Why Urban Design Should Come From The Bottom Up (Part 2)

Why Urban Design Should Come From The Bottom Up (Part 2)

Historically, a decentralized, trial-and-error process was how cities “discovered” which urban design features worked best for their own circumstances. Let’s look at the evolution of front setbacks in New York to understand how this works.

Oregon Frees the Engineers

Oregon Frees the Engineers

Remember that engineer who was fined in Oregon for saying, “I am an engineer”? He won in court. Again.

Why Urban Design Should Come From the Bottom Up (Part 1)

Why Urban Design Should Come From the Bottom Up (Part 1)

Professional planners are trained to yearn for tighter urban design controls, as if cities without comprehensive, top-down planning would devolve into chaos and disorder. In reality, cities evolve according to mechanisms that allow us to gradually discover optimal urban design across time.

Top 5 Stories from the Week (Jan 7–Jan 11, 2019)

Top 5 Stories from the Week (Jan 7–Jan 11, 2019)

This week we looked at how to design streets to slow cars without speed enforcement; how traffic engineers still don’t know how to think like pedestrians; what we can and can’t control about urban growth; the myriad benefits of local bookstores; the far more dubious benefits of dollar stores; and more.

One-Day Resolutions for Strong Citizens

One-Day Resolutions for Strong Citizens

In the new year, why not consider a few activities that you can complete in a single day that will help you see your town differently? Let’s call it the #StrongTownsChallenge. And don’t worry: there’s no ice water involved.

Pop-Up Shops: Lessons Learned and How You Can Start One in Your Downtown

Pop-Up Shops: Lessons Learned and How You Can Start One in Your Downtown

In this episode of our podcast It’s the Little Things, Jacob chats with Caroline Dobbins-Hurteau—staff member at Albion Reinvestment Corporation—about how you can start a successful pop-up shop, including how to pitch the idea to downtown organizations, how to find prospective tenants, and, most important, how to make it an incremental yet lasting success in your city or town.

Growth and the Fallacy of Control

Growth and the Fallacy of Control

The pitfalls of rapid growth are real. But trying to micromanage how, where, and even if our cities are allowed to grow is not the answer.

When Traffic Engineers Can’t Hear You

When Traffic Engineers Can’t Hear You

When an intersection checks all the boxes on the traffic engineer’s checklist—efficient flow, reduced crash rate, check—but remains a completely hostile place for humans, and we point that out, what happens? Often, the engineers don’t even seem to hear what we’re saying.

Top 3 Stories from the Week (Dec 31, 2018–Jan 4, 2019)

Top 3 Stories from the Week (Dec 31, 2018–Jan 4, 2019)

It’s 2019 and we’re back in action! This week we looked at how a big snowfall can illuminate your town’s resilience (or lack thereof); the excuses transportation officials use to justify inaction on deadly street design; why a Strong Town should resemble not a through street, but a destination; and more.

Residential Moats: Greater Rochester's Elmwood Avenue

Residential Moats: Greater Rochester's Elmwood Avenue

Wide, fast avenues through residential areas act as moats. They divide residents from jobs, resources, and each other, and harm cities’ prosperity and quality of life. Here’s one example of such a “moat.”

Using Native Species in Urban Landscaping

Using Native Species in Urban Landscaping

Nature is the original chaotic but smart designer. By landscaping our urban spaces with native plants, we can realize cost savings, improve quality of life, and achieve ecological benefits.