April 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
On March 22nd, our office had the opportunity to host a talk with Fred Kent, President of Project for Public Spaces (PPS). Organized by our friend Charlie Gandy of Livable Communities, Fred spoke to a group of community activists and leaders about his experiences in place making and creating sustainable communities.
Many of his concepts resonate with our approach to design:
“The best places fix and redefine themselves around authentic local values and assets”
“Incremental steps (what PPS calls ‘smaller, faster, cheaper’), not grand plans, are the way to sustained success”
“When you design a place around cars, you get more cars. When you design a place around people, you get more people”
March 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
Recently, we were asked to share our perspective at a community event focused on the state of downtown Long Beach’s urban framework. The following is an excerpt from the presentation:
During these challenging economic times, and with the loss of redevelopment agencies, we’ve been impressed by the resilience of both downtown and its adjacent neighborhoods. Organic small-scale improvements (what we refer to as incremental urbanism) are collectively having a positive impact on our environment and support the city’s desire to be more sustainable and healthy. These improvements can be organized into three categories:
1. Adaptive Reuse
Approaching urban renewal by purchasing adjacent individual lots and clear-cutting buildings for block size development has now become cost-prohibitive, resulting in an increased interest in reuse. Excellent examples of unique building stock that has been re-positioned include 4th + Linden, 420 Fourth Street, and the Arts Building on Third Street.
March 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
The Long Beach branch of the US Green Building Council recently hosted a panel discussion on the future of urban infrastructure. The standing-room only event was held in the solarium perched atop the historic Sovereign Building, which provided panoramic views of Downtown Long Beach and the coastline. The three speakers included Studio One Eleven’s Brian Ulaszewski, Stantec Transportation Engineer and Institute of Traffic Engineers President Rock Miller, and Madeline Brozen from the Complete Streets Initiative at UCLA’s Lewis Center.
The discussion ranged in scale from temporary street interventions like parklets to freeway cap projects and removal, all focused on using infrastructure to better serve the needs of people. Concepts such as protected bike lanes, roundabouts, and areas of refuge were identified as facilities that can be transposed onto existing street networks to promote active forms of mobility, while electricity transmission corridors and stormwater management systems could be used to create new open space.
Bulb-outs and parklets contribute to a more human-scale. Read more…