Nashville’s Star Rises as Midsize Cities Break Into Winners and Losers – The New York Times

Forty years ago, Nashville and Birmingham, Ala., were peers. Two hundred miles apart, the cities anchored metropolitan areas of just under one million people each and had a similar number of jobs paying similar wages. Not anymore. The population of the Nashville area has roughly doubled, and young people have flocked there, drawn by high-paying jobs as much as its hip “Music City” reputation. Last month, the city won an important consolation prize in the competition for Amazon’s second headquarters: an operations center that will eventually employ 5,000 people at salaries averaging $150,000 a year.

Birmingham, by comparison, has steadily lost population, and while its suburbs have expanded, their growth has lagged the Nashville area’s. Once-narrow gaps in education and income have widened, and important employers like SouthTrust and Saks have moved their headquarters. Birmingham tried to lure Amazon, too, but all it is getting from the online retail giant is a warehouse and a distribution center where many jobs will pay about $15 an hour.

Amazon’s announcement has been widely described as a rich-get-richer victory of coastal “superstar cities” like New York and Washington, regions where the company plans to employ a total of at least 50,000 workers. But the company’s decisions also reflect another trend: growing inequality among midsize cities.

Nashville and the other Amazon also-rans, like Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, are thriving because of a combination of luck, astute political choices and well-timed investments. At the same time, Birmingham and cities like it, including Providence, R.I., and Rochester, are falling further behind.

Source: Nashville’s Star Rises as Midsize Cities Break Into Winners and Losers – The New York Times

4 Projects That Show Mass Timber is the Future of American Cities

As architects face up to the need for ethical, sustainable design in the age of climate change awareness, timber architecture is making a comeback in a new, technologically impressive way. Largely overlooked in the age of Modernism, recent years have seen a plethora of advancements related to mass timber across the world. This year alone, Japan announced plans for a supertall wooden skyscraper in Tokyo by 2041, while the European continent has seen plans for the world’s largest timber building in the Netherlands, and the world’s tallest timber tower in Norway.

4 Projects That Show Mass Timber is the Future of American Cities https://www.archdaily.com/905601/4-projects-that-show-mass-timber-is-the-future-of-american-cities

According to the Federal Government, the Suburbs Don’t Exist – News | Planetizen

Shawn Bucholtz and Jed Kolko describe one of the facts of American life: most U.S. residents live in suburbs, but the federal government doesn’t actually categorize communities as suburban. The federal government makes a distinction between urban and rural, but not for suburban. “The lack of an official federal definition of suburban means that government data are not reported separately for suburban areas. That makes it hard to measure the reach and impact of federal programs and to produce vital statis

Source: According to the Federal Government, the Suburbs Don’t Exist – News | Planetizen

With 31,000 New Units Expected to Open By 2020, NYC Neighborhoods Brace for Change – Localize Labs

New York City saw more 12,800 units open in the first half of this year, with another 31,000 expected to open by 2020, according to an analysis from Localize.city.Nearly 60 percent of the new units are opening in the top 10 neighborhoods; more than a quarter are in just three neighborhoods: Long Island City, Williamsburg and Bushwick.

Source: With 31,000 New Units Expected to Open By 2020, NYC Neighborhoods Brace for Change – Localize Labs

Figure of the week: Africa is home to the 10 fastest growing cities in the world

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs projects that the world’s 10 fastest growing cities, between 2018 and 2035, will all be in Africa. The visualization below first maps the location of the fastest growing cities in the world with a population greater than 2.5 million. Interestingly, many of the fastest growing African cities are specifically located on the Gulf of Guinea including Lagos, Abuja, Abidjan, Doula, and Kumasi.

Figure showing 30 of the world's fastest growing cities

 

 

 

 

Source: Figure of the week: Africa is home to the 10 fastest growing cities in the world

Wildfires can’t cool hot real estate markets | Grist

More people than ever want to live on the wild edges of Western cities, despite the risk wildfires pose to their homes. A recent study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, found that wildfires drive down real estate prices only in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Home prices in burned areas typically rebound to pre-fire levels within one to two years.

