We’ve been following Los Angeles’ several proposedÂ Freeway Cap ParksÂ (in Downtown LA, Hollywood, and Santa Monica among other places) for years now, with a healthy amount of skepticism. But the first of these is (really? really!) moving toward reality. Friends of the Hollywood Central Park, a non-profit organizing a cap park over the 101 Freeway near the center of Hollywood, along with LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks have begun the environmental review processÂ forÂ the transformative 38-acre space.
Michigan‘s first bus rapid transit line launches this week, whisking passengers from downtown Grand Rapids through the city’s â€œMedical Mileâ€ and south suburbsâ€”a 9.6-mile journey that used to take 45 minutes will now be only a 27-minute commute, reported mlive.com.
The air inÂ Beijing, ChinaÂ is dirty, and a new report suggests it won’t be getting cleaner any time soon. Beijing residents received the grim news from the Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection regarding the city’sÂ air pollution levels. Following studies done by the institute, researcher Pan Tao has estimated the return of safe air pollution levels in 2030. The World Health Organization has stated in the past that the concentration of PM2.5, particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less per cubic meter, should not exceed 35 micrograms per cubic meter. In 2013, however, the level of PM2.5 in Beijing measured 89.5 micrograms per meter.
Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to secure funding for itsÂ planned $1 billion restoration of the Los Angeles River, projects along the waterway’s banks are sproutingÂ up regularly, including parks, cafes, trails, and even new buildings. The latest, reported KCET, is the Elysian Valley Marsh Park, a three-acre landscape expansion on what was once an auto body complex in LA’s Elysian ValleyÂ neighborhood.
In a few short years, the term placemaking has migrated from wonky urban planning circles to neighborhoods across the countryâ€”that communities come together around public space is no groundbreaking observation, but when successful the idea can be revolutionary on a local scale.
So hopes Chicagoâ€™s Metropolitan Planning Council, who this weekend will sponsor â€œOld Place New Tricks,â€ a bid to â€œactivateâ€ neighborhoods from Englewood to Ravenswood with public space interventions that range from a â€œhealthy eating happy hourâ€ to â€œSelfie Sunday.â€
Last week AN plugged an event that aimed to turn downtownÂ ClevelandÂ into a festival of lights. Sure enough, colorful projections flooded the walls of downtown cultural institutions while a massive rainbow arched over the city and iridescent discs of rainbow light saw curious Clevelanders clambering about.
Earlier this month, the Van Alen Institute announced Future Ground, an internationalÂ design competition that is hoping to attract fresh strategies for reusing the many vacant lots that dot New Orleans. The competition is seeking submissions from landscape designers, architects, planners, public policy wonks, and pretty much anybody in the business of shapingÂ urban environmentsÂ andÂ is supported byÂ the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), which owns more than 2,000 vacant lots.
There are somewhere aroundÂ 30,000 empty lots and abandoned structures throughout New OrleansÂ today, most of themÂ leftÂ byÂ Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the cityÂ in 2005. As the 10-year anniversary of the storm approaches, Future Ground is looking toÂ createÂ design and policy strategies capable of adapting toÂ changes in density, demand, climate, and landscape in New Orleans over the next half-centuryÂ in an effort to turnÂ these abandoned landscapes into lasting resources.
A new public plaza in Sunnyside, Queens proves that creating inviting public space doesnâ€™t require lots of moneyÂ and a lengthy designÂ processÂ â€“ especially in a crowded city like New York. Thatâ€™s certainly the case with Bliss Plaza, a recently-opened plazaÂ tucked underneath the tracks of the 7 train. Frankly, thereâ€™s not all that much to it â€“ save for a new sidewalk, some planters, and a handful of bright bistro tables and chairs. But hereâ€™s what Bliss Plaza does have: People. And thatâ€™s the key.
San Francisco’s deputy mayor for transportationâ€”who played an integral role in getting the city to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquakeâ€”passed away on July 30th. He was 68. After the earthquake struck the city, Wright convinced former San Francisco mayor, Art Agnos, to help lead the effort to remove the highway and replace itâ€”not with another highway, but instead with a boulevard at street level.
New York Governor Andrew CuomoÂ has signedÂ a bill that allowsÂ New York City to lower its default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25. The legislation, which is expected to go into effect within 90 days, is part of the city’s ongoing effort to reduce traffic fatalities. Specifically, reducing the city’s speed limit has been one of the central pieces of Mayor de Blasio‘s Vision Zero agenda. “This is another vital step toward making New York City streets safer for every family,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “Our Vision Zero initiativeâ€™s mission is to save lives, and that is precisely what this legislation accomplishes.”Â