Category Archives: Practice

Leon Krier Lecturing in Providence

2009_11 Krier Miami BuildingSave the Date! Leon Krier, one of the most influential architects and urbanists of modern time, will be lecturing in Providence on December 3rd at the De Ciccio Family Auditorium on Brown University’s Main Green, 5:30 to 7:30 PM.  For years, I have enjoyed coming back to Mr. Krier’s books for inspiration and clarification.  His cartoons are some of the most memorable diagrams I have ever scene. They so elegantly capture the direction we should be taking the development of our built environment.  Having recently lectured in a building of his design, I can attest that he is master of light and space.  It will be a true honor having him spend a few hours in Providence with us.

For more information on the lecture click here.

Can Providence Create Complete Streets?

Providence_bike_weybosset

Frequently riding my bike around Providence I have determined that yes the city can create complete streets. I see all of the “systems” and “facilities” being installed in bigger cities. like New York and Amsterdam, and wonder if there isn’t a simpler way.  Can the streets of a city be designed in a form that gives equal footing to all modes of transportation?

How we go about making this transition in Providence is an entirely different conversation that I hope to start this weekend. Friend, colleague and fellow editor of Living Urbanism, Mike Lydon will be stopping in Providence over the next two days.  I am hoping to learn a few things from him about bicycle planning and complete street development while showing him around our, more or less, bikeable city.

Mike was also nice enough to agree to pull together a presentation on the best practices of bicycle planning and livable streets development being given on Monday, 10/28, at 11 AM.  Check out the facebook event for more info.

For more information on Mike Lydon click here and reserve a copy of his upcoming book, Smart Growth Manual, written with Andrés Duany and Jeff Speck.

(photo by Providence Public Library)

An Essay on Civic Beauty

I published an essay on Civic Beauty and Placemaking over on the Living Urbanism blog. The idea for this essay came from the last year or so of experience working on Great Kennedy Plaza in Providence. During this project, I have had the pleasure of interacting with Fred and Ethan Kent from Project for Public Spaces. Their unique ability to understand and observe a public space is a skill I hope to one day enjoy as well. Much can be learn from PPS and their process.

I was also inspired by the writing of Camillo Sitte. It seems the idea of artistically created public space is still a difficult pill to swallow for most city officials. Its strange because I feel it an obvious connection for most to make when they are deciding on a vacation… “let’s go some place beautiful”. Shouldn’t all of our built environment be beautiful?

You can find the essay here. You can also find a nice extend comment on the essay by my friend Wayne Franklin here. The printed edition of this volume of Living Urbanism should be available early next week.

Volume 2 of Living Urbanism Just Published

We just posted the 2nd volume of Living Urbanism to the web. The print edition will hopefully be available next week. Check out the essays here. A big thanks needs to be given to all the contributors. It has been a real pleasure working with them over the past year. The publication would not be possible without their commitment and talented contributions.

Another big thanks to my co-editors Matt Lambert and Mike Lydon! Next up, volume 3. Keep an eye out for how to submit soon.

Living-Urbansim-Postcard-2009-final-low-1

Top 5 Must Read Summer Books for Urbanists

I heard many recommendation this week in Denver about books to read. It felt appropriate to pull together my own list. The books on this list have all in one way or another positively effected my practice.  I’ve assembled these into my CNU Denver Top 5 Books for Urbanists. I hope you find time on a nice beach this summer to read a few of them.

The 5 books are…

Camillo Sitte: The Birth of Modern City Planning: With a translation of the 1889 Austrian edition of his City Planning According to Artistic Principles (Dover Books on Architecture)
Self-Sufficient Urbanism: A Vision of Contraction for the Non-Distant Future
The Architecture of Community
Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs
Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life

It is worth mentioning one additional book as a bonus to those folks really looking to make a difference. It’s a quick read and well worth it. The Bonus book is…

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

“Beginning to Rethink Our Human Habitat” at Pecha Kucha Providence

My friend Stephanie Ewens was kind enough to shoot this video of my presentation at the first Pecha Kucha Night in Providence. I was amazed at how much thought needed to go into a 6 minute 40 second talk. It was super fun to give, but has opened up a lot more questions that I am just starting to put down on paper. Let me know what you think?

1st Pecha Kucha Night Providence is this Wednesday

pechakuchanight

I am looking forward to giving my 400 second talk this wednesday night at Pecha Kucha Night. Big thanks to Local 121 for hosting the event. The talk I am giving is on how we should begin to rethink the design of our built and natural environment. Should be fun. 

Design Tip: Rail Transportation as Green Landscaping

tram on grass

There has been some recent buzz about this interesting pattern in Europe. I have been thinking that as a piece of Living Urbanism the pattern of landscaping tramways could be improved by using native ground covers. Rain gardens could be added to catch storm water run off as well. You can see more photos here and there is some other interesting urban design ideas here from Monocle Magazine.