Before the Next Storm

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it's important to make changes in our infrastructure to reduce damage in future disasters.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it’s important to make changes in our infrastructure to reduce damage in future disasters.

In Atlanta, Transforming a Freeway Into a Cultural Greenway

The Atlanta Connector Transformation Project suggests how, through landscape design, lighting, and art, a freeway can be integrated into a larger community.

  Midtown section of the plan with building labels Freeways have sliced through the hearts of many communities, creating derelict wastelands that destroy neighborhoods and sever connections. Our cities have buried, covered, or dismantled the massive structures required for high-speed automobile infrastructure. With our virtual vacuum of public finance for such projects going forward, we need to ask: What’s the…

Q&A: P.D. Smith on the Development of Cities Around the World

We interview Peter D. Smith, the author of "City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age," on the trajectory of contemporary cities.

Reading Peter D. Smith’s latest volume, City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age, is akin to strolling through a contemporary city, wherein broad impressions are punctuated by specific and visceral encounters. The elements that make and shape cities and urban experiences, from the physical contours to the social interaction that takes place within their borders, are all explored in broad…

Q&A: Maurice Cox on New Orleans

Maurice Cox talks about his new job as Tulane School of Architecture's associate dean of community engagement and his new city of New Orleans.

About a month ago the Tulane School of Architecture announced that Maurice Cox had been appointed associate dean of community engagement. The title is an altogether apt one for Cox, who has spent almost two decades forging ties between design education, the political realm, and the public. Long associated with the architecture school at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville,…

New York City Needs Bike Laws Before Bike Lanes

As New York City prepares to unveil its bike-sharing plan, we must ask whether the laws governing the streets, and their enforcement, can keep bikers safe?

In June, 24-year-old Emma Blumstein was bicycling along Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, in the bike lane, when a flatbed truck turned in front of her. She went under the wheels, and was killed. In May, Mireya Gomez, 50, was bicycling along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens when a car traveling in the same direction struck and killed her. In April, Mike…

The London Olympics Are Over. Now What?

The city has introduced concepts of temporality in its buildings, unlike previous Olympic hosts. But will they be enough?

Just as Danny Boyle’s cinematic representation of England’s transition from a pastoral, farming nation to the leaders of the industrial revolution, London’s East End has been going through a transition of its own in preparation for the Olympic Games. The next question that begs analysis, and dare I say it, the delightfully sarcastic judgment that so often begets British dialogue,…

Two Week Charette: 1 of 2

On a steamy Monday morning in July, over a dozen high school and college students took their seats in a Washington DC gallery just half a block from the Anacostia River. They’re here to participate in a two week-urban design charette. Following a brief presentation the students launched into questions about the proposed transformation of an existing freeway bridge into…

Cleaning Up Our Lakes, Reinvesting in our Waterfronts

We have a rare opportunity in redeveloping the shores of our precious lakes to realize our best ideas and policies in building 21st Century communities.

In 1969 Ohio’s Cuyahoga River, a tributary of Lake Erie that meanders through Akron and Cleveland, combusted into flames after years of pollution and waste accumulated along its shorelines. While this was not the first time the river caught on fire, it ignited the nation’s attention and inspired significant environmental action, including the creation of our Clean Water Act, the…

How Valencia Turned A Crisis (And a River) Into a Transformative Park

In 1957, Valencia experienced a devastating flood that forever changed the city. The following year, the city embraced a plan to divert the Turia river.

  Valencia’s Green River, Photography by Brian Phelps. Bold ideas are easy, implementing them is hard. This is particularly true as cities around the world want to use their landscape infrastructure to address the issues they face. How can interventions be woven into the existing urban fabric? Beyond simply mustering the financial resources or political will, one must seek opportunities…

The Prudential Center: A Bright Exception to a Dark Age of Urban Planning

The story of Boston's Prudential Center is one of highway mania and sweetheart corporate preferment. But it’s emerged with a surprising ending.

An overly co-dependent couple, as any dinner party guest knows all too well, can cast an alienating pall over nearly a whole table. In the world of postwar urban planning this noxiously self-absorbed pairing was played, more often than not, by the conjoined duo of the highway engineer and the forward-thinking corporation. Whether their plans involved mass destruction or not,…

Going for Bronze? The London Olympics’ Lackluster Architectural Legacy

When London was named host city for the 2012 Olympics, experts thought it was the urban planning that won the day. What happened to that grand vision?

When London was named host city for the 2012 Olympics seven years ago, experts thought it was the urban planning behind the bid that ultimately won the day. Now, on the eve of the event itself, with several lackluster venues in place, many are wondering: What happened to that grand vision?

Roundtable: Calatrava, Childs, and Libeskind on the World Trade Center

The trio discuss architecture's healing powers, the function of symbolism, and the spiritual need to rebuild.

1 World Trade Center rendering Courtesy SOM/dbox studio Heroic. Contemplative. Grieving. Victorious. The rebirth of the former World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan has engendered significant public reaction and reflection. With implications as complex as they are profound, it is not surprising that it has taken more than a decade to heal the urban scars of September 11, 2001….