Introductory Essay and Definitions

Introductory Essay and Definitions - 10: 762:315:01...

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10: 762:315:01 Designing Cities Introductory Essay and Critical Definitions By Anton Nelessen, M Arch-UD, PP, CNU Program Director: Planning and Public Policy and Public Health Most North American cities are in bad shape as sprawl with its auto dependency has been the primary form of urban growth. As an example, New Jersey between 2002 and 2007, had a population increase of 1.1%, while the consumption of land use increased by 5.3%. This is primarily due to subdivisions of rural lands into larger lots and houses and the corresponding strip commercial that lines arterials leading to the large lot subdivisions. This growth pattern corresponds with the financial excesses/exuberances of that time period. It became normative behavior and to be expected. This growth pattern, through the last decades, have left many cities looking and feeling old, tired and in need of revitalization. Some cities are making great progress, using their inherent assets of public spaces, transit and walkability overlaid with design sustainability [greening]. New York City with its new pedestrian priority streets, miles of new bike paths and High Line is inspiring. Other cities that have also made great progress are Portland, Or. and Vancouver, BC. Many European and Asian cities are good models of how cities might function and feel in the future with greater reliance on transit, local food production, energy conservation, greater distribution of wealth and a vibrant in-person social and civic society. These cities are setting new standards for underperforming cities. Recent trends are seeing more interest and growth in cities that are more walkable, with some existing transit and higher density living amenities. This trend seem to be demographically generated and for some it is more cost effective given the financial constraints imposed since 2007-2008. If you can walk or use transit you eliminate the need for a car – if you live at higher density in an energy efficient home – you reduce expenses and increase real human interactions! Most of you grew up in a time of financial exuberance, in a time period with the highest quality of life, cheap credit and energy in a consumer culture beyond anything the world has ever seen or experienced. You and your family became car, convenience and cheap energy dependant. 65+% of the American economy was based on consumer spending. Starting in the early 2000 with cheap credit, it looked as if there was to be no ceiling to our spending and the amount of capital accumulation. The melt down and recession that started in 2007 and peaked in 2008 caused and is still causing challenges as the housing financial market and credit reached extraordinary levels of greed and speculation. Currently unemployment is high 9+% and is predicted by some economists to last up to 15 more years. There is now talk of a “double dip” recession as the current economic numbers seem to suggest. There is a growing disparity between the wealthy and every one else while communication is
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Introductory Essay and Definitions - 10: 762:315:01...

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