News Roundup › Urban Ecology
Apr 12 2013
Nov 29 2012
It’s very important to not be too structured in our thinking about soft infrastructure. There is a temptation to revert to thinking in silos, and assume that city communities can be segmented into areas of separate concern such as neighbourhoods, sectors such as “digital entrepreneurs”, or service user communities such as “commuters”. To do this is to forget where and how innovation and the creation of new value often occurs.
Mar 26 2012
On March 21, 2012, the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority unanimously approved the 50-year, $50 billion five-year update of the state’s master plan for coastal restoration and hurricane storm surge protection, and sent it on to the Legislature.
Now in front of the Louisiana Legislature, the comprehensive, “revised plan is the result of two months of public hearings and intense jawboning by parish elected officials, legislators and others.”
Feb 28 2012
Ever-increasing in its complexity, the trial set to examine BP’s responsibility regarding 2010 oil spill reparations has been delayed a week. The new trial date is set for Monday, March 5th, 2012. The delay of trial has stirred some to believe a settlement between BP and the myriad individuals and businesses affected by the disaster is, perhaps, close to being reached.
Jan 17 2012
On January 12, 2012 Louisiana state officials released a $50 billion, 50-year master plan to rebuild land lost due to erosion and protect coastal communities from future storm surges. The 50-year strategy is outlined in the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s plan update. Ambitious in scope, the plan takes into account funds that “the state is reasonably sure it will receive.” Although a monumental undertaking, restoring lost coastal wetlands and marshes is integral to maintaining a healthy coastline and community.
Sep 3 2011
Today, the High Line is one of Manhattan’s most popular public spaces: a mile-long, modern, high-concept park built on the old railroad track. In the 10 months after it opened in 2009, it drew 2 million visitors and — in a rare ratio for a public space in New York — about half were tourists. Half were native New Yorkers.
Mar 22 2011
“It is critical that the Greater New Orleans region has a comprehensive water management plan that can mitigate risk while enhancing economic opportunities and improving the quality of life for our citizens,” said Senator Mary Landrieu. “We are fortunate to have a dream team in place to do this important work. Waggonner & Ball has extensive expertise in water management gleaned from projects that span the globe, and GNO, Inc. is uniquely positioned to manage the process efficiently.”
Dec 12 2010
Oct 16 2010
Ending our love affair with the automobile, no matter how unhealthy it has become, seems overwhelmingly disruptive. Although more and wider roads lead only to more congestion, states are loath to reject federal highway dollars such as those offered in economic stimulus packages. Highways are easy things to spend money on, so who cares if what they stimulate is sprawl?
May 16 2010
Apr 12 2010
Those responsible for the current plan are obviously unaware of the transformative and progressive events and trends occurring in America: the emphasis on livability, on walkable urban design, energy-efficient, multi-modal transportation, compact development and sustainable building design. This hospital plan is so out of touch it doesn’t even address the needs of the dramatically changing health-care system.
Sep 30 2009
Sep 12 2009
Jul 15 2009
May 25 2009
Apr 28 2009
Chalmette native Matt Faust’s heart-wrenching 6-minute short film has made it on to New Yew York Magazine’s list of Top 5 Favorite Short Films showing at Tribeca this year. Listen to Matt tell why he made the film when he presented it last October as part of the New Orleans Speaks Conference, co-sponsored by The Urban Conservancy.
When he started it, Matt Faust envisioned his short film “Home” as little more than an exercise in self-prescribed, post-Katrina therapy.
With no formal background in filmmaking — and armed with just a collection of old photos, home videos and some computer expertise he picked up while earning degrees in Landscape Architecture at LSU — the Hannan High School graduate simply wanted to make a video that might help his family remember what was lost when their home on tiny Derbigny Street in Chalmette was destroyed by the storm.
“I felt like it was something I just had to do, for myself and my family, ” Faust said last week.
What he couldn’t have envisioned was that his wordless six-minute film would find its way to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, one of the nation’s premiere film fests, where it will screen this week in competition in the documentary-short category. “Read more.”:
Nov 21 2008
Sep 20 2008
All of the great challenges that confront the 21st-century city — from class, race and environmental issues to the continuing duel between history and modernity — are crystallized in New Orleans.
Yet the kind of visionary urban plan that could address these issues in a bold and thoughtful way has yet to materialize. Instead, some of the country’s greatest architectural minds are inventing the future in cities like Beijing, Shenzhen and Dubai, where their talents are more appreciated.
Sep 19 2008
Jul 15 2008
A year after the introduction of the sturdy gray bicycles known as Velib’s, they are being used all over Paris. The bikes are cheap to rent because they are subsidized by advertising, and other major cities, including American ones, are exploring similar projects.
