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Downtown need a makeover? More cities are razing urban highways [The Christian Science Monitor]

Removing roadways presents an opportunity for wiser, gentler redevelopment that can – if all goes well – add vibrancy and livability to areas around city centers.

That possibility has planners from Providence, R.I., and Baltimore to New Orleans and Seattle rethinking decisions to run highways through the hearts of cities.

Two things are driving these extreme make-overs. One is the simple fact that many highways built in the postwar years are nearing the end of their useful lives, says Joseph DiMento, a professor of planning and law at the University of California, Irvine, who is at work on a book about urban highways. The other, he says, is a growing faith that urban centers, including some that have been long neglected, have development potential.


Is Generational Turnover Necessary for the Return of Cities? [Streetsblog]

How many times have you heard this line: Young people prefer urban living.

Of course, everyone acknowledges, this isn’t a universal preference. But a clear generational shift away from suburban lifestyles is the phenomena on which many of our discussions about urbanism are premised.

However, while young people may be a driving force in demanding vibrant urban environments, they aren’t necessarily in the driver’s seat when it comes to the important policy decisions that continue to shape metro areas, often at the expense of cities.


Skyscrapers Climb Ever Higher [Architectural Record]

As might be expected during a prolonged downturn, plans for huge new record-setting skyscrapers have been delayed or flat-out scrapped, from the 91-story Dubai Towers in Qatar to the 84-story Faros de Panama in Panama. Here in the United States, Santiago Calatrava’s Chicago Spire, which at 2,000 feet was to be the world’s tallest apartment building, was nixed last year.

But despite ongoing global economic woes, many “supertalls,” which stretch at least 1,350 feet (about the Empire State Building’s height), are chugging along and seem poised to be completed on schedule, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which keeps tabs on them.


Automobile poverty – Part 2 [New Urban Network]

But you don’t really have any choice in sprawl. At home and wanna go to work? Gotta drive. At work and wanna go to lunch? Gotta drive (can you say “lunch-hour rush-hour?”) Taking the kids to school? Gotta drive. Wanna go shopping? Gotta drive. Wanna go play ball? Gotta drive. You get the picture. It’s a phenomenon I call Compulsory Commuting, and it happens because walking between any of these places would be insane … you likely wouldn’t make it there alive.


Census 2010: the early returns [Planetizen]

Census data is already in for a couple of dozen states, and already blogs are starting to speculate about their lessons for American cities. Some commentators look at the continued decline of Rust Belt cities like Chicago and St. Louis, and suggest that suburban sprawl continues (and will forever continue) unabated. But reality is not quite so simple.


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