‘Cities are both the source of progress and the source of division and left to their own devices they will not heal themselves’.
Richard Florida, Urbanist
Monocle, The Urbanist, Episode 290: The New Urban Crisis [15:50]
4 May 2017
(While I most certainly agree with the first part of this statement, the second bit makes me wonder: What happened to organic cities? Aren’t most urban planners inspired by old cities? Don’t they try to artificially mimic organic development today? And if so, is it so unthinkable to just let cities heal themselves… organically?)
‘The scarcest resource in cities today is not money, but coordination.’
Alejandro Aravena, 2016
United Nations Press Conference, New York
‘…[in the UK] we have a planning framework that prioritises profit over placemaking and in some cases we have no planning at all.’
Kate Henderson, 2017, Central Saint Martins, FUNDAMENTALS lecture series
(watch Kate Henderson, Liane Hartley, Adele Maher, Euan Mills and Finn Williams discuss the #fundamentals of planning here)
Yesterday UK’s housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell announced that £7.4 million will be invested to support the delivery of new homes and settlements including 14 ‘garden villages’ and 3 ‘garden towns’. This, of course, prompted the Garden City debate once again.
I researched this subject extensively 2 years ago when the 100-year-old idea re-surfaced due to the Wolfson Economics Prize competition. Yesterday’s news got me obsessing about Garden Cities again so I decided to outline the common misconceptions about Ebenezer Howard’s model that I observe every single time the topic re-emerges.
Continue reading “5 common misconceptions about Garden Cities”
‘Not only is the city an object which is perceived (and perhaps enjoyed) by millions of people of widely diverse class and character, but it is the product of many builders who are consonantly modifying the structure for reasons of their own… No wonder, then, that the art of shaping cities is an art quite separate from architecture or music or literature.’
Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, 1960
(I am currently working on a panel for a walkable cities exhibition so I am looking for inspiration in some of my favorite books on urbanism)
Ever since Ebenezer Howard first published his book ‘Tomorrow: a peaceful path to real reform’ in 1898, Garden Cities have been a highly influential but also extremely controversial concept. During the 20th century, the idea had a profound effect on urban planning not only because it was used as a framework for the building of many new settlements and suburbs, but also because it was recognised as a milestone in planning theory and inspired a number of urban design movements. Nevertheless, the Garden City also suffered heavy criticism for being a destructive, impractical and utopian planning model. Continue reading “Are Garden Cities the solution to UK’s housing crisis?”
Here is an interesting Halloween-themed article on urban planning:
CURBED reports that cities such as New York and Pittsburgh spend millions on campaigns aiming to decrease traffic fatalities by making people ‘afraid of the dark‘ instead of investing in better road infrastructure, better street lighting or targeting dangerous drivers. Is it more effective to advise people to stay safe through posters and flyers than to actually make them safe? What is your opinion?
I am afraid of the dark, but only because it is Halloween tonight. Have a spooky one!