Four years after Katrina breached the New Orleans levees, the area still has not addressed water management notes Derek Hoeferlin, senior lecturer at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis. Hoeferlin, who has worked extensively on post-Katrina restoration efforts, including working with Dutch engineers on successful coexistence with a sub-water-level landscape, writes that "the city must develop a more nuanced balance between the built environment and what the delta really wants to be: a soggy, sediment-rich landscape."
Continue reading "The Natural Order of Development" »
Detroit holds a unique place in American history. It’s the cradle of some of the 20th century’s most enduring music, the birthplace of the American auto industry, and the subsequent exemplar of the American made-for-Manifest Destiny city by sprawl, ruled by highways, bypasses, and asphalt. Some of these same choices have made Detroit the quintessential sad poster child for catastrophic urban disinvestment.
Continue reading "Small and Green vs. Big and Gray" »
You can read all about the typical quality of life reasons for expanding mass transit in this week’s AIArchitect (shorter commute times, walkable neighborhoods, cleaner air)--and the participants at this week’s AIA/AIA DC transportation forum came up with a good many. Here’s an unexpected one that should cause us all to stop and think about the supreme influence people’s built environment has on their behavior and the way they interact with others: At the forum, Mindy Reiser, a sociologist who has studied public infrastructure issues, asked the panelists if they had heard of a study done in Bogota, Colombia, that showed that the installation of better mass transit reduced crime rates.
In fact, a report by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy states that after the installation of the TransMilenio bus rapid transit system in 2000, violent crime dropped by 50 percent in the city. (Also, traffic fatalities dropped by 30 percent, commute times dropped by 32 percent, and noise pollution decreased by 30 percent.) Bus rapid transit systems shuttle people across cities by using dedicated bus lanes that regular traffic is not allowed on. They’re typically considered to be a less expensive option for cities that can’t afford light or heavy rail systems.
Continue reading "Crime and Mass Transit " »
by Bob Soukup, Assoc. AIA | LEED-AP
Carlson West Povondra Architects
On September 3-6, I was involved with a large volunteer effort to help build a new chapel at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch near Little Sioux, Iowa. On June 11, 2008, a tornado destroyed a large area of the Boy Scout camp and killed four boys. As a way to pay back the nation after the 9/11 attack on New York, a group of New York Fire Fighters came to Iowa for three days, along with 200 other volunteers from all over the nation, plus another 600 local volunteers. All the volunteers spent those three days working to rebuild the campground, in addition to building a new chapel. This chapel was constructed over the remaining floor slab from the cabin where the boys died.
Continue reading "AIA Nebraska Members Rebuild Little Sioux Scout Ranch" »