Urban Planning

Transportation On A Busy Street

Another of Johnston’s 1894 views: “The Bowery, N.Y.” The Third Avenue elevated was 16 years old, so new but not that new, and still operated by steam train; the street cars are cable cars, not yet electrified. To us, it all looks old, but from the perspective of someone in 1894, the elevated steam trains …

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Time and Distance Are Variable

The name “Coney Island” is, generically, a long (east-west) and narrow (north-south) peninsula at the southern tip of Brooklyn, defined geographically by the Coney Island Creek on the west and Sheepshead Bay on the east. People have done a much better job defining the peninsula: the Belt Parkway now does a nice job cutting it …

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Looking Straight Down

Another army air corps photo, looking down in April 1937 on lower Manhattan. There are a few interesting details to this view, starting with the fact that you can judge the height of the buildings very effectively by their shadows. A shot like this helps explain the use of the word “canyons” to describe the …

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Development Patterns Visible

Back to the aerial photography. The picture above and the next one down are from the spring of 1938, the third is from 1940. They go together nicely as they are, in order, a long north-facing view of the southern tip of Manhattan, with the Hudson on the left and the East River on the …

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Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal Win The Pritzker Prize

If you pay attention to the architecture world, you’ve seen a notice about this year’s Pritzker winners and some discussion of the goals they work towards in their practice. I’ll summarize it below, but given the amount that has been written, you’re better off looking elsewhere for details. I want to discuss what their work, …

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