Greater City Providence

News & Notes

Saint-Pierre River Site to Become Montréal’s first Woonerf [Spacing Montréal]

The borough describes a woonerf as a convivial street where one can safely walk, bicycle, play, and relax, while still being accessible to cars, adding that the woonerf aims animate residential streets by giving them a soul. But the project also has more tangible goals: the subsidy requires the woonerf to have permeable surfaces over at least 85% of the site, to introduce vegetation in order to reduce the heat-island effect, and to incorporate a space for urban agriculture.

World Map on Bike-sharing [Fietsberaad]

View The Bike-sharing World Map in a larger map

Jane Jacobs and the Death and Life of American Planning [The Design Observer]

The fatal flaw of such populism is that no single group of citizens – mainstream or marginalized, affluent or impoverished – can be trusted to have the best interests of society or the environment in mind when they evaluate a proposal. The literature on grassroots planning tends to assume a citizenry of Gandhian humanists. In fact, most people are not motivated by altruism but by self-interest. Preservation and enhancement of that self-interest – which usually orbits about the axes of rising crime rates and falling property values – are the real drivers of community activism. This is why it’s a fool’s errand to rely upon citizens to guide the planning process. Forget for a moment that most folks lack the knowledge to make intelligent decisions about the future of our cities. Most people are simply too busy, too apathetic, or too focused on their jobs or kids to be moved to action over issues unless those issues are at their doorstep. And once an issue is at the doorstep, fear sets in and reason flies out the window. So the very citizens least able to make objective decisions end up dominating the process, often wielding near-veto power over proposals.

The Nostalgia Trap [The Atlantic]

Cities are living projects, and must be constantly edited, often by an invisible hand-one structure needs to be deleted to make room for another, an early draft of this neighborhood is recast in a newer, tighter form. If nostalgia rules the day, nothing changes, nothing moves forward.

Connecticut cities are growing again, and counting on rail [New Urban Network]

The five largest cities in Connecticut all grew during the past decade, reversing the declines that many of them suffered in the 1990s. In New Jersey, four of the five largest cities | all but Paterson | also gained population, as did New York City, reflecting a brighter outlook for urban centers across the three-state region.

Kip Bergstrom, who resigned in March as executive director of the Stamford Urban Redevelopment Authority to join the new administration of Governor Dannel P. Malloy, has been part of a group arguing that if the state, cities, and transit agencies make the right decisions, 200,000 new residents and 300,000 new jobs could be accommodated in the next 20 years on roughly 1,000 acres around current or proposed train stations in four cities: Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, and New Haven.

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.

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