America’s Cities Are Running Out of Room – Bloomberg

Cities that were sprawling before the Great Recession have begun to sprawl again. Space-constrained cities, meanwhile, have run out of room to build. That reality has spurred developers to focus on center-city neighborhoods where high-density building is allowed—and new units command exceedingly high prices. Source: America’s Cities Are Running Out of Room – Bloomberg Advertisements

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…

Warrior for Truth and Beauty | City Journal

In many ways, Esolen’s book can be seen as a response to Mencken, a meditation on why beauty and truth are such inseparable mates—or contrariwise, why falsehood always begets ugliness. Certainly, Esolen’s concern for the absence of beauty in our culture has all of Mencken’s passionate solicitude. “Our young people are not only starved for nature,” he writes. “They are starved for beauty. Everywhere they turn, their eyes fall upon what is drab or garish.” Their schools, their music, their dress, their fast-food restaurants are unlovely. Indeed, even their churches are ugly. To gauge the quality of Esolen’s appreciation for…

As hundreds of toxic sites await cleanup, questions over Superfund program’s future | PBS NewsHour

In Brooklyn, Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s Executive Director Andrea Parker said the promise of a cleaner canal has already fueled considerable development in the surrounding neighborhood, even as the amount of affordable housing in the area decreases and some residents worry about displacement. But other locals remain optimistic that the project will be completed despite the threat of cuts to the Superfund program. Source: As hundreds of toxic sites await cleanup, questions over Superfund program’s future | PBS NewsHour

Shaking Up the 21st-Century Multifamily Market with a Missing Middle Neighborhood | Opticos Design, Inc.Opticos Design, Inc.

A New Model for Multifamily/Rental Housing: A Missing Middle Neighborhood The neighborhood will be significant in several ways. Nationally, there has not been a new, walkable, New Urbanist neighborhood of its kind developed with only Missing Middle Housing types; it will serve as a much-needed model for the Omaha and Lincoln regions, whose previous attempts at New Urbanism have fallen short on implementation quality; and this project will also define a new type and quality of multifamily housing (to use a loaded term) in the country. The site is 60 acres with a rolling topography that leads down to a…

The western idea of private property is flawed. Indigenous peoples have it right | Julian Brave NoiseCat | Opinion | The Guardian

We live in a world dominated by the principle of private property. Once indigenous people were dispossessed of their lands, the land was surveyed, subdivided and sold to the highest bidder. From high above, continents now appear as an endless property patchwork of green and yellow farms, beige suburban homes and metallic gray city blocks stretching from sea to shining sea. The central logic of this regime is productivity, and indeed it has been monstrously productive. In tandem with the industrial revolution, the fruits of billions of acres of dispossessed and parceled indigenous land across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Ireland…

‘The worst building in the world awards’ | Culture | Architects Journal

A massive gulf persists between the buildings that win architecture awards and those that  the public prefers, suggests research by Create StreetsIn 1987 a young psychologist conducted an experiment into how repeated exposure to an image changed perceptions of it. A group of volunteer students were shown photographs of unfamiliar people and buildings and asked to rate them in terms of attractiveness. Some of the volunteers were architects; some were not. As the experiment progressed, a fascinating finding became clear: while everyone had similar views on which people were attractive, the architecture and non-architecture students had diametrically opposed views on…

Create Streets

Create Streets is a non-partisan social enterprise and independent research institute focusing on the built environment. We encourage the creation of more and better urban homes with terraced streets of houses and apartments rather than complex multi-storey buildings. We support reform of the planning system to make it more effectively responsive to what people like in the built environment and campaign for community-led building and locally-supported estate regeneration to deliver homes that are popular and stand the test of time. Source: what we do – Create Streets

People prefer neo-traditional buildings — Adam Smith Institute

It seems obvious to me—and I think to most people—that housing built since the 1930s is by and large much less attractive than housing built before. But if this is true, and if we are much richer now than we were in the 1930s and before, then why would we build, buy and live in housing we don’t like? We have some sort of market in housing; surely if we really all preferred traditional housing styles we’d just buy it. A new paper (slides) provides the answer—at least if we can assume the UK and the Netherlands are similar in this respect….