Incremental Urbanism

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.
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Reimaging Urban Infrastructure

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…

Parklet Fever – Catch It!

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Berlin Parklet – Rendering

The parklets we’ve designed for three local businesses have been getting a lot of attention lately, and we’re ecstatic that it has been overwhelmingly positive! Media outlets from the local Long Beach Press Telegram and Grunion Gazette, to the regional LA Times and even ABC 7 Eyewitness News, have covered what will be the first parklets in Southern California.

Things are progressing quickly; the first parklet – in front of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine – was completed in only three days by JR Van Dijs, and the one and a half stalls that were lost have been replaced nearby through curbside restriping. Next on the agenda will be Berlin Bistro, and then finally Number Nine, with 5-9 permanent jobs anticipated in all! (For all the latest updates and progress photos, follow us on Twitter @studioneleven.)
Lola’s Parklet – Daily Progress (Finished Photos Coming Soon!)

These small structures are private investments by the business owners and do not utilize any taxpayer dollars, but we love the enthusiasm we’ve seen from the community. We’re hoping they will not only create more visibility for the businesses, but also lead to big improvements in sidewalk culture. We’re encouraged that these parklets will be yet another step toward making Long Beach more walkable, and we’re looking forward to watching the street come alive!

For more information, see our previous blog: Revolutionizing the Road – Parklets on 4th Street.

Revolutionizing the Road – Parklets on 4th Street

June 20, 2011 § 8 Comments

Studio One Eleven has been working with two businesses on Long Beach’s Retro Row to develop the very first parklet program in Southern California. Similar programs are beginning to flourish in New York and San Francisco, so we are excited to have the opportunity to try one in our own hometown.

But what exactly is a parklet?

Well, a parklet is a “sidewalk oasis” that is built into the stalls of parallel parking spots in order to create more pedestrian space. Parklets extend the width of the sidewalk and usually occupy 1-2 parking spaces, with planters and railing providing separation from the street. They are most often treated as additional dining room space for restaurants, but can be used for anything from bike racks to benches.

The parklets we are creating are for two restaurants on 4th Street: Number Nine and Lola’s Authentic Mexican Cuisine.
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