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BY ZACH MORTICE

Aerial photo of damaged homes along the New Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Greg Thompson/USFWS, Wikimedia Commons.

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ recent report on the economic damage and displacement that sea-level rise flooding will unleash called for investments “in a range of coastal adaptive measures,” such as “the protection of wetlands, and barrier islands, and other natural flood risk reduction methods” and other “natural infrastructure.” That puts the onus of surviving sea-level rise very clearly on landscape architects.

The report, Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate, which the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) compiled with help from the real estate website Zillow, shows the consequences of sea-level rise in the short and long term, down to the state, city, and zip code levels of granularity. Released in June, it estimates lost houses, lost home value, lost tax base, and lost population by the years 2035 and 2100. (more…)

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As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in different languages. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

Click above for a full PDF of the translated text with English text available below.

BY DANIEL ELSEA

FROM THE APRIL 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

Paris “is still a crucible, still a focal point.” These are words written by Henri Lefebvre, the philosopher and sociologist best known for his insights regarding urban development, power, and the organization of space in cities. He wrote these words in his seminal work The Production of Space as the dust was still settling from the trauma of the 1968 revolts that rocked the city. His words previewed a French modern tradition meant to inject gusto in the city—the grand projet. In the 1970s and 1980s came a string of grands projets: from great new cultural institutions with muscular buildings to match (Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay) to a corporatist paradise for French multinationals (the La Défense business district). The inauguration of grands projets continued apace through the 1990s with loud echoes of France’s global reach (Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe and Musée du Quai Branly) and a rather large park by Bernard Tschumi (Parc de la Villette). With their strong design pedigree and a dose of radicalism, these seductive projects are a bursting of the French id, and they’ve been good to French designers.

Crucially, grands projets involve heavy public sector backing. It is in this tradition that Paris has embarked on major regeneration projects around the Périphérique, the ring road around the edge of Paris proper. Three significant new neighborhoods are being built at the moment, and each of them features a large public park at its heart, the Grand Parc de Saint-Ouen, the Parc Martin Luther King, and Parc de Billancourt, designed by either Agence Ter or Atelier Jacqueline Osty, Parisian landscape architects known for their large-scale civic projects with a growing international profile. Ter recently won the competition to overhaul Ricardo Legorreta’s Pershing Square in Los Angeles.

The parks anchor massive regeneration projects delivered via public–private partnerships, or P3s, in which private developers collaborate with the state to deliver whole new neighborhoods and a significant expansion to Greater Paris’s housing supply. But these are not the P3s you might know. The public sector retains a majority share of ownership in the delivery vehicles set up for each. In France, one P is more important than the other two. (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

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The abandoned Michigan Central Station in Detroit. Image courtesy of Zach Mortice.

In a city beset by a nearly incomparable foreclosure crisis and 20 square miles of vacant land, there’s been a growing understanding that landscape architecture and Detroit are perfect for each other. But in 2017, the city will unveil a handful of new proposals on how the discipline can grow back healthy urbanism in the Motor City.

Detroit announced early this month that, after an RFP process, it is awarding a total of $1.6 million across four project teams to plan landscape and streetscape improvements including green stormwater management and infrastructure upgrades. Each team will focus on a group of neighborhoods, (more…)

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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Our cities' aging populations require new approaches to urban planning.

Our cities’ aging populations require new approaches to urban planning.

From the June 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

In December 2013, a massive ice storm crippled Toronto, killing 27 people and knocking out power for 600,000 Ontario residents. Without electricity, elevators in Toronto’s residential high-rises stopped working, and many elderly people were trapped. “I know that there were elderly women up on the 18th floor in a tower near our office who were trying to make tea on a little gas burner,” recalls Patricia McCarney, the director of the Global Cities Institute (GCI) at the University of Toronto. “The elderly were going between two floors to help each other for four days while they didn’t have power. They were actually having small tea parties up on these high floors! So there is a social capital out there, but if that went on any longer, who’s going to take groceries up to them? Who knows they even live there?”

McCarney’s story illustrates both the vulnerability and resiliency of our cities’ older people, a population that planners and designers of all types must increasingly account for. As the world becomes more urbanized, those urban centers are rapidly aging. In the next 25 years, the number of New Yorkers older than 65—currently 12 percent of the population—is expected to increase by 50 percent. According to a recent GCI report, the number of people in the world over 65 years of age will increase 183 percent by 2050, and according to the AARP, most of those elderly want to age in place rather than move to a traditional retirement community.

But building more “age-friendly” cities will be difficult without reliable city-level data about health care, housing, infrastructure, and other quality-of-life indicators. “City data is often either nonexistent or it’s very weakly constructed,” says McCarney, explaining that global statistics for things like mortality rates are often presented at the country, not city, level. McCarney and her team worked with 20 different cities, including London, Shanghai, Helsinki, Dubai, Boston, and Johannesburg to develop a standardized set of 100 indicators organized around themes like safety, recreation, governance, and urban planning. The result, published in May 2014, was ISO 37120, Sustainable Development of Communities—Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life, the first international standard for city-level data. (more…)

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