A new Florida HOA proposal is threatening to ban children from playing outside - in their own neighborhood. This got us thinking about the importance of shared space and its impact on the health of kids and communities. There are lots of design solutions that could be implemented to benefit the neighborhood as a whole (woonerfs, anyone?) It comes down to a question, not of behavior mandates, but a change in perception.
Cities and regions across the world are launching ambitious transportation plans all in the name of sustainability. The EU's new proposal, Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area, aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transit and transport sectors by 2050. The plan is ambitious but not flashy— it promises a shining new transportation network focused equally on innovative technologies and the classic continental experience.
Every community wants to be considered the “most livable,” a title that can attract new business and investments, boost local economies and real estate markets, and foster community involvement and pride. Now, everyone from the Economist to seems to be getting in on the game of ranking cities for livability. The Philips Livable Cities Award is about to announce the winner of its new contest supporting new ideas in livability. Cities of all kinds have been described as the most livable—But what do residents think? And what does "livable" truly mean?
The concept of designing cities that meet the social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of residents of all ages is one that IMCL has been advocating for years. Several new initiatives are underway to address the needs of some of a city's most vulnerable residents— children. These initiatives present the perfect opportunity to talk about how the smallest planning and design changes can have some of the most profound impacts. The also demonstrate how doing what's best for children just might help cities reach their livability goals.
In his recent book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, HRH The Prince of Wales presents an eloquent and impassioned call for a Sustainability Revolution. As president of the Foundation for the Built Environment, the Prince emphasizes the importance of a holistic vision for designing and planning sustainable, livable cities that foster community capital. The book shows how all the areas the Prince has addressed in the past – architecture and planning, agriculture, education, the arts, healthcare, society and economy – have suffered as a result of our disconnect from Nature. Through outstanding examples and best practices, he shows how each field is beginning to heal through the exemplary work of individuals and groups around the globe. Prince Charles urges us all to work collaboratively, creatively and with urgency that we might “tread more lightly upon this Earth, the miracle of creation that it is our privilege to call ‘home’.
The principles of True Urbanism are a key piece of planning for livable communities. While these characteristics are ideal for all ages, they are essential for the health and well-being of aging populations. On his blog, Phil’s Adventures in Elderburbia, Phil Stafford discusses the way that policy, planning, and design can impact aging generations. As the director of the Center on Aging and Community, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University, Stafford has a unique perspective on what makes communities livable for all ages.
Despite the (likely underestimated) price tag, concerns over budget shortfalls, and the emphasis on public transit, high-speed rail is receiving bipartisan support in Congress and at the state level. At a time when gas prices are set to reach $5 per gallon, you’d hope that common sense and the desire for energy independence would make support for high-speed rail a sure thing—a nonpartisan issue...
A new bill proposed by New Jersey's State Assembly will support both local farmers and low-income neighborhoods with the "New Jersey Fresh Mobiles Initiative!"
In recent years, bike lanes have become an essential part of sustainable transit systems. They’ve made it safer and easier for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians to share the road. Well, a new development in the Netherlands will take the advantages a step further by installing solar panels on the bike lanes themselves. Is this a practical idea, an interesting yet not feasible design, or a complete waste of time?
Or two steps back? Since Henry Ford rolled out his first Model T more than a century ago, cars have not only influenced the economic and social fabric of America but have influenced the way we build our neighborhoods and cities. In recent years, however, concerns about climate change, energy independence, and peak oil have given us pause. We’ve begun to amend urban transportation systems with public transit and alternative transit infrastructure (including hybrid car priority parking, designated bike lanes, and pedestrian corridors) and it looks like those trends will continue. But in most cities throughout the nation, the car still reigns supreme.
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