Archive for 'Urban Planning'

How the Livability Sausage is Made in Oak Park, Ill.

The trolls came out at 8:25 p.m. That fact alone wasn’t surprising. I was at a public hearing of the Village of Oak Park Planning Commission to discuss the draft of its new comprehensive plan. I expected a parade of CAVEs (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) once the presentations by the village and its consultant were […]

What We Can (And Can’t) Learn From Pharell About Creating Happy Cites

I recently attended the “Doable Cities Forum” in Chicago. One of the speakers was Charles Montgomery, author of The Happy City. The book is a great guide to the research and practice of creating cities that are not only livable, but will also improve the lives of people who live there by allowing them the freedom […]

The Growing Role of Livability in City Conversations

It’s a great time to care about cities because it seems as if cities are caring more and more about themselves. By that I mean that livability (small ‘l’) is entering into conversations in cities of all sizes. Here are some quick examples. I was invited to give a talk to the Downtown Committee in […]

Planning a City, the Marketer Way

How do you plan a city, especially one as huge, dense and diverse as New York? Further, how do you plan a region that includes such a city? As the Regional Planning Association prepares to draft its 4th regional plan, it’s taking an unusual step: It’s thinking like a marketer. It’s easy to plan based […]

An Opportunity for Density in Every City

At the moment, it’s not much to look at. Some dirt and a dream. But if the dream pans out – and it’s quite a dream – it could help awaken a sleepy community. And if you follow its lead, the ideas here could kick-start your community, too. Just outside Chicago lies Skokie, Ill., a […]

How Can Big Data Help Cities Incentivize Behaviors?

Cities have a lot of new tools in their toolboxes. No longer are cities confined to monumental projects like building highways or casinos to make an impact. Now, urbanism can take the form of smaller, more agile plans. No longer do cities need to hope citizens notice all the little ways they make a difference […]

Makin’ Places in Macon

A postcard from a random stranger. A vacant lot turned into a place to play the playground games of your youth. A public chalkboard filled with all of the things your neighbors love about their community. Small things. Things that don’t cost much. Things that can, nonetheless, plant the seeds of difference-making and place-making. That’s […]

Five Cities That Used to Have Trolleys

What does it take to undo a conspiracy? Looking back at trolley history, at the turn of the 20th century, every city with a population of 10,000 or more had streetcars, according to Daniel Parolek’s presentation to the Congress for the New Urbanism, cited in Jeff Speck’s Walkable City. Great public transit, it was reasoned, […]