[theory] Helping Cities Grow: What to do.

[theory] Helping Cities Grow: What to do.

An important issue for many cities dealing with circumstances initiated by others in the past, like a blighted looking city filled with parking lot scars, etc. From my experience I’ve witnessed many cities do the wrong thing in order to encourage development. The point of this post is, if you do something, it could have a negative impact on your city, so make sure you do the right thing. Read more

[theory] The future city, future life.

Hastened by the rapid growth of humans on this earth, our needs far outpace our ability to think rationally about what is required by us and what is required by our earth. It must be understood that we can not just allow our cities to bleed out and merge with other urban areas indefinitely for a multitude of reasons, the loss of nature, the total inefficiency in first building and then maintaining such a beast, and the probable lack of quality housing which itself needs maintaining.

So if we set goals, perhaps we can address the real issues facing our society.

1) To build in such a way to allow infrastructure to be easily maintained, first by limiting how much infrastructure we build by building it ‘more efficient.’

2) To provide housing that in it’s core can be refurbished without extra effort, to ensure it’s bones serve future generations.

3) To preserve nature, both on the outskirts of urban areas but to incorporate it into those areas.

4) To build housing that serves all the needs of humans, of privacy versus public, of closed versus open, of fully functional while relaxing, interconnected while remaining unique an special in it’s place.

5) To create infrastructure that has built in a highly efficient transportation system for all things, goods, people, utilities, in such a way that they inherently can ensure weather and the elements that normally cause decay, and to do so in a way to encourage identity rather than ubiquitousness.

6) To reinforce hierarchy within our urban environments, to encourage pride and identity of one’s place, in order to help with it’s maintenance.

7) To create vehicular systems that allow quick transportation of all individuals without the need of individual vehicles, but to also offer the infrastructure to support vehicles that can be securely storage from criminal activity and weather, to help ‘ween off’ individuals from their dependency.

8) By removing vehicles from the street scape, to encourage nature scapes within all communities, to fully integrate nature and the urban environment in such a way that reinforces safety and beauty.

While there is always the danger of creating a ‘utopian idea’ that is doomed for failure, the notion that we shouldn’t think about how we plan for the future is pure folly and has obvious ramifications, like heavy taxes to afford maintenance of the monster, air and environmental pollution, horrible neighborhoods and housing, dangerous streets due to overcrowding of vehicles, etc.  There is a way to take what we know about urban living and infuse this with new concepts that both respect the human individual, the environment and the mechanism that is the city to create a balance that is truly functional and beautiful.  Why wouldn’t us humans try to achieve exactly this?

In future  posts, I will break this down with examples for each item, to begin to establish in concrete terms what it means to use efficiency to create a better more affordable world.

[construction] Designing a better Urban Residential Block

[construction] Designing a better Urban Residential Block

It’s long overdue, that is, the re-design of our urban fabric.  What we have today stems from century old thinking and technology as well as the notion of building only what is required for today.   Read more

[theory] Teetering towards fulfillment or ruin…

[theory] Teetering towards fulfillment or ruin…

I’m in the market to buy a new house and I’m looking all over Brooklyn to find the right combination of things that will protect my investment, yet the neighborhoods around where I live are very mixed, some are great and, expensive, Read more

[architecture] Building Brick Neighborhoods

[architecture] Building Brick Neighborhoods

Based on the previous post, lets look at what defines a neighborhood.  Certainly in most neighborhoods there is an implied center, perhaps a linear street filled with shops, that becomes the focus of people’s daily needs.   Read more

[financial] Go ahead, throw your money away! (Expensive Blunder)

What do I mean by designs that are a waste?  Well, some projects waste time, money and resources.  One can imagine a project that isn’t financially successful, has wasted resources, as the longevity and usefulness of the building will be diminished.  I’ve witnessed where a renovation is completed and in 2 years, after the tenant moves out the space is re-renovated. Materials are wasted too, in this day when there are environmental concerns, what’s the point of designing and building something that gets torn down in a couple of years? Read more

[theory] Crime and Urban Blight

[theory] Crime and Urban Blight

I’m not sure how to approach this topic, because I really don’t have any proof of what I’m about to suggest, but suffice it to say that I believe that if an urban environment, home, or any place embodies a bad vibe, that it will more likely induce criminal acts. Read more

[theory] When to design contextually, when to make a statement.

[theory] When to design contextually, when to make a statement.

Below is an image of Volterra, Italy, one might call a typical Italian hill town.  Why take note?  It represents a unified composition.  When an artist makes a painting or sculpture, Read more

Top 5 Reasons I (reluctantly) Hired An Architect…

1) “I was told by the city I have to submit plans to get a work permit before my construction can start. What a hassle.  My cousin drew up a sketch, why can’t we use that?”

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