Monthly Archive: December 2016

Shop Houzz: Front Door Decor Under $75 (151 photos)

A fabulous front door extends a warm welcome and sets the tone for a cheerful space. Lay the foundation with a charming doormat and wreath, then add accents like inviting lighting and outdoor furnishings. You’ll find everything you need for a welcoming entrance right here and under $75.

WowHaus Top 50 of 2016: The most popular properties of the year (numbers 10 – 1)

So here it is, the big one. The WowHaus Top 50 of 2016, the most popular property finds of the year on the WowHaus site has reached numbers 10 through to number 1. If you missed the previous instalments, do check out numbers 50 – 41, numbers 40 – 31 and numbers 30 – 21 […]

Mapping Urban Trees in 11 Cities

(Credit: MIT Senseable City Lab)

Out of 11 cities studied around the world, Vancouver beat out Seattle, Geneva, Tel-Aviv and others in a new measure of urban canopy developed by the MIT Senseable City Lab. The project, Treepedia, uses Google Street View imagery to measure urban canopies from a human level. Called the “Green View Index,” the measure presents the percentage of canopy coverage in a given area on a scale of zero to 100 by analyzing street view images for greenery. Vancouver scored an overall GVI of 25.9 percent, while Paris ranked a paltry 8.8.

“As many cities experience warming temperatures, increased storm frequency and continued air pollution, the well-being of our urban trees has never been more important. We present here an index by which to compare cities against one another, encouraging local authorities and communities to take action to protect and promote the green canopy cover,” said Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab, in a statement.

Users can either view citywide tree coverage or zoom in to see individual data points and the street view images that prompted them. Future iterations of the platform will allow users to add information about urban trees, and to contact city officials to request new trees be planted in areas where they are lacking.

Treepedia was developed in collaboration with the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Cities, which in 2015 included increasing urban canopy on their list of top 10 most essential urban initiatives. “Cities will always need large infrastructure projects, but sometimes small-scale infrastructure — from bicycle lanes and bike-sharing to the planting of trees for climate change adaptation — can also have a big impact on an urban area,” reads a statement.

The cities compared on the platform are Boston, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, Paris, New York, Seattle, Tel-Aviv, Toronto, Turin and Vancouver.

Shop Houzz: 2016 Favorites by Style (160 photos)

This new year, resolve to give your home that fresh update you’ve been wanting for a while. These favorites from the Houzz Shop are up to the challenge, whatever your style preference. And they’re all at deep discounts so you can keep your resolution to stick to the budget.
Sale ends January

How a Place-Based Approach to Economic Development Won 2016

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tours the Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center in Brooklyn. (Todd Maisel/The Daily News via AP)

If there is one economic development fix that equity-minded cities are taking into 2017, it’s the importance of a place-based approach that is shaped locally, by the industries, people and infrastructure that already exist.

In Memphis, Albuquerque and Richmond, Virginia, that means partnering with medical manufacturers and other players in the healthcare industry, including local hospitals and universities to generate jobs through new medical districts and smart procurement strategies.

In Oklahoma City, it means developing housing that is close to existing job centers. “We see the need to provide workforce and affordable housing, especially in the downtown area where there’s high concentration of employment,” says Cathy O’Connor, president of the the city’s Alliance for Economic Development.

New York is also working to connect its employment-dense areas with a greater range of residents. In 2017, it’ll be launching the first phase of its Citywide Ferry System, which will provide new transit routes for workers in Astoria, the Rockaways and South Brooklyn that gets them to directly to Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn’s East River

“We’re also taking the first steps towards a longer-term transit project — the Brooklyn-Queens Connector — a modern, efficient [streetcar] that could connect people in transit starved neighborhoods from Astoria, Queens, to Sunset Park, Brooklyn,” says Maria-Torres Springer, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Another sign of the growing appetite for place-based investment can be found in the EDC’s decision to support manufacturing and tech hubs across the city.

She wants that to extend into 2017. “Through our Industrial Developer Loan Fund we’ll be helping open a 90,000-square-foot manufacturing center in Queens, with room for 26 small industrial businesses,” she says, noting one incoming project.

On the West Coast, Los Angeles announced on Dec. 21 that this year the city reached its highest employment numbers in the past 24 years, and unemployment is now down to 5 percent, as compared to 10 percent just three years ago in 2013. It’s been a testing ground for one of the country’s most innovative, place-based, equity-driven job creation programs, the U.S. Employment Plan.

Created by Jobs to Move America alongside the the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the University of Southern California and the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Employment Plan is a bidding format for city public transportation projects where those firms that commit to reinvesting into their communities — whether that’s through hiring veterans or people with criminal records or putting money into local manufacturing centers — have the best shot at securing city contracts.

Los Angeles was one of the first cities to try out this program, through a deal between Japanese vehicle manufacturer Kinkisharyo and the LA Metro that led to the creation of 243 manufacturing jobs. This year, LA Metro re-employed the U.S. Employment Plan for a major sustainable bus project that could potentially create up to 4,500 U.S. jobs.

Jan Perry, the general manager of the city of Los Angeles’ Economic and Workforce Development Department, says using transportation projects to employ disadvantaged workers will be a key focus going into 2017.

“We have to make sure workforce development is part of that ecosystem,” she says. “Every action we take should be an action to generate jobs, to leverage public funds, and to possibly create a sustainable pathway to jobs beyond the life of a project.”

Voters in her city overwhelmingly backed two equitable development measures during the November elections. Measure M will put $60 billion over the next 40 years into greatly expanding Los Angeles’ public transit networks, and Measure HHH will put $1.2 billion worth of bonds to building 10,000 housing units for the city’s massive homeless population.

Pursuing equity through economic developments takes on a different face from city to city. And as cities like Oklahoma City, New York and Los Angeles enter the new year, they’re faced with drastically different federal and local policy changes than when they started 2016.

But one clear theme is the recognition that putting more city dwellers into jobs that help them afford where they live means collaborating across sectors instead of letting government departments and organizations strive for goals in a silo.

It also helps cities track metrics to make sure these grand initiatives chalk up real results, says Springer.

“That helps us determine whether the programs we invest in are successful, but it also helps ensure that the jobs we’re creating pay good, middle class wages, and that our partners are doing everything in their power to make jobs available to diverse New Yorkers,” she says. “That’s a big priority in all that we do, and will remain so in 2017 and beyond.”

Three Publisher’s Columns You Missed – And Three You Didn’t

Quito, Ecuador 

“Sometimes the light’s all shining on me. Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me, what a long strange trip it’s been.” – Grateful Dead

In an effort to inspire change in cities, I did a bit of traveling over the year: 101 nights, 20 cities, 12 countries and four continents.

Through 13 publisher’s posts, I’ve tried to write about the most impactful experiences and the most interesting people I’ve met. Sometimes, I nailed it! Other times, I struggled to convey why it was newsworthy. And, in an age of Trump, I often had to resist the rant or obvious point, instead, looking for what could truly be revolutionary yet less pronounced. Some posts were widely read, but others went under the radar. However, as Nicholas Kristoff noted, bad columns and those nobody reads aren’t necessarily the same thing.

Inspired by Mr. Kristoff’s recent New York Times column, I offer the following reminder to Next City readers of six posts I’ve written over the last year about change around the world — three you might have missed, and three you should definitely read again:

Disruption Is the Norm in the Persian Gulf
Dubai and Masdar City UAE offer lessons for the future — from personal rapid transit and artificial intelligence to happiness. America, are you paying attention?

Where Top Urban Leaders Are Meeting Cities’ Most Pressing Challenges
In Quito, Ecuador, for Habitat III, Next City created an amphitheater to the world. Over 200 speakers, 7 artists and 60 hours of programming, including an accordion-playing DJ and U.S. HUD Secretary Julian Castro, set the stage for adoption of the New Urban Agenda. Now, it’s time for cities to step up to the plate.

Tackling the Health Problems That Poverty Causes
The upcoming debate about repealing Obamacare will again miss the critical role that urban policies and community design can play in keeping people healthy. The Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge, a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties, will empower small to mid-size U.S. cities and counties to address the multitude of health concerns facing cities today, from access to healthy food and clean water to a dearth of public green spaces in which to play, work and exercise.

Ford Foundation Connects Architecture to Mission
Darren Walker gets it — design does matter. Fresh off of his recent meeting in Rome with the Pope, CEOs, labor leaders, social reformers and other world leaders to forge a new social compact for the 21st century, Walker continues to stress that a sustainable world begins at home. His home — the iconic Ford Foundation headquarters — gets a remake in 2017, with lessons for all to see.

Opening Up HUD’s Prosperity Playbook
On the tips of many urbanists’ tongues is whether Secretary-designate Ben Carson will continue the progress of his predecessors at HUD. Who can be against prosperity? We’ll see.

Hyperconnected Megacities Are Changing the World Map
It’s a small world after all! Parag Khanna connects the dots for us. In Barcelona last month, I introduced Parag to the Smart City Expo World Congress, and by the end, the audience saw cities in a much different light.

So, as we at Next City begin another year of inspiring social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events, we encourage you to continue to read our features, news posts and opinion pieces, and stay engaged. If you missed our preview of what 2017 has to offer, check out this last post: Moving Forward in the Trump Era.

Lastly, keep those comments coming! Here are two of my favorites:

“For a president who supported Brexit … one wonders how [Trump would] rationalize stopping cities or states from exiting his economic empire. Maybe Philadelphia should re-join England?” – Joe Beckmann

“Tom, thank you for adding to the even-keeled sentiment we all need to hear right now. The ballot measures across the country offered me great reassurance that we did not take a big step backwards. I see Trump’s victory as a reminder, highlighting the population which has not been served by our elected officials, and are suffering — have been suffering for it. Scary though the potential for more hateful rhetoric may be, it seems we have an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade if we’re willing to understand the other side, and reach out to repair this rift. I’ll continue to rely on Next City for up-to-date and accurate reporting on just how what plays out will affect our cities, as well as the rural/suburban landscapes much of the Trump base calls home.” – Nicholas Dingman

All the best in 2017!
Tom

bjarke ingels group to extend isenberg school of management in massachusetts

the design forms a loop that connects to the existing building at two points, while a distinctive façade of sloping panels creates a prominent entrance.

The post bjarke ingels group to extend isenberg school of management in massachusetts appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.