Category Archives: Street Network Evolution

the evolution of urban street patterns over time

The new building form creates exclusive pedestrian streets and private outdoor patios

Building Hybrids

Just like in cars and food crops, hybrids are a way of optimizing the best attributes of the elements that are brought together. Shelter hybrids deliver higher quality living based on the same principle.

CatamaranPriests_traveling_across_kealakekua_bay_for_first_contact_rituals2

Navigation and Legibility

  In an earlier article, Beloved and Abandoned, we presented the grid plan, using Portland’s layout, as a historic relic perhaps deserving of attention but clearly unfit for replication in contemporary settings. That, evidently, is not occurring in any case. Several commentators quickly pointed to the supreme legibility of the simple grid as a counterpoint;…

Continue Reading

Photo Caption: Pedestrian Streets, featuring houses and offices, dominate this new district. All rainwater is collected for local use.

Low Carbon Communities

Many speak of the need to measure the sustainability of development projects in order to avoid confusion and prevent the unchecked “greenwashing”.  Sustainability measurements involve aspects such as energy use by housing units, offices, and cars; watershed protection and sensitive land preservation, to list just a few. But while some aspects are relatively easy to…

Continue Reading

Animals provided most transportation power until the 1900s

The Transformative Power of Energy

Transportation largely shapes a city. The power for transportation evolved from hoof and foot to fuels and to electricity. Electricity made transportation irrelevant to communication; it transported much of human excange on a wire or on waves. because of the density of communication skyrocketed while the dinsity of cities fell.

A reclaimed street becomes a stage

Renovating Cities – one block at a time

Just like buildings, cities need a good makeover once in a while. And the reasons are pretty much the same for both. Time has battered their infrastructure, which has either reached or surpassed its life expectancy. Also, during this life-cycle new systems have emerged that do the job better and, sometimes, at lower cost;   …

Continue Reading

Sixand12-footStreetsCompposite

Choosing a grid, or not

In an earlier article we discussed Portland’s grid flaws, prominent among which was inefficiency of land use. We looked at Portland’s 200’ by 200’ block in the context of other layout options and, when we compared it on a number of criteria, it did not fare well. New data* on other American city grids, that…

Continue Reading