→ The Atlantic Cities: How President Obama’s Budget Proposal Would Affect Cities
President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2014, released [last week], focuses on economic growth and a strong middle class. Better urban development isn’t the first item on that agenda, but it’s an important part of the administration’s priorities for the coming year.
Three agencies in particular are at the core of that work, with offices dedicated to making sure community development contributes to regional and national economic growth. The president’s 2014 budget would change how each of these agencies invest in community development.
→ The Atlantic Cities: New Chicago Plan: Pedestrians Come First
[I]n the Second City – as in just about every American metro – autos have long dominated city streets and how we think about who uses them, why they exist and what defines them as successful. This summer, though, Chicago is planning to roll out a small-sounding but seismic policy shift: From now on, in the design guidelines for every effort from major streetscape projects to minor roadside electrical work, transportation work must defer to a new “default modal hierarchy.” The pedestrian comes first.
→ BeyondDC: Richmond maps out a better transit network
Richmond has the bones of a good city. It’s small, with only a million people in its whole metro area, but it has a relatively large downtown and some very high quality urban neighborhoods. What it lacks is a transit system to match. The city’s new transportation plan aims to fix that.
In a study published last winter in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, two Temple University researchers find that urban vegetation, long thought to enable crime, in fact helps to deter it — so long as the vegetation is well maintained.
Looking at different neighborhoods across Philadelphia, Jeremy Mennis and Mary Wolfe challenge the idea that shrubs and trees, because of the cover and shade they give, encourage criminal behavior. Using satellite imagery and controlling for other factors associated with crime rates (poverty levels, density, educational attainment), they find that clean spaces with cared-for vegetation allow for a sense of “social control,” which brings more foot traffic and surveillance, which in turn discourages crime.
Designed by Cesar Pelli, and his office, Pelli Clarke Pelli, the gorgeous hub is still in its earliest construction phase, but new renderings are giving a peek into its potential awesomeness.