With the majority of the world’s population shifting to urban centres, urban planning—the practice of land-use and transportation planning to help shape cities structurally, economically, and socially—has become an increasingly vital profession. In Urban Planning For Dummies, readers will get a practical overview of this fascinating field, including studying community demographics, determining the best uses for land, planning economic and transportation development, and implementing plans. Following an introductory course on urban planning, this book is key reading for any urban planning student or anyone involved in urban development.
With new studies conclusively demonstrating the dramatic impact of urban design on public psychological and physical health, the impact of the urban planner on a community is immense. And with a wide range of positions for urban planners in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors—including law firms, utility companies, and real estate development firms—having a fundamental understanding of urban planning is key to anyone even considering entry into this field. This book provides a useful introduction and lays the groundwork for serious study.
Helps readers understand the essentials of this complex profession
Written by a certified practicing urban planner, with extensive practical and community-outreach experience
For anyone interested in being in the vanguard of building, designing, and shaping tomorrow’s sustainable city, Urban Planning For Dummies offers an informative, entirely accessible introduction on learning how.
Heading to Apps for Smart Cities in Amsterdam next week! Very excited! It is bit of a research mission as I know little about the topic. There seems to be a good mix of speakers. You can read more here.
…In 2007, Gehl Architects undertook an important study of Flushing Main Street in New York City. We found that 97,000 pedestrians walk along Main Street every day, but they are squeezed into only 30 percent of the street space. Some 56,000 motorists have access to 70 percent of the street space….
A bicycle-friendly city is a city with more space, less noise, cleaner air, healthier citizens and a better economy. It’s a city that is a nicer place to be in and where individuals have a higher quality of life. Where accessibility is high and there is a short route from thought to action if one wants to head out into nature, participate in cultural or sports activities or buy locally. Bicycle traffic is therefore not a singular goal but rather an effective tool to use when creating a liveable city with space for diversity and development.
Fortunately, it pays off to invest in urban cycling. Increased cycling levels give society less congestion, fewer sick days, longer life expectancy, less wear and tear on the roads and less pollution. Cycling initiatives are also inexpensive compared with other transport investments.
Gent is definitely getting its urban environment right!
Whilst it might be a medieval city with its heritage peeking out everywhere, it has a palpable vibrancy, youthfulness and liveableness that many cities aspire to! It is thankfully far removed from the dull, soaked in aspic lifelessness of its nearby pretty neighbour, Bruges.
The combination of great architecture, dense but human scaled development, elegant public spaces and streets, canals and bridges give it texture, charisma…soul. Even at night the city is pulls out all the stops by implementing an impressive but sensitive urban lighting strategy.
The city is equally impressive when it comes to local mobility. There aren’t many cities in my opinion that gets this right but Gent does. There is a buzzing pedestrian life, healthy levels of cycling, a great tram and bus network and even a place for cars! To see all these modes sensibly sharing the same space was uplifting. It seems to have the same levels of modal respect you see in Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Berlin. Interestingly it had a 30kph (20mph) limit in operation in the immediate city areas.
Economically, the city seemed to be thriving and it has a lower than average unemployment rate.
Gent also has a buzzing nightlife that left me wanting to go back again! Whilst we were there we enjoyed an excellent Turkish grill in the Patershol area and many glasses of Vedette in a jazz club with an outdoor courtyard that was to be found at the bottom of an inauspicious alley!
Since visiting I have unsurprisingly learnt that Gent Municipality has a strong focus on creating a quality urban environment and that the city participated in the aptly named Liveable City project from 2003 to 2006 funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
There is a comprehensive presentation on the city and its mobility and public realm plans that you can peruse here.
Another report about the damaging effects of cars with unsurprising conclusions and recommendations. Its been a while since I read a “cars are good for you” report….oh…wait…
Read the report “Transport, Physical Activity and Health: Present knowledge and the way ahead”here.
With just 39 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women reaching the Department of Health’s recommended level of health-enhancing physical activity, the answer to the UK’s growing obesity problem could depend on people choosing to swap car journeys for walking and cycling, according to a new study by researchers at UCL.
The report, commissioned by the Department for Transport, highlights the fact that physical inactivity costs the nation upwards of £6.5 billion per year through its impact on overweight and obesity, while also directly costing the NHS an additional £1.08 billion per annum.
The report, compiled by Professor Roger Mackett and Belinda Brown of UCL’s Centre for Transport Studies, concludes that:
increasing physical activity through more walking and cycling is the key to improving health
the only way to increase walking and cycling significantly is through reducing car use
car ownership is entrenched in the lifestyles of many households and reduction is only feasible if households can maintain access to cars when they really need them and make rational, economic decisions about the most appropriate mode of travel for each individual journey (on foot, by car, bicycle, bus, train etc); this will lead to less car use
the recent growth of car clubs, neighbourhood car rental schemes, car sharing and pay-as-you-go insurance helps to make this possible .