May 9 2008
For years, New Yorkers have grown basil, tomatoes and greens in window boxes, backyard plots and community gardens. But more and more New Yorkers like the Wilkses are raising fruits and vegetables, and not just to feed their families but to sell to people on their block.
This urban agriculture movement has grown even more vigorously elsewhere. Hundreds of farmers are at work in Detroit, Milwaukee, Oakland and other areas that, like East New York, have low-income residents, high rates of obesity and diabetes, limited sources of fresh produce and available, undeveloped land.
Apr 28 2008
Mar 25 2008
Jan 3 2008
The Mayor of Paris is about to launch another novel scheme for fighting congestion and pollution: self-service cars Bertrand Delanöe aims to start with 2,000 electric-powered vehicles that subscribers can drive off without booking at dozens of sites 24 hours a day and then leave anywhere in the city.
Announcing Release of the Big Box Evaluator Website and Tool: The tool that helps you learn about the impacts of big box retail stores
Nov 21 2007
Available free to the public at www.bigboxevaluator.org, the web-based interface allows users to learn about commercial and retail development in general, but also to input specific information from their communities and receive customized reports on economics, values, planning and municpal services, and ways to improve the development process.
Sep 15 2007
The mere mention of gentrification has so inflamed the discussion … that stereotypes and political grandstanding have obscured the facts and tangible impacts on real people. Austin succeeded, at least in part, in detaching itself from much of the hyperbole by conducting a set of separate, relatively rigorous studies on the intersection of gentrification and preservation. The city’s efforts have suggested that the answer to gentrification is not found in broad-brush generalizations, but rather in analyzing each neighborhood’s specific economic and social concerns, understanding them as inextricably tied to a complex local history, and devising appropriate solutions and strategies responsive to the community’s needs and aspirations.
Oct 18 2006
The office of Farr Associates is no next-generation green-building prototype — it’s located in the historic 114-year-old Monadnock Building, Chicago’s tallest all-brick skyscraper. But inside, green spores of sustainability burst forth. The open studio spaces have walls that have been painted by a local artist who used milk-based, non-toxic paints. The desktops are made of natural linoleum, and a translucent divider embedded with leaves separates one desk from another. “Occupancy sensors” trigger energy-conserving lights in the kitchenette, conference room, and main studio. Large, operable First Chicago School windows gaze over nearby Printer’s Row, letting in eastern and southern light that is welcomed by the many living creatures in the space.
Oct 18 2006
One example is an organization in Portland Oregon called City Repair, which reclaims neighborhood intersections for common use. Local artists, with the permission of the city, paint brilliant murals on the intersections. People build cob structures, such as bulletin board kiosks and tea houses. Residents start to see the streets and in fact the whole city differently — as something that is theirs, rather than as a grid of obstacles and boundaries. In at least one neighborhood that was repaired in this manner, crime has dropped measurably.
Sep 29 2006
Question: How did you go from neighborhood rallies to running a nationally renowned organization?
Answer: Well, the street protests were cute and motivating and all, but eventually I decided it was time to get serious. In 2001, I founded Sustainable South Bronx — not as a moral crusade, but as an economic-development group that was about planning our future, not just reacting to environmental blight. I wanted to play offense, not defense. I wanted to give our community permission to dream, to plan for healthy air, healthy jobs, healthy children, and safe streets.
Jul 25 2006
I walked toward my father’s old house. I’d shot it last year for documentary B-roll, and walking along the even numbered side of the street, I noted nothing much had changed… But I couldn’t find it.
I paced back and forth in the brightness of mid-day, like a caged animal, searching for the numbers “1461.” I found “1458,” and “1463.” What lay in between sent me reeling, cursing, shaking my head in the heat.
May 17 2006
Nov 2 2005
Analyses of the failure of all levels of government to prevent or effectively manage the Katrina calamity in New Orleans have generally missed a crucial point. Alongside bias against poor people and African-Americans is automobile apartheid, born of fifty years of suburban sprawl. First-class citizens drive motor vehicles, second-class Americans walk, cycle, or ride public transit. Certainly many of the latter are poor, but millions more are middle-class Americans.
When emergency response largely ignores the plight of second-class citizens, no one should be surprised.
May 13 2002
Apr 16 2002
This last group [Gen-X professionals] holds tremendous hope, for three reasons: 1) They’re young, and still have the stomach for major renovation projects. 2) They’re in their prime child-bearing years, and thus likely to inject a healthy dose of middle class kids into urban neighborhoods. 3) Many of them are from out of town, escaping the barren vapidity of Anywhere, U.S.A., in search of an originality only New Orleans can offer; these newcomers help counteract the brain drain.