Fast-growing Austin is at a crossroads. Officials there are weighing the adoption of a new land development code. Will the city settle for the status quo—drive-by urbanism and a code that doesn’t adequately address the need for more housing? Or can something better emerge?
We all know the pitfalls of master-planned communities, right? Sterile. Homogenous. Certainly not adaptable or resilient over time. Is there a way around it? Maybe, if this fascinating case study from Germany has anything to teach us. And it all starts with one word: Baugruppen.
Dan Burden has been called the “Johnny Appleseed of pedestrian and bike design.” You asked one of the world’s foremost experts on planning for healthy, active communities your questions in our latest Ask Strong Towns—and now we’re sharing the video.
The poorest neighborhoods also tend to be the warmest. That’s according to a fascinating study of the 97 largest American cities. Here’s why extreme heat is more likely to affect the poor and what communities can start to do about it.
We hear it everywhere we go: people want, and cherish, the kind of complete neighborhood where you can meet most of your daily needs within a 15-minute walk. What will it take to create more such places in North American cities and towns?
Large swaths of our cities were built to reflect a post-World War Two boom that was an economic anomaly. But that party is long over…and, in many ways, wasn’t that great to begin with. So why do we keep romanticizing the past rather than thinking about the cities we need now?
The killing of Michael Brown’ in August 2014 brought global attention to police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S. While there have been some reforms in Ferguson over the last five years, other structural issues — including a city infrastructure largely not built to benefit the people who actually live there — remain the same or have gotten worse.
It’s a paradox, but cities can set the stage for the unscripted. These playful surprises cater both to young and the young-at-heart, and they endear the community to visitors and residents alike.
The United States isn’t France, but there are still plenty of lessons to be learned—and myths to be busted—by looking at the way their streets are designed to build wealth.
“Sustainable” is a buzzword that often conjures images of technological wizardry aimed at solving environmental problems. But what if our ancestors knew a lot more about sustainability than we give them credit for?
Giving valuable space in cities over to cars isn’t great for building walkable or productive places. But for now at least, our urban neighborhoods need some parking. This an area where thoughtful design can help us solve multiple problems at once.
Traditional architecture has evolved through millennia of trial and error to harmonize with our unconscious impulses, make us feel comfortable and encourage positive social behavior. Modernism too often throws those lessons out the window—and one architect thinks the trauma of World War I had something to do with why.
What’s the most suburban kind of place you can think of? If you said an outlet mall, you’re probably not alone. Is there a path to incrementally retrofit these malls to a more human-scaled environment… and even if there is, is it worth the trouble?
Tax-exempt properties have a significant fiscal footprint. Do we understand the impacts we create through the too-often wasteful way we design and build public facilities such as city halls, schools, libraries, and parks?
We use the phrase “traditional development pattern” in dozens of Strong Towns essays. Here’s your one-stop-shop explainer article as to what that means.
Incrementalism is not an end in itself. It’s not about stubborn insistence on some sort of small-is-beautiful aesthetic for its own sake. Incremental development is a practical means to the end of resilient, financially sound places.
We’ve destroyed so many traditional, human-scale neighborhoods in America that we tend to think of the ones that remain—like New Orleans’ famous French Quarter—as inherently exotic, the kind of place you love to visit but certainly wouldn’t live. Let’s stop treating timeless, great urban design like it’s only for tourists.
What exactly is the “human scale”? And have you ever thought about just how little of the public space in your city is designed at that scale—even in places you think of as walkable?
Human behavior can be influenced in subtle—and often very pro-social—ways through design of place.
A new Arkansas law prohibits cities from regulating the design of single-family homes in almost all instances. This is a bad idea which takes away an important tool in a city’s toolkit to nurture strong, productive places.