“Everyone knows that walking and cycling can provide valuable physical activity, but how we actually get people out of their cars is not so obvious,” says lead author, Professor Roger Mackett.
“The key lies in reducing overall car use, but enabling people to maintain their current lifestyles by ensuring access to a car when necessary. By shifting away from the current situation where most households own cars, to one where people can have the benefits of access to a car when they need it while using other forms of travel when it’s convenient we can empower people to make decisions which benefit their health, their household finances and the environment.
“We need to shift the emphasis from households spending thousands of pounds on a new car every few years and then experiencing a relatively low cost per trip, to a situation where people pay for each individual trip but don’t invest the initial lump sum. By doing this, we will all think much more carefully about the best way to make a journey – sometimes it will be by car, at other times it will be by train, bus, walking or bicycle. Some households will find that they no longer need to keep a car for their personal use and will save money.”
Around the world, only a few hundred people make a living as fulltime typeface designers. Two of them happen to live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, population 167,000, where they’ve embarked on an ambitious project to distill the city’s artistic and entrepreneurial spirit into a font called Chatype. The goal is to help the city and its businesses forge a distinct and cohesive identity through custom typeface, sending a visual message to the world that Chattanooga—a rapidly growing city in the midst of a creative renaissance—is “more than just your average Southern town.”
Profound changes are occurring on high streets throughout the country. In order for policies aimed at their planning and stewardship to succeed, a greater understanding of how high streets adapt to changing economic conditions and serve their neighbourhoods is needed. Suzanne Hallargues for a multidisciplinary approach in understanding the social and economic particularities of high streets.
Walking an biking to elementary school used to be common. Now it`s rare. What happened? We started building fewer, bigger schools between neighborhoods. We built new wide roads to reduce congestion on the way to school. We thought schools would be safer away from Main Street, with its sidewalks of commerce and distractions. We can see the consequences now, making connections between those decisions and rising health problems. With better information, can we make our neighborhood intelligent? We can.
Text: Jan Gehl: Infographic by The National Building Museum in Washington DC
Talk about capturing good city living! His blog is also great…particularly this post! Moaners take note, cycling in cities isn’t about sport, lycra, helmets, cyclists running red lights, riding on pavements, “road tax” arguments….its about sharing road space fairly, conscientiousness, having infrastructure where required and above all, a good quality city environment for everyone!
Cool resource (if a little confusing) of various urban planning, urban design and architecture case studies! Click on map for a world view.
What is urbaninform?
urbaninform is a web tool that collects architecture and urban design projects for the cities of the future. We believe in participation, social entrepreneurship, green business and good urban government initiatives.urbaninform supports local actors by transfers of knowledge and connects them to a network of experts and entrepreneurs. We support the negotiation of formal and informal actors. And we support the development of new forms of global and local collaboration.
Bldgblog report on David Knight’s Making Planning Popular, which was recently displayed at the RCA in London. You can read more here and visit the microsite here
Specifically, Making Planning Popular ”aims to encourage greater popular knowledge of how the built environment is, or could be, produced.” Accordingly, “David is showing a manifesto, recent articles and essays, and a series of case studies chosen from his growing database of arcane, marginalized, or forgotten planning practices. This work will in time form a popular history of planning”—publishers, take note!—”one in which such practises are brought back to life to explore their relevance to today’s environment, in the belief that putting planning knowledge back into popular culture will lead to a more democratic built environment.”
“Many of us who write about cities like to share rediscovered videos from times gone by. The videos are especially notable when ideas with currency today are discussed in other contexts, providing opportunities to compare, contrast and sometimes be humbled by history.
Here is a prescient video from 1948, about “Charlie.” This cartoon protagonist champions the basics of the new town movement in post-war Great Britain, a Garden City-inspired effort to alleviate housing shortages. The initial phases of the movement brought towns such as Stevenage, Crawley, Hemel-Hempstead, Harlow, Hatfield and Basildon (see Osborn and Whittick’s classic The New Towns (1963) for the full story).
An interesting tidbit: as the video explains, the “neighborhood centre” was a key premise of the British new towns. It was based on the guiding principles of the Reith Report as implemented through the New Towns Act of 1946. Similar to then-contemporary American “neighborhood unit” principles, a new towns commonly featured structured neighborhoods of 5,000 to 10,000 inhabitants with at least one elementary school, local shops, a park and a public house.”