……

Yet developers will continue to build in high-risk areas as long as there’s a demand. Residential growth in forested areas across the United States has exploded in recent years, from an estimated 12.5 million housing units in 2000 to 44 million by 2010. “We should be worried about that,” said University of Nevada, Las Vegas, research economist Shawn McCoy, who led the study. “The societal costs of wildfire will increase, because people continue to develop there. They know that those homes will sell regardless of the risk.”

….

The researchers found that the value of homes within sight of burn scars did dip after a fire and was slower to rebound. But even there, homebuyers’ awareness of fire risk didn’t impact their willingness to invest in those properties. Overall, housing values in the high-risk zones dropped in the year following a wildfire, but rebounded to pre-fire prices in one to two years.

….wildfire suppression accounts for 52 percent of the Forest Service’s budget; by 2021, it’s projected to increase to 67 percent….

Source: Wildfires can’t cool hot real estate markets | Grist

Rising seas could wipe out $1 trillion worth of U.S. homes and businesses | Grist

 

Some 2.4 million American homes and businesses worth more than $1 trillion are at risk of “chronic inundation” by the end of the century, according to a report out Monday. That’s about 15 percent of all U.S. coastal real estate, or roughly as much built infrastructure as Houston and Los Angeles combined.

The sweeping new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists is the most comprehensive analysis of the risks posed by sea level rise to the United States coastal economy. Taken in context with the lack of action to match the scale of the problem, it describes a country plowing headlong into a flood-driven financial crisis of enormous scale.

 

Check out interactive map to see how your home, zip code or community does: http://US Coastal Property at Risk from Rising Seas.

Union of Concerned Scientists report at: Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate (2018)

Grist: Rising seas could wipe out $1 trillion worth of U.S. homes and businesses

Naiipa Art Complex / Stu/D/O Architects | ArchDaily

Worthwhile to go to website and check out the photos.

Text description provided by the architects. Naiipa (Literally means ‘Deep in the Forest’) is a mixed use project consisted of an Art Gallery, Sound Recording Studio, Dance Studio, Restaurants, Coffee Shops, and Office Spaces. It is located on Sukhumvit 46, a small street that connects Rama 4 road to Phrakanong BTS Station on Sukhumvit road. The project is named after the concept of concealing the architecture in the forest as the vision of greenery is expanded by using reflective glass all around.

Source: Naiipa Art Complex / Stu/D/O Architects | ArchDaily

Piece by Piece, a Factory-Made Answer for a Housing Squeeze – The New York Times

 The future is coming and it’s modular:

The United States needs new housing, but its building industry isn’t big enough to provide it. The number of residential construction workers is 23 percent lower than in 2006, while higher-skill trades like plumbers, carpenters and electricians are down close to 17 percent. With demand for housing high and the supply of workers short, builders are bidding up prices for the limited number of contractors. Advertisement Construction prices nationwide have risen about 5 percent a year for the past three years……

 

 

The global construction industry is a $10 trillion behemoth whose structures determine where people live, how they get to work and what cities look like. It is also one of the world’s least efficient businesses. The construction productivity rate — how much building workers do for each hour of labor they put in — has been flat since 1945, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. Over that period, sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and retail saw their productivity rates surge by as much as 1,500 percent. In other words, while the rest of the economy has been supercharged by machines, computers and robots, construction companies are about as efficient as they were in World War II.

Source: Piece by Piece, a Factory-Made Answer for a Housing Squeeze – The New York Times

Bringing Some New Ideas to an Older Part of Amsterdam – Next City

 

By night, Reguliersdwarsstraat is one of the busiest streets in central Amsterdam. A hub for the city’s LGBTQ community, its restaurants, bars and clubs attract large numbers of locals and tourists alike. By day, however, the picture is markedly different. Despite being just steps away from Amsterdam’s famous floating flower market, the area has struggled to attract the daytime crowds. Related Stories Bronx Worker Cooperative Plans to “Compost Capitalism” Baltimore Businesses Team Up to Address

