Mayor Garcetti's Great Streets Initiative

After 100 days in office, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his first executive directive – the Great Streets Initiative. As Marie Sullivan at Metro’s The Source writes, “It was during this speech that I realized, the Mayor is a straight-up Planner!” Indeed, a mayor whose first major announcement mentions Red Cars, bioswales, and WalkScore has me optimistic.

Garcetti asserts, “Design matters…We have ignored the aesthetics of our city too often. But the way a neighborhood looks and feels has a lot to do with its livability and vibrancy.” Aesthetically pleasing street furniture is a good step, and I hope this initiative can help strengthen connected public health, green space, and transit corridor projects.

Jaime Lerner discusses Curitiba-style "Urban Acupuncture"

Jaime Lerner at the World Bank

Jaime Lerner at the World Bank

Former Mayor of Curitiba and Governor of Paraná Jaime Lerner gave the keynote address at Transforming Transportation 2012. He highlighted the use of “urban acupuncture” and “focal interventions,” used in conjunction with the planning process, to catalyze urban improvements. He also cautioned against unsuccessful and disorganized implementations of bus rapid transit, especially those that do not integrate well with the “concept of a city.” Highlights of his dynamic and comedic speech, and the complete set of slides he used, are both embedded below.

The V&A Waterfront

Cape Town’s historic harbor, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, has been transformed over the last twenty-two years into a mixed-use development and one of the city’s largest tourist attractions. Visitors can tour the harbor by foot, bike, boat, or helicopter; board ferries to Robben Island; shop at an expansive mall; and ride the Wheel of Excellence (which, in my opinion, is not any more excellent than most other Ferris Wheels). This article has a great overview of the harbor’s history and the preservation efforts that have successfully kept it as a working harbor throughout its redevelopment. Despite its centrality in World Cup celebrations, it still remains relatively isolated from the rest of the city. Cape Town Partnership CEO Andrew Boraine has some suggestions on how to strengthen the Waterfront’s linkages to the rest of Cape Town.

I made one of my visits to the Waterfront on a Friday when the world’s largest ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2, was docking in Cape Town. It docked at the adjacent modern port, since it is far too large to access the Victoria and Alfred Basins. As is usually the case, the ship’s hordes of tourists had to make their way from the ship to the shopping on a fleet of tour buses.

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Transportation Planning Workshop

Planning a new street network for Marshall's Creek, PA

Planning a new street network for Marshall's Creek, PA

Two consulting firms, one focused on urban design and one focused on transportation engineering, made guest appearances in my Cities and Transportation Systems class at UPenn last week.  They each gave informative presentations on what careers in those two fields are like.  After the presentations, they gave us a scenario that the two firms had worked on together: developing new downtown for the bedroom community of Marshall’s Creek, PA.  It was fun to work with a team of City and Regional Planning students to formulate our own plan for the area; it feels like my goal of playing SimCity for a job is one step closer.

YouTube – Greenpoint Gentrification

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=SiN_XaSo82U[/youtube]