Urban Design - Case Studies and Examples

John Pattison
John Pattison
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"Lessons from the Streets of Tokyo"

An urbanist abroad discovers that Tokyo faces many of the same challenges as U.S. cities—off-street parking, pedestrian safety, utilizing space, etc.—but is addressing them in very different ways.

"This Neighborhood in Germany Shows Us Why American Planned Communities are So Abysmal"

We all know the pitfalls of master-planned communities, right? Sterile. Homogenous. Certainly not adaptable or resilient over time. Is there a way around it? Maybe, if this fascinating case study from Germany has anything to teach us. And it all starts with one word: Baugruppen.

"The Streets of Paris"

The United States isn’t France, but there are still plenty of lessons to be learned—and myths to be busted—by looking at the way their streets are designed to build wealth.

"Can You Build a Resilient Place from the Ground Up?"

Can a master-planned community be consistent with Strong Towns principles of iterative, bottom-up placemaking? We take a tour of Serenbe, Georgia, an experiment in New Urbanism and eco-conscious living on the far outskirts of Atlanta.

"The Key to a Great Public Space? It's In the Edges."

Our immediate reactions to a place are often deeply rooted in human psychology—including the biological preference for “edges.” Here’s a city that’s done that well. Has yours?

"What Does a Strong Towns Master Plan Look Like?"

Our preference for the incremental, iterative, and bottom-up is well-known. But does that mean there is no room for big dreams and master plans?

"'I Wanted to Build a Town, Not a Development'"

An interview with Steve Nygren, developer of Serenbe, Georgia, about how Serenbe is unlike conventional suburbia, and why Nygren thinks it holds lessons for how all of our communities could achieve a better way of life at a lower cost.

"How to Turn Neglected Alleyways into Thriving Public Spaces"

Paul Fast, the principal architect at HCMA (a Canadian architecture and design firm), discusses its "More Awesome Now" project and how you can revive neglected alleyways in your own neighborhood, including how to assess the needs of the neighborhood, how to measure the success of the project, and how to consider all members of the community in its design.

American Alleyways Series

"The American Alley, Part 1: A Hidden Resource"

Overlooked and neglected for too long, it’s time to rediscover the strength-building potential of the American alley.

"The American Alley, Part 2: Origins of the American Alley"

Looking at the history of the alley reveals not only why they were once so useful, but why they are underutilized in many cities today.

"The American Alley, Part 3: The End of the American Alley"

Let’s look at how alleys fell out of favor in the American development pattern, and how this relates to zoning codes and ADUs.

"The American Alley, Part 4: Rediscovering the Forgotten Human Scale"

There is a human scale that has been forgotten here in America. Here’s how we might be able to reintegrate it into our cities.

"How To Turn a Neglected Alley Into a Beloved (and Wealth-Generating) 'Minor Street'"

If your city has alleys, chances are they aren’t generating the kind of wealth and productivity they should. This new, free e-book can help change that.

"The Bottom-Up Revolution is... Turning Alleys into Productive Space"

Thomas Dougherty sees tremendous potential in alleys.


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