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.
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
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.
Citylab has pulled together a Wakanda Reader, or online bibliography of sorts, to indulge those who are interested in the larger questions around urbanism implicated in Black Panther. We would call it a syllabus, but there are already several syllabi available—this #WakandaSyllabusfrom Walter Greason, an economic history professor at Monmouth University and founder of the International Center of Metropolitan Growth, is particularly good. This Wakanda curriculum for middle school grades from school teacher Tess Raker has also been making the rounds.
As for what else has been circulating, here’s an exhaustive, still-living-and-growing list of articles that build upon the Wakandan mystique:
From 2016 but even more salient today. Compare to Trump’s Infrastructure Plan once released and see where the plan misses the key points.
Congress was once a world leader in regional planning. The Louisiana Purchase, the Pacific Railroad Act (which financed railway expansion from Iowa to San Francisco with government bonds) and the Interstate System of highways are all examples of the federal government’s thinking about economic development at continental scale. The Tennessee Valley Authority was an agent of post-Depression infrastructure renewal, job creation and industrial modernization cutting across six states….
What would this approach look like in America? It would start by focusing not on state lines but on existing lines of infrastructure, supply chains and telecommunications, routes that stay remarkably true to the borders of the emergent super-regions, and are most robust within the new urban archipelagos…
Where possible, such planning should even jump over international borders. While Detroit’s population has fallen below a million, the Detroit-Windsor region is the largest United States-Canada cross-border area, with nearly six million people (and one of the largest border populations in the world). Both sides are deeply interdependent because of their automobile and steel industries and would benefit from scaling together rather than bickering over who pays for a new bridge between them. Detroit’s destiny seems almost obvious if we are brave enough to build it: a midpoint of the Chicago-Toronto corridor in an emerging North American Union.
To make these things happen requires thinking beyond states. Washington currently provides minimal support for regional economic efforts and strategies; it needs to go much further, even at the risk of upsetting established federal-state political balances. A national infrastructure bank, if it ever gets off the ground, should have as part of its charter an obligation to ignore state lines when weighing
Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new University of British Columbia study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs.
Ties in with The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (definitely worth reading) where he discusses how trees in a forest create their own micro-climate and provide each other with physical support against wind and storms. But also read where he discusses the plight of urban trees forced to live without the forest community that they evolved for.
The QLINE M-1 light rail line is scheduled to finally open in Detroit this weekend, with a full weekend of festivities to celebrate. The line will permanently connect several major destinations in greater downtown Detroit, and improve access to jobs and services for thousands of residents along the corridor. The project has already catalyzed more than $1 billion in real estate investment along the corridor. All told, the economic impact of transit-oriented development is expected to top $3.5 billion with
Symbol of Singapore, these “Supertrees” belong to a display at the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay. The high-tech structures range from 80 to 160 feet and collect solar energy to power a nightly light show. They have a softer side too: their trunks are vertical gardens, laced with more than 150,000 living plants.
A useful tool not just for L-Train Hell but understanding commute times from various locations in the City and hopefully additional cities.
Endless train delays and calcifying surface traffic have lately painted the New York City transit experience a deep shade of red. Soon, commuters will unlock a fresh level of hell when the tunnel housing the L train closes for 18 months to address Hurricane Sandy damage. Starting as early as 2019, the shutdown of the tunnel—and all L train stations west of Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn—will directly impact the 250,000 riders who shuttle between Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan every day.
The map isn’t only great for arguing about whose commute is about to suck the most. You can also debate how travel options compare, for better and for worse, as they presently are. Dropping a single pinpoint onto the map reveals, in shaded color, relative access by train and bus from that location to everywhere else in the city. Bed-Stuy is a transit-friendly place to live, with lots of places easily accessible:
Canals, boats, bikes, trains – what more could you ask for? What is now tarmac and piles of chained up parked bikes will become a great public space.
Widened canals—and underground bike parking—will bring the city’s Central Station a little closer to nature and history.
The annual list of the best planning, design, and development websites, representing some of the top online resources for news, information, and research on the built environment.
In its recent issues, The Architectural Review has been on a mission, highlighting a phenomenon that they have named “Notopia.” Characterized by a “loss of identity and cultural vibrancy” and “a global pandemic of generic buildings,” Notopia is – in overly simplistic terms – a consequence of the cold logic of market forces combined with a disinterested populace. The AR’s campaign therefore aims to analyze this “thing of terror” and push back by raising public awareness and by proposing alternatives. And they need your help.
Rapid housing price growth raises concerns about a housing bubble in China’s largest cities. Over the past year, residential real estate prices in 10 Chinese…
The physical heart of Cleveland is a 10-acre civic space called Public Square, but until recently it wasn’t exactly pulsing with life. Two of downtown’s busiest roadways, Ontario Street and Superior Avenue, bisected the square, and its four quadrants felt neglected and forgotten. Instead of being a destination, it was a place people avoided.
Yet now, following a 15-month, $50 million renovation, Public Square is reopening as a dramatically re-envisioned centerpiece of the city’s ongoing redevelopment efforts. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the architects behind New York’s High Line, it now has a lush green lawn, unobstructed city views, a full-service cafe with outdoor seating and a mirror pool that reflects the landmark buildings lining the square.
Perhaps most significantly, traffic has been eliminated through the park except for buses.
For places that were meant to be unseen, alleys take up a not-insubstantial amount of space. A 2011 report by Mary Fialko and Jennifer Hampton, graduate students at the University of Washington*, found that in Seattle, there are 217,000 square feet of public alley space downtown, 85 percent of which are underused. The report estimated that reinvigorating alleyways could increase the number of total public space in the city by 50 percent.Alleys, too, are vital players in a city’s overall ecosystem. As the need for cities to rely on more sustainable approaches has become more pressing, the proliferation of trash and flooding in alleyways has come to be seen not only an aesthetic blight, but an environmental one.And as Daniel Freedman of the Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative says, there’s a lot of crossover between sound environmental practices and livability. Revitalizing an alleyway creates an opportunity to introduce green infrastructure, but also, Freedman says, it invites the surrounding community to collaborate on improvements and make use of the space.