How one woman harnessed people power to ‘save’ old New York | Film | The Guardian

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City tells the story of Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, who made herself the bane of New York’s powerful city planners from the 1950s to 1970s. Her nemesis was Robert Moses, the city’s powerful master builder and advocate of urban renewal, or wholesale neighbourhood clearance – what author James Baldwin termed “negro removal”.Moses dismissed the protesters as “a bunch of mothers”, and attempted to ignore their efforts to attract wider attention, which included taping white crosses across their glasses in the style of Jacobs.But through a combination of grassroots…

Cities need Goldilocks housing density – not too high or low, but just right | Life and style | The Guardian

I am an architect and I certainly consider myself an environmentalist, but it appears to me that in a lot of cities, these new glass towers don’t add much at all to the city in terms of energy efficiency or quality of life. Often they don’t add many more housing units than the buildings they replace. I am also a heritage activist, not because I particularly love old buildings, but because there is so much to learn from them and from the neighbourhoods. and cities that were designed before cars or electricity or thermostats, and were built at surprisingly high…

The Willis Tower In 150 Years

[Illustrated by Andrew Banks, Judson M.Arch.’11 concentration Traditional Architecture and Urbanism] When Chicago was still celebrating the end of the Civil War, the city had a population of roughly 200,000 people. The most memorable structure from that era, the Water Tower, was still three years from construction. Today, 150 years later, the city’s population has grown by more than 1,200 percent, and the city’s tallest building, the Willis Tower, is more than 1,300 feet taller than the height of Chicago’s tallest building in 1866. This is all to say a lot can change in 150 years. Which makes our question,…

On Sustainability | At Home & Afield

On the surface, sustainability with regards to building appears to be a very straight forward subject; if a building is built of materials that are readily and locally available, renewable, culturally relevant, and has minimal environmental impact; and, it is built to last a hundred, two hundred; let’s say, even a thousand years, then the building is a sustainable structure. A 2004 survey, The Actual Service Lives of North American Buildings noted that the average life of a building in North America is about 30 years, which, by any standard, is not very sustainable.  The study found that the largest…