#cities

Evicted in the pandemic

Highlight

Due to the health crisis, support from neighbors in the absence of a family or other social network to fall back on could become rarer, said Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “Usually when people get evicted, they pull something together. They either stay with family or someone lets them stay for a while, and then they move on to someplace else. Most commonly, even among low-income people, they do eventually get into housing, in normal times,” she said.

It's very hard to tear down a bridge

Highlight

I remember his aide, Sid Shapiro, who I spent a lot of time getting to talk to me, he finally talked to me. And he had this quote that I’ve never forgotten. He said Moses didn’t want poor people, particularly poor people of color, to use Jones Beach, so they had legislation passed forbidding the use of buses on parkways. Then he had this quote, and I can still hear him saying it to me.

The London floor plan

Highlight

For a city that’s long been the repository of vast commercial, imperial, and industrial wealth, this might seem a very modest template. However, it is one that can be easily scaled up, points out Edward Denison, associate professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture and author of The Life of the British Home: An Architectural History. “What’s extraordinary, in London in particular, is that you can find very grand houses in places such as Carlton House Terrace, with vast rooms and very high ceilings, that are still essentially two-up, two-downs with extra floors added,” says Denison.

A Case for Turning Empty Malls Into Housing

Highlight

Developers are turning a wide swath of the 41-year-old shopping center into Avalon Alderwood Place, a 300-unit apartment complex with underground parking. The project won’t completely erase the shopping side of the development: Commercial tenants will still take up 90,000 square feet of retail. But when the new Alderwood reopens, which developers expect will happen by 2022, the focus will have shifted dramatically. One of the mall’s anchor department stores, Sears, shut down last year; in a sense, the apartment complex will be the new anchor.

Neofeudalism: The End of Capitalism?

Highlight

A third feature of neofeudalism is the spatiality associated with feudalism, one of protected, often lively centers surrounded by agricultural and desolate hinterlands. We might also characterize this as a split between town and country, municipal and rural areas, urban communes and the surrounding countryside, or, more abstractly between an inside walled off from an outside, a division between what is secure and what is at risk, who is prosperous and who is desperate.

My Ten Games of the Decade

Highlight

Cities: Skylines is easily the pinnacle of the city-builder, city-sim genre, having dethroned Sim City. It has its issues, for sure. The lack of mixed-use zoning and the overreliance on car-based travel are disappointing in particular. But, working around that and with the help of a few (hundred) mods, Cities offers an unparalleled canvas for painting a city. Moments of intense concentration, placing things just right, are interspersed with blissful periods of sitting back and just watching the city work.

The Coronavirus Quieted City Noise

Highlight

And then there are the birds — so many birds, who all seem so much louder. In fact, it’s likely that they’re actually quieter now than before the pandemic. They no longer have to sing louder to be heard over the racket of the city, a behavior, known as the Lombard effect, that has been observed in other animals, too. — The Coronavirus Quieted City Noise, Quoctrung Bui and Emily Badger in The New York Times

Coronavirus is not fuel for urbanist fantasies

Highlight

On Sunday, the New York Times published an op-ed series on cities and inequality pegged to the coronavirus crisis. But a piece on how to redesign urban space post-COVID-19 never once mentions race, revealing a troubling blind spot in the way urban designers talk about this crisis: The idea that safe, generous and accessible common space is fundamental to public life is an essential American ideaas old as the Boston Commonbut if our current catastrophe can help recapture this birthright, it will have served a small purpose.

Streetspace for London

Highlight

We’re working with London’s boroughs to identify places where temporary changes are needed to support social distancing or that would benefit from cycling and walking improvements. To help our customers walk and cycle wherever possible, we’re concentrating on three key areas: Quickly building a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials and including new routes, to help reduce crowding on the Tube and trains and on busy bus routes Changing town centres so local journeys can be safely walked and cycled where possible, for example with wider pavements on high streets to give space for queues outside shops as people safely walk past while socially distancing Reducing traffic on residential streets, creating low-traffic corridors right across London so more people can walk and cycle as part of their daily routine Some of the temporary changes we’re making could become permanent.

Cities Are Meant to Stop Traffic

Highlight

Sale goes on to list four ways in which cities should think about slowing traffic down: Cities should not try to move people to facilities but provide facilities where the people are. Cities should be small enough so that inter-community trips, when necessary, could be managed either on foot, by bike, or with some simple subway or trolley system. Cities should attempt to slow down the flow of traffic, particularly with plenty of squares and plazas and parks, places where wheeled vehicles are forced to halt, endpoints that invite stopping and resting.