Sat 29 Oct, 2005 02:05 pm
I'm starting this thread to share links to articles on land use - site design, engineering, architecture, planning, construction, reuse of old facilities, land art....
Please comment on the articles and add some of your own....
Many of the articles that tweak my interest come from one source, ArchNewsNow.com, which follows these subjects in a variety of newspapers, but occasionally from other sources, such as my local newspaper North Coast Journal or from a magazine such as the New Yorker.
One problem I've run into before when trying to give links on some of the pieces I've been interested in is that some of them are from newspapers you have to register to read at, such as the New York Times. I'll probably still give the links, but will try to mention if it is a register-to-read site.
prefab will take hurricane 5
FindLaw commentary on issues related to Katrina
Emergency housing tough as steel
Milwaukee amtrak station
De Young Museum
(more links to follow, or add your own)
Designing with Nature, new book by Vernon Swaback, on future of urban sprawl
Brownfield development in Michigan
These links are courtesy of a new source for me, the American Society of Landscape Architect's newsletter "The Dirt is Ready".
Tiny movable houses
I think these are pretty neat. Talk about living lightly on the land...
Hi, osso. Thanks for taking the time to keep this thread breathing. I know you have been busy with your move and with the house-hunting.
It seems to have gone well, and congratulations on finding a house that you evidentally are wanting to buy.
I just got back from four or five days in Portland, OR, and will be going back again once or twice in the next couple of months.
It rained the entire time I was there and daylight came late and nighttime came early, but that is beyond anyone's control in January, isn't it?
The local newspaper, the Oregonian, which I picked up every morning in the lobby of the hotel, is pathetic.
My kinfolk showed me around the city and I, in my brother's car with GPS technology, spent more than a few hours on my own driving around.
I admit to being a country boy from the mountains of Virginia, unaccustomed to any "big" city.
I thought of Portland as being a model for urban planning. I think that, overall, I was sorely disappointed. I'm working on trying to articulate what troubles me; and maybe it doesn't really matter. I am, after all, not a city dweller.
I'm interested in your thoughts on that, RJohn. I've only been to the Portland airport and not gotten to check out the actual city. I too have heard of it as a thoughtful place re urban design decisions, at least a couple of decades ago.
Portland as a thoughtful place re urban design decisions, at least a couple of decades ago. - a quote from osso...edited slightly for syntax.
That, Osso, is the telling comment: "a couple of decades ago." Portland, very wisely in my opinion, defined a boundary beyond which there could be only limited building. This prevented urban sprawl and largely mitigated a lot of related problems -- urban sprawl leads to a demand for new highways, new schools and the inner core of the city is left to decay.
The downtown Portland that I saw on a Saturday afternoon was incredibly vibrant. I concede that I am a redneck from Virginia and this was my first visit to a "big" city in a few years, so maybe I am naive, but downtown Portland struck me as being very clean and safe (I noticed how few police officers I saw patrolling, though, by the way. They seem to keep a low profile).
I spent a couple of hours in the amazing Powell's bookstore and another half-hour in the big and very crowded Whole Foods store.
But here is what I found troubling about Portland: The boundary mentioned above results in urban infill. Fine, but the quality of the architecture of what is being tossed up really sucks, particularly in housing. It is, in my mind, horrible, but that is a judgement on my part. My niece said, you think this is bad, visit California.
More importantly, there seems to me to be a lack of zoning in suburban Portland. In the middle of a single-family neighborhood there will suddenly appear a small apartment complex or an office building. Maybe that is good, socially, but I am not convinced.
I have mixed feelings about mixed use, but am more for it than against it. Among the negs are tall places butting up next to short ones, loud places against quiet areas, increased traffic, and so on. Something has to give, though, re using up every bit of land for large single family housing, and great suburban swaths have their own series of problems. I am continuously interested in the pros and cons of all this.
Walkability for pedestrians to get to and from shops is vital - to me - for healthy urban life; it has been diminishing by leaps and bounds in recent years in many areas. Just today in my new hometown I drove to the drugstore from the Jiffy Lube even though it was only two largish blocks away. There were no sidewalks. Good grief.