2014 New Cities Summit Calls for Re-Imagining the Urban Environment

The Summit workshop "Dallas: A Case Study in Re-imagination and Transformation," June 17, 2014, at the Winspear Opera House. (Courtesy New Cities Foundation)

The Summit workshop “Dallas: A Case Study in Re-imagination and Transformation,” June 17, 2014, at the Winspear Opera House. (Courtesy New Cities Foundation)

Nearly a month has passed now since the more than 800 people from all of the globe who attended this year’s New Cities Summit in Dallas, Texas, packed up their bags, and returned home. Each is now equipped—if the Summit proved its purpose—with a slew of practical ideas on how to positively transform the urban environment, or at least a more robust list of contacts in the fields of government, business, and urban design. For those of you who missed it, the New Cities Foundation has just released an ebook recapitulating what was discussed in its many keynote speeches, workshops, and panel discussions. The foundation has also produced a four-minute highlights movie (embedded below), which captures some of the enthusiastic spirit of this international gathering of urban thinkers and doers, which is now in its third year.

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Cleveland’s Public Square could break ground soon, thanks to $8 million cash boost

Cleveland's Public Square is the subject of a major redesign, which recently received a funding boost from a local foundation. (James Corner Field Operations and LAND Studio)

Cleveland’s Public Square is the subject of a major redesign, which recently received a funding boost from a local foundation. (James Corner Field Operations and LAND Studio)

Cleveland last year unveiled a plan to revamp Public Square—a space that, as its name suggests, is meant to serve as a civic space for the city’s downtown. Now an $8 million grant could make that ambitious project shovel-ready by the end of this year. Read More

Obama library round-up: Woodlawn, Lakeside, Bronzeville and more vying for nation’s 14th presidential library

(HOK)

HOK’s scheme for Bronzeville. (HOK)

Speculation over the future site of President Barack Obama’s presidential library has picked up as a slew of Chicago sites—as well as some in New York, Hawaii, and even Kenya—made the June deadline for proposals. Ultimately the decision is up to the President and the board tasked with developing what will be the nation’s 14th presidential library, but dozens of groups are attempting to tug at that group’s ears. (Even I used AN‘s June editorial page to consider the library’s urban impact.) Here’s a round-up of some of the Chicago proposals made public so far.

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Federal agency eyes St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe site for new development

"Baseball in DeSoto Park" by St. Louis' Pruitt-Igoe housing development. (Via Michael Allen / Flickr)

“Baseball in DeSoto Park” by St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe housing development. (Via Michael Allen / Flickr)

More than 40 years after its last high-rise fell, the site of St. LouisPruitt-Igoe public housing development remains basically empty. Design competitions, documentaries, and local developers have all pondered its future. Now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has said it’s considering the 34 acres once home to the infamous housing project as a location for 3,000 jobs.

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“Walk For The Dead” Urges Pedestrian Improvements in Los Angeles’ Highland Park

Protesters gather outside councilman Gil Cedillo's office in Highland Park. (NELA Art Gallery Night)

Young protesters gather outside councilman Gilbert Cedillo’s office in Highland Park. (NELA Art Gallery Night)

While Los Angeles implements plans for new bike lanes and other pedestrian improvements along its streets, there is still plenty of work to do. As part of that struggle, Highland Park residents and local activists this week staged the “Walk For The Dead,” along North Figueroa Street, wearing Day of the Dead makeup and costumes as a reminder of the pedestrians and bikers who have been killed by cars on the thoroughfare.

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Wrigley Field renovation saga goes into extra innings as neighbors reject latest plans

In 2013 The Cubs proposed a "Triangle Building" to the west of Wrigley. (The Cubs)

In 2013 The Cubs proposed a “Triangle Building” to the west of Wrigley. (Chicago Cubs)

Chicago’s Wrigley Field turns 100 years old this year. To many neighbors and architectural historians, however, the ballpark’s centennial celebrations are an afterthought to the real action: the years-long debate over how to update the landmark park without corrupting its beloved 1914 character. Read More

Detroit doubles down on startups and young creatives with new “innovation district”

Detroit, on the water. (Image courtesy Bernt Rostad via Flickr.)

Detroit (Image courtesy Bernt Rostad via Flickr)

As Detroit nears the one year anniversary of the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, creative professionals in a busy downtown corridor are the target of a Washington, D.C.–funded “innovation district” that hopes startups will rev Detroit’s stalled economic engine. Read More

The Music City’s New Urbanism: The Nine Projects Leading Nashville’s Transformation

Nashville at night. (joshunter / Flickr)

Nashville at night. (joshunter / Flickr)

For many, architecture isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when considering Nashville—it’s called the Music City for a reason. But there is more to Nashville than country songs, barbecue ribs, and the eponymous show on ABC. In recent years, the city of 600,000 has become a regional leader in smart urban design and distinctive architecture. New riverfront parks are transforming Nashville’s connection to the Cumberland River, bikeshare docks have appeared around downtown, bus rapid transit is in the works, and the city’s tallest tower is set to rise. And that’s just the start of it. Take a look at the city’s dramatic transformation and a peek at where it’s headed.

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Victory in Round 3 for Los Angeles’ MyFigueroa Streetscape Project

A recent compromise among stakeholders means that the project can now move forward. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

A recent compromise among stakeholders means that the project can now move forward. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

After four years of stops and starts, MyFigueroa, the $20 million proposal to transform Los Angeles’ Figueroa Corridor from a regional throughway to a bike- and pedestrian-friendly destination, appears to be moving ahead. Overseen by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) with design assistance from Melendrez, Troller Mayer Associates, and Gehl Architects, MyFigueroa will add separated cycle tracks or buffered bike lanes, bike racks, and improved transit shelters, lighting, and landscaping to 4.5 miles of streets between LA Live and Exposition Park.

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Amtrak to Launch Bike Storage Cars on Long-Distance Trains

The new bike racks. (Courtesy Amtrak)

The new bike racks. (Courtesy Amtrak)

Among the appeals of train travel is the ability to move between urban city centers easily, but until now, bringing your bike along for the ride was a burdensome venture. Well, good news cyclists. Amtrak is making it a whole lot easier to bring your bike aboard its trains. Gone are the days of having to break down your bike, pack it into a box, and stow it with luggage. The train operator is set to launch new storage cars that include bike racks.

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Proponents Lose Battle to Build Park Across Los Angeles River

The old Figueroa-Riverside bridge will be demolished as a new vehicular bridge is built upstream. (waltarrrrr / Flickr)

The old Figueroa-Riverside bridge will be demolished as a new vehicular bridge is built upstream. (waltarrrrr / Flickr)

A proposal to turn the old Riverside-Figueroa Bridge into a High Line–style park appears to be dead after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order to demolition crews. Introduced by RAC Design Build and EnrichLA last fall, the Figueroa Landbridge would have preserved part of the 1939 bridge for use by pedestrians and cyclists while the replacement span for vehicular traffic was built upstream. Read More

ArtPlace Announces 2014 Placemaking Grant Recipients

 

Pearl Street Bock Party in Philadelphia in 2013. (Courtesy Tim Lee)

Pearl Street Block Party in Philadelphia in 2013. (Courtesy Tim Lee)

ArtPlace America, a non-profit comprised of national and local foundations that provides placemaking grants, has awarded its latest round cash—nearly $15 million to implement projects in 79 communities around the country. This year, 31 percent of grants will go toward projects in rural communities, essentially doubling the amount allocated for similar projects last year.

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