Urban Planning

All In The Context

The archetypical American home is a wood-framed stand-alone house. Despite the growing popularity of apartments, attached townhouses, and other options besides the detached singe-family house, that type still dominates. Using data from the Census Bureau, the estimates are (as of 2017), there are something like 121,560,000 “housing units” in US, of which 76,833,000 are detached, …

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Differing Degrees Of Approval

Sometimes my reading creates accidental synchronicity. “The real answer is ‘maybe’” by Karrie Jacobs is, like all of her writing, a thoughtful examination of both a physical issue and its social context. “New York City will take steps to combat the problem of ‘zombie homes’” by Valeria Ricciulli is, on the other hand, a tightly-focused news …

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Learning Something New

There are a few details about Manhattan’s street grid that are reasonably well known: the numbered grid north of Houston Street was adopted in 1811 to deal with the rapid growth of the city, Lexington and Madison Avenues were inserted on either side of Fourth (later Park) Avenue because those blocks were too wide, the …

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Different Issues In Reuse

No matter how much you’ve seen, you’ve never seen everything. The current proposal to open up Hart Island in New York as park land contains some rare, if not unique, issues. A little background: Hart Island is one of the small islands in the East River, and arguably the most isolated, off the shore of …

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Rethinking Traffic

Traffic congestion is a non-linear process. If it were linear, adding ten percent more vehicles to Manhattan’s streets would result in a ten percent increase in crowding, but that’s not what happens. Because the streets are already congested, adding ten percent extra may be the difference between traffic moving and gridlock. This should not be …

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