Daily Archives: October 10, 2009

“Transforming a sea of asphalt”

What was that down at Awatea Street. Ever get sick of petrochemical surfaces and glaring urban planning ineptitudes… And yes, DCC urban designers, I agree with you, public streets can be more than traffic corridors – the potential mixes or sequences of use are the opportunity…

Chris Doudney, retired University of Otago Staff Architect sent me this link, saying: “The comments run the full gamut of objection/support – I liked the heartfelt one from the waterfront champion.”

BY DESIGN
Allison Arieff – A New York Times Blog
September 22, 2009, 10:00 pm
Pavement to Parks

Last Friday, cities and towns throughout the world celebrated Park(ing) Day, an event created to bring awareness to the importance of using and enjoying public space. Witnessing all those swaths of pavement transformed into plant-filled community gathering spaces (Streetfilms.org has a short film of San Francisco’s Park(ing) Day) got me thinking about — given the tangential way my brain works — the process of land-banking.

Land banking — the strategic acquisition of land in advance of expanding urban development, and the holding on to it as long as possible to maximize profits — is especially pronounced in once-booming, now-busted city centers like Las Vegas, Baltimore and Phoenix, which by the way now has more vacant land than any other major city in the United States. With the economic downturn things have changed somewhat, but there remain huge numbers of empty lots being “banked” in downtowns nationwide, all waiting for a real estate recovery.
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– Allison Arieff is editor at large for Sunset, and the former editor in chief of Dwell magazine. She is co-author of the books “Prefab” and “Trailer Travel”, and the editor of many books on design and popular culture, including “Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht” and “Cheap Hotels”. Allison Arieff lives in San Francisco.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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