Source: Bringing Some New Ideas to an Older Part of Amsterdam – Next City

Why we all need Deaf urbanism – Greater Greater Washington

Deaf Urbanism is about changing the conversations around our cities, bringing our Deaf cultural values to the city at large, and preserving our place in society at large — as well as defining urbanism for our own community. Many tenants of Deaf Urbanism have to do with fostering a sense of inclusion as well as eliminating ableism and tokenism…

Deaf Urbanism is really just good design

Many able-bodied people benefit from technological advancements that were first designed for Deaf people, such as subtitles and texting. In urban contexts, various design ideals in DeafSpace include tactile elements, visual access and wayfinding throughout the urban environment. Tactile elements are simply changes in the walking surfaces to denote uses and boundaries — think of a rough stone edge near a curb, so that when you are looking away, you can feel with your feet when you are reaching the edge.

When it comes to visual access, having buildings and spaces that are open, have lots of light, and have direct visual connection benefit everyone. Being able to see your friends in a group in a building across the way on the second floor is simply good design. Applying these items in a larger urban context, we can use different materials in paving to denote different spaces and transitions, such as a cafe, a sidewalk, and a crosswalk. Having appropriate visual connection of buildings to Metro stations instead of buildings obscuring the visual landscape benefits everyone.

Many other urban design elements — such as gentle slopes and wide sidewalks instead of stairs — benefit people that have limited mobility and are also appreciated by able-bodied people. Another example is reduced curb cuts, which benefit pedestrians and bikers as well as people who are Deaf and disabled. Instead of having to step down or look for cars, an able-bodied person can just walk through…

Deaf people communicate in a 3-D language that can benefit planning conversations. It is intuitively simpler to communicate a 3-D environment in a 3-D modality. In our roundtable conversations for Deaf Urbanism, we discuss the scale of streets and how they should look with bike lanes, streetcar lanes, and the like in only a few signs…

Source: Why we all need Deaf urbanism – Greater Greater Washington

Via: Placeswire.org

Blowing down the Saddledome and building a new Victoria Park – Calgary – CBC News

Imagine you were given a serious chunk of Calgary’s core, a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, and told you could turn it into whatever you wanted.That’s pretty much what the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is doing with Victoria Park.Planners and a couple of architectural firms are hammering away at a vision for the future of one of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods.It’ll be a 20-year plan to turn what’s currently a seriously bizarre jumble of skyscrapers, empty lots, an aging Saddledome, a bus barn and several rail lines, into Calgary’s entertainment district of the future. And a cool new place to live.

Source: Blowing down the Saddledome and building a new Victoria Park – Calgary – CBC News

Retrofitting suburbia: Old shopping malls can be saved by their parking lots – Business – CBC News

 

In what some call “retrofitting suburbia,” fading food and department stores are reinventing their huge urban properties by filling them up with residential, office and retail space.And with Sears Canada closing dozens of department stores, new opportunities in these “mixed-use” developments now abound.”Just about every shopping centre — if they’re smart — is looking at this,” said Brent Toderian, an international consultant on urbanism and city planning based in Vancouver.Brent Toderian”Just about every shopping centre — if they’re smart — is looking at this,” said Brent Toderian, an international consultant on urbanism and city planning based in Vancouver. (CBC)”The recognition is that you can bring more customers, you can get more value out of the land and, particularly when you’re around transit, you can provide a lot more transit ridership rather than car dependency.”Such revelations aren’t new in the United States but the idea has caught fire more recently in Canada.

Source: Retrofitting suburbia: Old shopping malls can be saved by their parking lots – Business – CBC News

7 ZIPs That Exemplify Suburban Comeback | Realtor Magazine

For the first time in a decade, the number of Americans living in suburbs grew faster than that of urban dwellers in 2017, buoyed by young homeowners who are planting roots outside cities, according to the Brookings Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.“

You’re seeing more millennials moving to the suburbs, especially as they have kids,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com®. “People are definitely looking for affordability, better schools, less crime. … More outer suburbs have really put in an effort to develop walkable town centers and other places for people to gather to enjoy similar benefits they’d find in urban centers.”

