why old models for creating cities have proved so timeless, and the role that they will play in creating 21st century cities.

As legend has it, upon leaving Carnegie Hall after a dissatisfying rehearsal, violinist Mischa Elman ran into two tourists looking for the hall’s entrance. They asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

Without missing a beat, Elman said, “Practice.”

It’s an old and simple joke, but it points to an important reason why people are drawn to cities. Why do people move to Hollywood? They want to be in movies. Why do they move to Wall Street? They want to be in finance. In the best cases, cities enable citizens to pursue their aspirations.

Snow Reveals Opportunities for Public Space

Traffic imprints found in Philadelphia’s record snowfall has revealed some clever opportunities for public space. As reported by This Old City, snow formations have carved examples of unused streetscape that could be easily reclaimed as pedestrian space. This would not only improve traffic safety, but would also enhance the city’s walkability and desirability. Learn more and see examples here.

Jeff Speck Reveals the Secret to Sucess for Future Cities

Jeff Speck, the city planner and architectural designer best known for advocating smart and sustainable growth, was recently interviewed by MSNBC to discuss the key to success for future cities: walkability. It is no secret that both millennials and the aging population have expressed an overwhelming desire to live in a walkable, urban hub. Though many major cities across the U.S. have embraced this philosophy, some are lagging behind. It is becoming increasingly apparent that a city’s walkability will have a major influence on the city’s competitiveness in the near future. 

Watch the interview above to learn about the four keys to having a great walkable city. 

TED Talk: The Walkable City / Jeff Speck

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car - which he calls "a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device" - by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

Rome's New Mayor Seeks to Pedestrianize The Monuments

Rome’s new mayor, Ignazio Marino, is leading a crusade for walkability by eliminating noisy, out-of-control traffic surrounding the ancient monuments. Starting with the Via dei Fori Imperiali - a major avenue connecting the Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum - Marino plans to ban private traffic so pedestrians will have a place to “bike, walk, enjoy this incredible archaeological site.” More on the story at NPR.