Posts Tagged ‘New Urbanism’

2012 Ted Prize Winner: The City 2.0

Kudos to the folks at TED for their brilliant choice of the 2012 prize winner. Yes, the city! The city is where most of us live — in or near –and contains that magical nexus of vitality and possibility. TED’s vision: The City 2.0 embodies a remaking of cities at their best — livable, walkable, beautiful, green cities. The best part?  These places not only spur sense of community and wonder, but also economic development and sustainable living.

Here’s more on the TED Prize for 2012 and details on how the $100,000 prize will be invested in developing this idea.

America’s most walkable cities

What is it about Paris, Savannah, and New York if you don’t mind excessive dirt that inspires romance and magic? In case you couldn’t quite put your finger on it, it’s about urban planning — the scale and walkability and sense of community that can come from thoughtful design. I heard Andrés Duany, a.k.a. “the father of New Urbanism,” make these remarks a couple of years ago at a conference on creating “Lifelong Communities” that was produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission and backed by AARP. Led by the wildly witty and incisive Duany, the conference gave voice to what I’ve been feeling for years but never quite had a name for. New Urbanism or what I’d like to call “Duh?” means green cities, walkability, and a wide range of great transportation options — including green cars.  We need all of that. And I’ve been hooked ever since that event on the sheer logic of these imperatives.

Yes, we should have communities that allow people to age in place and not be shipped off to sad, age-segregated Siberian zones. Yes, we should encounter the vibrancy and joy of public spaces that naturally draw neighbors together. And yes, doing these things will green our cities and pocketbooks and restore public health by cutting pollution and encouraging physical activity.

Anyway, The Atlantic has an interesting article on the most pedestrian-friendly cities in America. Among the “top 11” are Arlington, Va., Austin, Tex. and Decatur, Ga.

Check it out:

First phase of the BeltLine opens this weekend

The Atlanta Memorial Trail opens for business tomorrow at 3 p.m.

Libraries as linchpins of urban renewal

So I was in Boston over the weekend and enjoyed the breathtaking reverence of the Boston Public Library — an ornate and awe-inspiring fortress of learning.

But as establishment as it is, the “BPL” could be considered a model for the kinds of “libraries of the future” being discussed by Jonathan Lerner, a New Urbanist advocate and accomplished Atlanta writer, for Miller McCune.

These libraries join together gyms, shops, cafes and spaces that are public and private, noisy and silent and altogether fluid to create vibrant  urban centers a la New Urbanism. Fascinating examples have taken shape in Seattle, Salt Lake and Vancouver among other cities.

What’s interesting is that New Urbanism — a fantastic movement — really advocates the return to the old urbanism: walkable, mixed-use cities with lots of access for everyone and central, communal spaces.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that our great classic libraries, The Boston Public Library, like the New York Public Library, function(ed) in these roles — as majestic urban pillars that play host to myriad resources from lectures and activities to cafes along with treasure troves of books. Of course, these are exceptions to ordinary libraries that serve as quiet enclaves for study.

I’m very excited about reclaiming the library in a modern incarnation of all its glory.

Read more about it here: