The challenges of adding housing in single family neighborhoods

Too often, news articles on housing prices fall into easy traps and cliché, whether in discussing gentrification or city vs. suburb tropes. But Conor Daugherty’s piece in the New York Times (The Great American Single Family Home Problem) hits all the right notes.

In it, he tells the tale of a modest redevelopment proposal to

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Building Height and Density in Center City Philadelphia

With a hat tip to this tweet from John Ricco, linking to this compendium of tall buildings in Center City Philadelphia from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. The document provides a brief profile of each building, showing building height, site size, gross floor area, floor area ratio, year of completion, and floor count.

Example

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Decreasing opportunities for incremental development in American neighborhoods

Several months ago, Charlie Gardner had an excellent, thought-provoking post asking why have American cities seen the demise of the duplex? In a time when growing cities are bursting at the seams and facing severe affordability challenges, an incremental kind of development might be welcome in many cities, offering new housing while allowing an evolutionary

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A country of hyperdense cities

“How to build good cities,” from Vishaan Chakrabarti’s ‘A Country of Cities.’

Well, that was fast.

Based on the heft of my gift, I expected to take more time to read through Vishaan Chakrabarti’s A Country of Cities. The book, however, is wonderfully illustrated and laid out, thanks to Chakrabarti’s firm, SHoP (for a

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Fearing ‘hyperdensity’ in urban areas

Aerial view of Toronto. CC image from rene_beignet.

One of the books I picked up through the rounds of exchanging holiday gifts is Vishaan Chakrabarti’s A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America. I’ve read an excerpt of the book published in Design Observer and watched Chakrabarti’s accompanying lecture; I’m looking forward

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Exporting success from Hong Kong’s MTR – rail transit plus development

Hong Kong at night. CC image from Diliff via Wikimedia Commons.

If you were to pick a rail transit system to envy, it would be hard to pick one better than Hong Kong’s MTR. The system is known for extraordinary operating efficiency; both in terms of on-time performance (99.9%) and farebox recovery (186%). Intense

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Density – a vision for an urban America

The world is urbanizing. But is it doing so in a truly urban fashion, or is it merely a way of noting that ‘urban’ can be defined as ‘not rural?’

This is one of the concerns Vishaan Chakrabarti brings up in his discussions of ‘hyperdensity’ and his book making the case for a truly urban

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More on the geometry of transportation: “Transport is mostly a real estate problem”

In June, the Urbanization Project at NYU’s Stern Center posted several graphics looking at the space devoted to transportation in our cities. As the author, Alain Bertaud, frames it, “transport is mostly a real estate problem.” That is, different transportation modes require different amounts of space to accomplish the same task.

Comparison of population/employee

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“Hyperdensity” and providing cities the room to grow

CC image from Alan Grinberg

The first thing crossing my mind when reading Vishann Chakrabarti’s piece in Design Observer (Building Hyperdensity and Civic Delight) was: what the hell is ‘hyperdensity?’ Thankfully, Chakrabarti answers that question in the first paragraph: “density sufficient to support subways.”

The second thing to cross my mind was why he

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Shifting DC’s mode share – Sustainable DC’s complimentary policies of population growth and increasing non-auto transportation

Last month, the Washington Post’s Dr. Gridlock column profiled DC’s various new transportation investments might change transportation in the District. However, Dr. Gridlock used some odd phrasing to frame the city’s varied goals:

“In the Sustainable D.C. plan we released earlier this year,” the mayor said at the crosswalk event, “we set an aggressive-but-realistic goal

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