Tag Archives: design

(1213) CNU report highlights transportation woes for suburban poor

Congress for the New Urbanism has produced a report on the spatial hardship of living in sprawl.  Lower income people often find themselves pushed outward to places where transportation drains their resources when it comes to community participation, shopping, access to employment or public services.  CNU should be commended for adding greater depth to their general critique of placemaking with this document.  Seattle/Tacoma is the focus of the report but it’s general assumptions are applicable beyond there.
Why we should take suburban poverty seriously
cnu.org
image: Joe A Kunzler via Flickr/CC

(1212) Houston’s socioeconomic disaster


Nearly a week was required just to get a basic description together of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005.  Assessing Hurricane Harvey won’t be any easier.  If Katrina is the template we know that lower income and racialized groups will be bearing the brunt of this, big time.
An item from Thursday’s Washington Post is a good starting point regarding this multi-layered event and its consequences.
Poor Texans are going to suffer the most in Harvey, thanks to state politics
(video 1:22)
Media largely blind to Harvey’s devastating impact on poor Communities.” Hurricanes don’t care if you’re rich, poor, white, or black—but that doesn’t mean that every person is equally vulnerable to a storm.”
commondreams.org
Houston’s human catastrophe started long before the Storm. Decades of neglect, inequality, and disenfranchisement mean that all Houstonians, but especially the poorest and most vulnerable, have been left utterly undefended
thenation.org
Consider how inappropriate regional development makes Houston so vulnerable.
Hurricane Harvey wrecks up to a million cars in car dependent Houston
wired.com
More zoning wouldn’t have protected Houston from Harvey’s fury but less sprawl would have
nymag.com
Houston must plan an inclusive recovery after Harvey flooded its public housing
urban.org
Harvey tests the limits of how we feed people during disasters
citylab.com
See also: (1207) Hurricane Harvey
image: screenshot of newsreel from Texas Archives holdings

(1174) Suburbs matter to cities


US president 45’s inaugural address entered America’s uneven popular culture almost before he finished it, full, as it was, with references to urban social disaster.  The Donald’s portent-laden words seemed to reinforce and reflect still widely held beliefs about US communities, ones that deny urban success stories and suburban difficulty.  With that in mind, we read with tons of interest a recent survey of US city-watchers, and what they feel their issues are..
What’s the greatest risk cities face?
politico.com
image: Sean Davis via Flickr/CC

(1165) AI sees wealth & poverty from space


An artificial Intelligence application that processes US Census data and digital satellite photos is in existence.  Penny can crunch the physical and numerical life of your community and describe its status.  Yes, it is amazing.  Yes, it is a tad creepy.  Powerful stuff but what to do with this to better communities is the question to ask.
Try it out on St. Louis, MI
An AI that preidcts neighbourhood’s wealth from space
wired.com

(1142) Reimagining the dead malls

Figuring out what to do with overbuilt retail could become part of creating a better suburban economy, no?  One suited to present reality better than dreams of endless, mindless growth?
We recently went along on an organized walk to see a mall here in Mississauga, Ontario that has replaced much of its retail space with services.  One of its former anchor stores has been insurance company office space for years now.  Many U.S. malls are in places where the surrounding economy is not as strong as it is here.  That’s a problem.   But if the dead malls are up and built on land already hooked up to municipal services then they are candidates for some creative thinking.  We’d rather see a dead mall redeveloped than farmland destroyed.
Here’s what could happen to America’s hundreds of dead malls
businessinsider.com
Where a shopping mall used to be an opportunity arises
The decline of malls in America can mean lost jobs and lower tax revenues for states and municipalities — but not always
governing.com
image: Travis Estell via Flickr/CC