Urban Update 22 Jan 2017

20 Jan 

Technological progress alone will not stem resource use – MIT News
Researchers find no evidence of an overall reduction in the world’s consumption of materials.

Sandwell Council Urban Design and Building Services team design and procure £4m housing project

Amanda Reynolds (UDG Past Chair) wins Finnish Masterplanning Award
The scheme is a brownfield regeneration of Tampere providing homes for 25,000 people, in three distinctive neighbourhoods with an  identity growing from the adjacent Lielahti Lake and existing heritage factory buildings.  A strong central park will include a new tram route.

Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging  – University of California
Elderly women with less than 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day and who remain sedentary for more than 10 hours per day have shorter telomeres — tiny caps found on the ends of DNA strands, like the plastic tips of shoelaces, that protect chromosomes from deterioration and progressively shorten with age.

NOAA research shows the global average of mild weather days will drop, with dramatic declines for some, increases for others  - AAAS
Tropics to lose milder days, U.S., Canada, northern Europe to gain milder days – potentially 10-15 per annum.

Finding ways to fix climate change before it is too late -  Gemini research news
production of steel, other metals, cement and chemicals (including plastic) account for roughly 50 per cent of all industrial greenhouse gas emissions.

NOAA publish local maps of sea level rise –  US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Change in sea level is not uniform but varies

Advice for maximising memory – tell someone else what you have just learned – Baylor University

Insight into Scotland’s curious vitrified hillforts – Past Horizons

The glorification of history may give rise to a willingness to fight in a war – University of the Basque Country
Research by the University of the Basque Country concludes that a person's willingness to fight in a war is also associated with a dominant, universal belief, in all contexts and cultures, that regards the course of history as social progress.  This can be allied with the representation of historical figures as heroes, and a justification of warfare and violence as a necessary part of the path of that progress.  The research is of relevance to the resurgence of nationalism, extremism and populist politics, which threatens to destabilise nations and communities alike. Sometimes it seems that the people who tirelessly work to build society receive less recognition than those who act to dismantle it. 


19 Jan

UK housing stock value soars to a record £6.8tn – Financial Times
London and south-east account for almost half the total

Pork Chop Lots – how to densify and provide housing for senior citizens by developing rear gardens - Edmonton

UK Government has ‘huge mountain to climb’ to tackle housing crisis – Local Gov

Why you should exit a car using the hand furthest from the door – Readers Digest

Design solutions for housing, race and segregation that reflect local people’s views – St Louis Radio Programme
“Many designers have good intentions but don’t understand problems on the ground”    Important to design something for a particular community and not something generic.

Open to all? Why public realm design needs a rethink – Construction News

London's Surface Design Show returns for 2017 7-9 Feb


18 Jan

Birmingham Eastside masterplan in line for national award – Birmingham Post
Urban Design Group, the UK's national body for urban design, has shortlisted the project alongside three others in its annual awards for best practice

Would your neighbourhood pass the “cup of sugar” test? - Treehugger

Applicants sought for London mayor’s new architecture panel

Houston – call for change in parking requirements to reflect circumstance  - Houston Chronicle
NB – the UK’sSpace to Park” suggests levels of parking that reflect whether a site is inner city, suburban, rural etc.

Planning fails - Unionville Elementary morning car drop-off insanity – Youtube Video
Unionville Elementary School, Charlotte, North Carolina (700 pupils) is located well away from the nearest housing (eg 500 metres – which perhaps isn’t that far away).  Many/most/all of the parents bring their child to the school by car.  The school staff have organised a sophisticated traffic routing system around the school driveways and car parks that reduces queuing on the highway.   Instead, a queue develops on the school grounds of around 400 metres, plus a further 200 metres or more on the highway.

The system doesn’t solve the problems of noise, air pollution, fuel costs, non-epidemic disease, including obesity, cardiovascular disease.   Alternatives might be several small schools, rather than one big school, and providing from the outset a series of safe segregated cycle paths radiating from the schools, to the nearby housing areas, plus 20mph speed limits on the local roads.
Aerial view on Google Maps

The Evolution of Modern Architecture, Engineering, and Design Firms – Urban Land

Delhi has plans to make Connaught Place a car-free zone. Why can't other cities follow its example?

“Depressed mood and exhaustion” may lead to as many deaths from cardiovascular disease as obesity – possibly 15 percent of all deaths in males aged 45-74 - Technical University of Munich

Large sample study finds mortality reduces with increasing (self-reported) exercise levels – Loughborough University
Source paper

X-Ray Your City's Street Network, With a Bit of Code - CItyLab
new open-source tool lets users compare the structure of cities around the world.


17 Jan

Watch the Tides Change from This Thames River Museum Proposal – ArchDaily

New Environmental Protection Act needed after Brexit – House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee

Driverless Cars  Waymo – Google Driverless Car Project

Uber releases data to help cities with transport planning – The Atlantic CItylab

Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams look at 7 more cities in US and Canada – The Atlantic Citylab
Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams

London Borough of Hackney acts as developer on high-rise to fund schools and homes – BD Online

Winning Proposal for Finland Bay Masterplan Transforms Industry into Innovation - Archdaily

England’s Housing White Paper May be delayed  30th Jan or later


16 Jan

Highly important' Anglo-Saxon village remains discovered in Cambridge housing site – Cambridge News

Meet the Y.I.M.B.Y. estate owners building new towns on their land – at their own expense – The Telegraph
Tornagrain, Invernesshir: Earl of Murray;  Welbourne, Hampshire: Thistlethwayte; Chapelton, Aberdeenshire: Duke of Fife.

Modern Car-biased Urban Design is Killing Us  - CTV-USA

American Medical Association Adopts Guidance to Reduce Harm from High Intensity LED Street Lights – AMA
LED streetlights emit large quantities of blue light with a wavelength that most adversely suppresses melatonin during night.  Melatonin is one of the hormones that regulates bodyclocks in humans and animals. Brighter residential night-time lighting is associated with reduced sleep times, dissatisfaction with sleep quality, excessive sleepiness, impaired daytime functioning and obesity.
Also LED Magazine

These acid-white LEDs serve as a lesson for Toronto planners – Globe and Mail

American Institute of Architects (AIA) just declared the winners of the 2017 Honor Awards,

Architects institute awards Grace Farms for ‘new kind of public space’

Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan Wins Prestigious National Award

25 years of protesting against development in Vancouver – 3 planners give their perspective on what has changed – CBC News

Bronx all-affordable housing complex, breaks ground – NY Curbed

Crowd funded Report warns that Aylesbury Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy Won’t work
Issue is over expansion of housing  and a “town drowned in traffic with very poor air quality”