Streamlined Streets Aim to Enhance Houston’s Quality of Life

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

Dunlavey Street in central Houston typifies the image of a Southwestern city street. It’s a sprawling, four lane affair that is approximately 50 percent usable, 80 percent pedestrian unsafe, and, in this case, 100 percent in need of an update. Transportation officials are evening out the numbers for a proposed road diet that would reduce the four-lane street to two and using the outer lane space for parking, improved sidewalks, and bike lanes.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minneapolis breaks ground on massive downtown east development

Minneapolis developers broke ground May 13 on a mixed-use development in Downtown East. (Ryan companies/DML)

Minneapolis developers broke ground May 13 on a mixed-use development in Downtown East. (Ryan companies/DML)

Earlier this month, workers broke ground on the largest Twin Cities real estate development project in two decades. Budding off a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, designed by HKS, locally based Ryan Companies saw an opportunity to redefine the Minneapolis neighborhood of Downtown East.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Plan Commission Approves New Skate Park for Grant Park

(Chicago Park District)

(Chicago Park District)

This month, Chicago’s Plan Commission approved plans for a new skatepark at the south end of Grant Park. Plans were released last fall, showing curvy paved pathways and sculptural landscape features courtesy of the Chicago Park District and North Center urban design studio Altamanu. Read More

St. Louis Exhibition Explores Street Design in Grand Center Arts District

(Great Streets Project: Grand Center)

(Great Streets Project: Grand Center)

St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes. Though it was hit hard by suburban flight during the 1950s, in recent years the historic and predominantly African-American community area has enjoyed an artistic revival bolstered by theaters and cultural institutions like the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

Now a confluence of development corporations and nonprofits want the midtown neighborhood “to become the premiere cultural and entertainment tourist destination in the Midwest.” Read More

Q+A> Mathieu Lefevre, Executive Director of the New Cities foundation

Mathieu Lefevre (Courtesy New Cities Foundation)

Mathieu Lefevre (Courtesy New Cities Foundation)

This year, the Europe-based New Cities Foundation is bringing its annual New Cities Summit to the Dallas Arts District, from June 17 to 19. Eight hundred global thought leaders will convene at the Winspear Opera House to listen to speakers, engage in workshops, and take advantage of world-class networking opportunities. The Architect’s Newspaper is one of the summit media partners. AN Southwest editor Aaron Seward recently spoke to Mathieu Lefevre, the Executive Director of the New Cities Foundation, about what the organization has on tap for this year’s summit, whose theme is Re-imagining Cities: Transforming the 21st Century Metropolis.

Aaron Seward: Let’s start by getting some background on the New Cities Summit. What is it? Why did it start? And what does it hope to achieve?

Mathieu Lefevre: The New Cities Summit started when the New Cities Foundation was set up, in 2010. It’s a non-profit whose mission is to make cities better. The event is aimed at shaping the global conversation and adding to the creative thought leadership surrounding how to shape what we are calling the Century of Cities. We held the first summit in 2012 in Paris; then we went to São Paulo, Brazil, in 2013; and this year we’re coming to Texas.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Energetic City: Design Trust Calls on Designers to Create Connected Public Space

The Energetic City. (Courtesy Deutsch NY)

The Energetic City. (Courtesy Deutsch NY)

On Monday, dozens of designers, planners, and community organizers packed the amphitheater at the newly opened LEESER-designed BRIC House in Brooklyn‘s rapidly-growing BAM district. The attendees were there to hear the details of the latest Request For Proposals (RFP) from the Design Trust for Public Space, The Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm.

The Design Trust has launched pivotal projects before, like their Five Borough Farm that is helping to redefine urban agriculture in New York City. This time, the group is seeking new ideas for public space and, according to a statement, “develop new forms of connectivity among the diverse people, systems, and built, natural, and digital environments of New York City.”

Continue reading after the jump.

San Antonio Mayor Reportedly Tapped To Replace Donovan as HUD Secretary

Julian Castro who is expected to be the next HUD Secretary. (FLICKR / NOWCastSA)

Julian Castro who is expected to be the next HUD Secretary. (FLICKR / NOWCastSA)

President Obama will reportedly nominate San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If confirmed by the senate, Castro will succeed Shaun Donovan, a trained architect, who has been at the agency since 2009. Donovan is expected to head the Office of Management and Budget.

