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Reuniting Health and Planning

How do we reunite health and planning? Better integrating these two fields continues to rise up on the agendas of planners, healthcare professionals, and governments alike. In a recent seminar, leading thinkers and practitioners from across the UK came together to share the latest evidence…

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Upcoming Urban Reads

As fall weather settles in across the Northern hemisphere, now is the ideal time to curl up with a great book. Luckily for us, there are a great selection of recently published and about-to-be published titles about the future of cities. Check out four great…

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Bird's eye view of Chicago at Sunset

How An Amazon HQ Could Change a City

The search is on for where to build a second Amazon headquarters. It’s being hailed by some as “the deal of the decade” for North American cities, but how would successfully becoming the home of this huge headquarters change a city, for the better and the worse?…

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accidental urban designers

Tomorrow’s Accidental Urban Designers

As designers, we like to think that our work is a primary influence in shaping the places where we live: defining our towns, cities and suburbs – determining the look and feel of our built environments. And yes, there have always been planned new towns…

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Urbanism: A Catalyst for Wellbeing

In what some have defined as the Third Era of Health, we must radically rethink our approach to sustaining our healthcare system. This is particularly acute given that chronic and lifestyle related diseases are on the rise, and healthcare services are struggling to keep up…

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live well

Live Well to Reduce Reliance on Health Services

The developed world is experiencing a perfect storm of exponential growth in medical science. We can cure more diseases, but the resulting longevity increase has resulted in spiralling health costs. Free market environments such as the US now spend nearly 20% of GDP on health, yet…

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A Home for Tomorrow? The Rise of YIMBY

Housing and real estate development have long been popular conversation points among Vancouver residents. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Wesgroup’s RED Talks found a very receptive audience of residents, industry leaders and city officials for this year’s sold out event. For the…

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The Changing Face of Architecture

When I entered university there were about 80 students in our class, 15 women and 65 men. Eventually, 5 girls quit the program, or switched to other fields, and in the end there were 10 of us and 65 guys. At the time, people believed architecture programs were more…

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family-friendly living

Family-friendly Living in the City

There is a pressing national need to build new homes in the UK. This is reflected in ambitious targets for housing delivery in many cities across Great Britain; but there is often a lack of suitable land for development, together with a political reluctance to…

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unbuilt metropolis

Unbuilt Metropolis

Cities are places where people move to achieve their dreams. Sometimes, those dreams are for the city itself. As we’ve detailed before, there’s been no shortage of fantastical and monumental ideas throughout the history of city-making. And few cities have captured people’s imaginations like New York City.…

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winter city

Embracing Winter in the City

As much of the Northern Hemisphere enters deep freeze January, the thoughts of many city-dwellers drift from their own snow and ice covered environments to cozy mountain towns or sun-kissed beaches. It’s a powerful draw. In fact, temperature and weather were some of the strongest indicators…

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Great Books for Architects, Urbanists & Engineers

In need of a last minute gift idea for the urbanist in your life? Or maybe a good read of your own for the holidays? Whether you’re looking for books on architecture, landscape architecture, engineering or urbanism, TH!NK by IBI has you compiled the meta-list for…

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shopping mall

New Uses for Old Shopping Malls

Shopping malls, once icons of suburban affluence, are dying. As consumer patterns shift and young people lose interest in these former meeting places, many malls are showing a lifelessness not seen since Dawn of the Dead. In turn, cities, companies and property managers have been forced…

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emotional city thoughts

Read my thoughts?

Until recently, we have all been safe in the knowledge that our thoughts stay in our heads. Well, things have changed, and if you wear a mobile electroencephalograph (EEG), scientists can now access your emotional state. Aspinall, Mavros, Coyne, and Roe (2013), interested in the…

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Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' - PopSpotsNYC

Bob Dylan, Flaneur

Yesterday, the Swedish Academy awarded Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of, “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. While flaneurs may not have the same profile as the Nobel Academy (or a unified organization), Bob Dylan is also worthy of recognition…

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A Better Use for the Laneway

The humble laneway is so ubiquitous in North American cities (and some beyond) that most people rarely question its purpose. In most cases, that’s to store cars and garbage (and occasionally serve as a toilet). But cities are waking up to the idea that laneways…

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integrated health centre

Urban Health Centres & Good Neighbours

In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the connection between public health and urban planning. This growing connection has led to a number of encouraging steps. However, in many cases, the physical and social connections between hospitals and their surrounding neighbourhoods remain limited. The…

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hole in the wall

Jane Jacobs & Holes in the Wall

What are the vital ingredients for a thriving neighbourhood? Quality public spaces, design that supports street life, and a mix of functions are key to creating fertile ground for community growth, but it doesn’t stop there. Writing in 1956, Jane Jacobs underlines the importance of…

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Rethinking Parking

For much of the 20th century, easy car access and plentiful parking were paramount goals for downtowns across North America and beyond. In many cases, it was only after swaths of the city had been razed that planners and decision makers realized that in making…

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little library

Hitting the Books

In many cities across the Northern Hemisphere, change is apparent. Temperatures are starting to dip, leaves are beginning to change colour and those warm, sunny days are becoming less common. Autumn is setting in, and by offering brief reviews of some of this year’s most interesting…

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Zoning problem

A Century Later, Time to Revisit Zoning Laws?

