Urban Planning

Compare And Contrast

That’s the “Suicide Curve” from a different angle, looking north and east from the northwest corner of Central Park. The billboards are across the street from the park, presumably at the site of a new building under construction. But that’s not what I want to talk about… New York, 1900, Sixth Avenue looking north from …

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The Process Of Urban Development

I’ve written before about how insanely convoluted the history of land in Manhattan can be, but that’s honestly an easy target. Manhattan is the site of the most intense urban development in the US, so we’d expect its history to be messy. In trying to answer what I thought was a simple question about the …

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The Suicide Curve

In a picture from 1900, the elevated train follows an S curve, from heading north-south on Ninth (Columbus) Avenue at 110th Street, east to heading north-south Eighth Avenue (Central Park West / Frederick Douglass Boulevard). Given that the area was barely built up at the time, and some of the streets weren’t even opened yet, …

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Improving The Future

To continue the thought from a post last week, a lot of people noticed that city centers were improved – in horrible circumstances – by the reduction in car traffic during the Covid-19 lockdowns this spring. It’s inevitable that people will look for a silver lining in this enormous cloud, but beyond that we need …

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The Illusion Of Rationality

Visitors to New York are often surprised to find out how easy it is to get lost. It’s a big city, but everyone knows we have a numbered grid, so how hard can it be to find your way around? There are several problems, starting with the fact that New York’s numbered grid was something …

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