There are better ways to get around town


John Massengale, New York Times, 15 May 2018

New York City’s Department of Transportation has led the American movement for better streets …

The next step is to adopt congestion pricing below 96th Street in Manhattan and then:

1. Decrease the number of Manhattan streets that function as transportation corridors primarily devoted to moving machines through the city.

2. Design and build Slow Zones where people actually drive slowly.

3. Make the transportation corridors that remain better urban places, with a better balance between city life and moving cars.


Urban design is really the language of the city. When you walk down the street everything you see has been designed.

Amanda Burden, urban planner

Superblocks: how Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars


David Roberts,, Apr 22 2017

Cars dominate cities. Spend some time walking around most cites and you’ll find yourself pushed to narrow sidewalks, waiting for crosswalk lights, you’ll find cyclists navigating really narrow strips of space. American’s are used to cars the way fish are used to water. And that’s so ubiquitous in the US I think most people, it just never occurs to them it could be otherwise. But what if there were a way to change that? To give space back to pedestrians and bicyclists? And to make cities more friendly to people outside of a car. It turns out Barcelona might have a solution.

For more from Vox on Cities and Urbanism, click here.

7 principles for building better cities


Peter Calthorpe, TED, April 2017

At the same time that we’re solving for climate change, we’re going to be building cities for three billion people. That’s a doubling of the urban environment. If we don’t get that right, I’m not sure all the climate solutions in the world will save mankind, because so much depends on how we shape our cities: not just environmental impacts, but our social well-being, our economic vitality, our sense of community and connectedness.

For more from Peter Calthorpe and his work designing cities, click here.

Healthy cities: vim and vigour


Anette Lien, Monocle, 27 January 2017

In Japan’s Unzen City, the adventurous ideas of Taku Habino, the head of Habino Sekkei Architecture have revolutionised early childhood development in the city’s nurseries. 

To visit Japanese architecture firm Hibino Sekkei’s website, click here. For a survey of their work from ArchDaily, click here.

What makes a city tick? Designing the ‘urban DMA’


Kim Dovey & Elek Pafka, The Conversation, November 2, 2016

When we talk about “urban DMA”, we’re talking about the density of a city’s buildings, the way people and activities are mixed together, and the access, or transport networks that we use to navigate through them.

For more from The Conversation on cities, click here.

The Create Streets Community Guide to Creating Happy, Healthy Places


Create Streets

In our study, Heart in the Right Street, we have researched the links between built form with happiness and physical and mental health. The list below is an attempt to summarise the sociological data for maximising wellbeing for the greatest number in the modern city or town …

For more from Create Streets and the work they are doing on housing and the public realm, click here.

First life, then spaces, then buildings – the other way around never works. 

Jan Gehl, architect

Which Buildings in Manhattan Couldn’t be Built Again Today?


Quoctrung Bui, Matt A.V. Chaban And Jeremy White, New York Times, May 20 2016

As the zoning code enters its second century, it is worth considering the ways it has shaped the city; whether and where it is still working; and how it might be altered so the city can continue to grow without obliterating everything New Yorkers love about it.

Superblocks to the rescue: Barcelona’s plan to give streets back to residents


Marta Bausells, The Guardian, 17 May 2016

The objectives are ambitious; by implementing these strategies at once, the city wants to reduce car use by 21% over the next two years and increase mobility by foot, bike and public transport. Superblocks will be complemented by the introduction of 300km of new cycling lanes (there are currently around 100km), as well as an orthogonal bus network that has already been put in place, whereby buses only navigate a series of main thoroughfares. This will ensure, says Salvador Rueda, director of the city’s urban ecology agency and one of the drivers of the superblocks idea, that “anyone will be less than 300 metres from a bus stop at any time – and average waiting times will be of five minutes anywhere in the city [current averages stand at 14]”. In addition, “it would be an equitable network in which one could go from any point A to point B with just one transfer in 95% of the cases. Like in a game of Battleship”.

For more from Guardian Cities, click here.

King’s Cross: urban transformation


Pauline den Hartog Jager, Monocle, 12 May 2016

It is expected that this year around 30,000 people will be visiting King’s Cross every day, for that we have to thank its developers Argent, who have focused just as much on a manifesto of good living, as they have on a bottom line. “Once we had been confirmed, one of our first jobs was to write this first document called, ‘Principles for a Human City’ which was published in July 2001, and we set out 10 principles for what we though should be a fantastic piece of this world city.”

Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2016 Laureate: Medellín


Lee Kwan Yew World City Prize, 2016

We live in a time when billions of people are moving into cities. Many of these cities, especially the new mega cities, are very dangerous and disorganised. Many of them are getting worse, and many of them are are looking for role models of cities which have transformed themselves, and no city has done as great a job as Medellín has.

For more about the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, click here.

Mapping the ‘Urban Fingerprints’ of Cities


Linda Poon, City Lab, Sep 11, 2015

The most valuable visual information that these maps convey is the density of a particular area. Planned right, a dense city can be a positive environment for productivity. Griffiths explains that the clustering effect creates “agglomeration economies.” “If you cluster a whole lot of people close to each other, with skills that aren’t necessarily the same,” he says, “you get opportunities for new creations.”