Our zoning bylaws are broken. Ask yourself: does zoning create the type of cities we want? A growing body of evidence suggests that zoning has become the problem. Before we examine today’s problems with zoning, it is worth looking back at where we started. Modern…

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Rust belt renaissance

Industrial Revolution: Renewing the Rust Belt

Driverless cars are now available for public use in the United States. Which city has taken this bold step and doubled down on its commitment to innovation? San Francisco, Seattle or Silicon Valley perhaps? No, it’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The announcement came only weeks after the…

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Cities for People

Designing Great Cities with Jan Gehl

Turning 80 this month, Jan Gehl has seen his share of urban environments. Known around the world for his commitment to cities for people, the Danish architect, urbanist and professor has long been a proponent for observation- and evidence-based testing and design. Recognizing that, “We know more about…

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Burning Man

Designing Black Rock City

If you happen to be crossing the Nevada desert this time of year, you might notice a mid-sized city rising from the sand. It’s not an illusion, it’s Black Rock City – home of Burning Man. Black Rock City is self-built, and festival attendees can…

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End of Suburbia

The End of Suburbia?

House, car and white picket fence. The modern suburban dream started just as World War 2 ended. 70 years later, that dream is beginning to look as dated as the first houses built in Levittown. Those with choice, typically the young or wealthy, are choosing…

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Calgary - Dispersed TOD

The Case for ‘Dispersed’ TODs

For the last three decades, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) has been the response of transit and urban planners for walkable, sustainable and equitable communities within walking distance of transit. This approach benefits the residents with a more livable environment and access to high-quality transit, transit operators…

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Rio architecture

Rio’s Olympic Architecture

A week into the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, we’ve heard impressive stories of perseverance, rivalry and unity, as well as serious concerns regarding slum clearance and pollution. But what about the architecture? After all, architecture and town planning were once Olympic events in…

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Restoring Density

Across Canada, a renewed interest in urbanity is leading to density increases unheard of in more than a generation. As Corporate Knights writes, not all density is equal however. Suburban towers without high quality public transit connections can create problems similar to those presented by…

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Generic Balconies

The Cities of Tomorrow: Urban Areas without Character?

Many cities take great energy and pride in the factors that make them unique. However, in an era of rapid urbanization, it’s difficult to ignore the sense that new developments look increasingly similar. Is city-making losing touch with context? The Guardian Cities tackles this in…

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City kid

Family-Friendly Cities?

The renewed interest and growth of urban centres has captured the interest of social scientists, economists and urban thinkers (among others), catalyzing a range of discussions. Among the most interesting in recent months has been The American Conservative‘s debate about “vibrant” neighbourhoods, kids and communities. In a withering…

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social networks

The Social Structure of Innovation

These days, whenever you hear about social networks, you immediately think about the various social media networks that have sprouted up in the last decade. But humans are inherently social beings and we have been building social networks since the dawn of our history. Naji…

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Elderly in the City

Senior Living in the City

For generations, the default retirement dream has been a slower pace of life in leafy suburbs or genteel villages. ‘Escape to the country’ is part of the British psyche and still top of the list for many retirees, but a dramatically different choice is now…

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Under Gardiner by PUBLIC Work

Making the Most of Urban Space

Major increases in city land values, a side-effect of a revived appreciation for urbanity, have pushed planners, developers and designers to reconsider formerly overlooked spaces. To maximize the value of these spaces, a creative and pragmatic outlook regarding formerly “in between” or unused spaces has emerged and is illustrated…

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Secondary City

The Opportunities of Secondary Cities

Much of the urban renaissance has focused on agglomeration and the mega-city, but secondary cities also play vital roles. Greater than the sum of their parts, these cities are part of broader urban systems that have essential positions in urban migration and economic supply chains. However, as the Wilson Center…

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Jane Jacobs Was Right

Jane Jacobs was Right

In her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs recorded her observations on city building from Greenwich Village in New York City. Notably, she identified four conditions as the basis for vibrant cities: Districts should serve more than two functions City…

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Thriving Downtown

Seven Steps to a Thriving Downtown

Powered by demographic shifts coupled with a renewed interest in urban amenities, as well as transit, walking and biking, downtown cores have seen a major resurgence in recent years. And companies are taking notice. Through this shift, cities have learned many lessons. Now, Smart Growth…

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Mobility for Better Cities

Mobility Planning that Builds Better Cities

What does the future of transportation in (North) American cities look like? Ecolocalizer tackled this huge question in a recent post. With the average traffic delay per commuter now 42 hours a year, up from 18 hours annually in 1982, the answer to this question is…

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Millennial Sunset

Peak Millennial?

The appeal of cities among millennials is well-documented, and even celebrated. But with the largest cohort of millennials now in the latter half of their twenties, is change in the air? As CityLab writes, demographics and aging indicates that millennial population growth may cities taper off. This shift…

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Low-Rise // High-Density

As sites of opportunity, cities have a long history of attracting new, poor residents.Terrible housing conditions for these newcomers was well documented and in response, governments began offering social housing. Balancing quality of life, good design and cost has remained a stubborn challenge, however.Numerous designs have been…

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Street Timelapse

The City as an R&D Lab

The evolution of cities as labs is clear in a Fast Company interview with Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs, a Google startup company. They discuss the opportunity technology presents to tackle big urban issues such as housing, transportation and the environment, the need for scalable solutions…

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