Realtor.com®’s research team analyzed the ZIP codes outside the nation’s largest cities to find the best suburb for each major metro for families. They factored in housing affordability (defined as less than $400,000 to buy a home for most metros); percentage of children residing in each ZIP code; availability of child care; school rankings; number per capita of restaurants, bars, and museums; crime rates; and reasonable commuting time (considered 70 minutes or less).

Source: 7 ZIPs That Exemplify Suburban Comeback | Realtor Magazine

Latest Renderings for Kearny Point, New Jersey’s Former Shipyard Being Transformed into a Small Business Hub | Untapped Cities

A very interesting project to track. Conversion of an industrial waterfront into a modern office park with exceptional architects/planners and a developer with a vision.

 

 

Aerial view of the Kearny Point site. Image via STUDIOS Architecture (Architecture) in collaboration with WXY architecture + urban design (Master Planning).

Kearny Point, which is located cross the Hudson River in Kearny between Newark and Jersey City, is being positioned as a sustainable business campus. The developer, Hugo Neu, is renovating and redesigning spaces that were once dedicated to one of the most well-known and most active shipbuilding sites, which opened in 1917 in the months leading up to the entrance of the United States in the first World War…..The developers have since renovated a first building, Building 78, that serves as Kearny Point’s proof of concept. It currently houses 150 small businesses, of which over 70% of which are minority or women-owned, a co-working space called Kearny Works, a cafe and a blue roof. The site also houses various companies, including a vertical farm, a bridal design company, a vitamin company, and much more.

A master plan has been developed by WXY, the architecture and urban design firm behind projects like the Spring Street Salt Shed and DSNY Manhattan District Garage, the Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park, the redesign of Astor Place, and the reconstruction of the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk. At Kearny Point, WXY has envisioned a comprehensive plan that will densify the site, add public open space, offer new waterfront access, restore native habitat, and protect the site from flooding.

$1 billion is planned to be invested over the next decade, contributing to 7000 new permanent jobs and new tax revenue for the state and local jurisdiction. There will be three million square feet of converted or new office space. In addition, 15 acres of restored shoreline will accompany a new 4,100 foot waterfront promenade and 10 acres of publicly accessible civic and open space, including a 20,000 square foot amphitheater. It is anticipated that the waterfront area around the south basin and Building 197 will be completed this year, with another large portion of the historic yard anticipated to be completed between 2017 and 2018. A second waterfront phase is projected to be completed by 2023.

Source: Latest Renderings for Kearny Point, New Jersey’s Former Shipyard Being Transformed into a Small Business Hub | Untapped Cities

The Boomtown That Shouldn’t Exist – POLITICO Magazine

| Erika Larsen for Politico Magazine

Cape Coral may be the best place to gauge the future of the dream—and to see whether Florida has any hope of overcoming its zany developmental, political and environmental history—because Cape Coral is the ultimate microcosm of Florida. It’s literally a peninsula jutting off the peninsula, the least natural, worst-planned, craziest-growing piece of an unnatural, badly planned, crazy-growing state. Man has sculpted it into an almost comically artificial landscape, with a Seven Islands section featuring seven perfectly rectangular islands and an Eight Lakes neighborhood featuring eight perfectly square lakes. And while much of Florida now yo-yos between routine droughts and routine floods, Cape Coral’s fluctuations are particularly wild. This spring, the city faced a water shortage so dire that its fire department feared it couldn’t rely on its hydrants, yet this summer, the city endured a record-breaking flood. And that “50-year rain event” came two weeks before Irma, which was also supposedly a 50-year event.

Source: The Boomtown That Shouldn’t Exist – POLITICO Magazine

GCR – News – More disasters predicted as analysis exposes “widening construction knowledge gap”

 

An unprecedented study of 6 million pieces of data claims to shows that the knowledge framework underpinning UK construction is not fit for purpose.As the industry reels from the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, the study’s authors warn that practitioners do not have ready access to critical knowledge and that more mistakes are “inevitable”.Designing Buildings Wiki, an open knowledge base, says it has undertaken the first comprehensive mapping of construction industry knowledge.

Source: GCR – News – More disasters predicted as analysis exposes “widening construction knowledge gap”