Continue reading after the jump.

LMN Architects Materialize a Metaphor in Cleveland

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Wrapped in textured precast concrete, LMN Architects' Global Center for Health Innovation is a high-tech addition to Cleveland's civic core. (Ed LaCasse, LaCasse Photography)

Wrapped in textured precast concrete, LMN Architects’ Global Center for Health Innovation is a high-tech addition to Cleveland’s civic core. (Ed LaCasse, LaCasse Photography)

A digitally-designed medical products showroom plays well with its City Beautiful neighbors.

The Global Center for Health Innovation, designed by LMN Architects along with the attached Cleveland Convention Center, is more than a showroom for medical products and services. Located adjacent to the Burnham Malls, the open space at the heart of Daniel Burnham’s Group Plan of 1903, the building is part of Cleveland’s civic core. “One of the things about the Global Center is that it has a unique expression and in particular the facade treatment,” said design partner Mark Reddington. “But it’s also a really integrated piece of a bigger idea and a bigger composition.” A dynamic combination of textured concrete panels and irregular slashes of glazing, the Global Center’s facade, which won honorable mention in AN’s 2014 Best of Design Awards, deftly negotiates the gap between the building’s historic context and its function as a high-tech marketplace. Read More

Dallas Developer Wants to Adopt Abandoned Parking Lot, Turn it Towards Economic Viability

(Photo Courtesy of HKS Architects)

(Photo Courtesy of HKS Architects)

Dallas developer Shawn Todd is proposing a $100 million parking-garage-and-park combo for a downtown parking lot that Dallas has been trying to get underway for years now. And while stories about parking garages aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, Todd’s plans are making a particularly idiosyncratic splash. Besides a massive media screen, a Trader Joe’s grocery store, and adding a plethora of parking spots to downtown Dallas, the garage and park won’t cost the city a penny. Todd plans to pay for it all by himself.

Continue reading after the jump.

Before & After> Baton Rouge Proposes an Ambitious Greenway Overhaul

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How the greenway might look as it passes through Expressway Park.

 

As AN reported in our latest Southwest edition, Baton Rouge and New Orleans are gearing up for changes across their respective urban landscapes with two new master plans by landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels. The firm has shared these before and after views of the proposed Baton Rouge Greenway, which provides “a vision for a greenway that connects City-Brooks Park near LSU’s campus on the south side of the city to the State Capitol grounds to the north, while stitching together adjoining neighborhoods and other smaller landscaped areas along the way” Slide back and forth to see existing conditions and SMM’s plans for the area and be sure to learn more about the projects in AN‘s news article.

See more after the jump.

Washington D.C. To Grow World’s Largest Urban Greenhouse

East, News, Urbanism
Monday, May 19, 2014
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Officials from BrightFarms inside one of the company's Pennsylvania facilities. (Courtesy BrightFarms)

Officials from BrightFarms inside one of the company’s Pennsylvania facilities. (Courtesy BrightFarms)

From junk metal and rubble to tomatoes and kale. That’s the plan for a vacant lot in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. located just under six miles from the United States Capitol building. Over the next few months, the 2.3-acre site, which has been covered in trash for years, will be transformed into the world’s largest urban greenhouse.

Read More

“Urban Ballet” of Reclaimed Chairs Comes to Times Square This Weekend

Art, City Terrain, East, Urbanism
Friday, May 16, 2014
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Chairs like these will be on display in Times Square. (Courtesy

Chairs like these will be on display in Times Square. (Courtesy

This weekend, design firm Bade Stageberg Cox will transform Times Square with the help of nearly 50 reclaimed chairs painted taxicab yellow. The chairs will be arranged like theater seats and Times Square will be the stage. “As the plaza is occupied throughout the day, the chairs’ movement and rearrangement becomes a performance about the ways in which people inhabit the public realm and shape it to suit their needs,” said the firm in a statement. The installation is part of their Street Theater series, and coincides with New York City Design Week.

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