Lessons from the garden city and one planner’s plot to escape London

The past few months have been terrifying, but also cathartic. The pandemic has shaken most of us from a false sense of security about our individual health, the efficacy of our cities to provide a high quality of life, and forced us to question many of our daily habits — how we live, work, travel and exercise, as well as how we source the food we eat. Our connection to nature. The primary lesson we, once again, must learn is that cities are not divorced from nature. They are a part of the larger biome in which they’re located.

Can city-owned vacant lots fill the need for park equity in Houston?

Marvin McNeese has lived in University Village for almost 20 years. And in that time, he’s thought a lot about what a park would mean to the small neighborhood in the northeast corner of Greater Third Ward.

Most importantly, a park would be a place close to home where neighborhood kids could safely get together and play after school. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a stark contrast to where McNeese’s children and others — given no other alternative — have been forced to meet up for a game of catch or to toss a football.

Urban gardening has taken root, and it’s time for cities to encourage new growth

The past few months have been terrifying, but also cathartic. The pandemic has shaken most of us from a false sense of security about our individual health, the efficacy of our cities to provide a high quality of life, and forced us to question many of our daily habits — how we live, work, travel and exercise, as well as how we source the food we eat. Our connection to nature. The primary lesson we, once again, must learn is that cities are not divorced from nature. They are a part of the larger biome in which they’re located.   

6 post-pandemic predictions about how cities will be different going forward

A year ago, cities were in, bustling with a prosperity they hadn’t seen in many years. The 2020s were shaping up to be yet another “decade of the city,” with tech companies concentrated in big, dense, expensive cities like New York and San Francisco, and urban neighborhoods of color everywhere concerned about gentrification.

Then came COVID.

Repairing the urban fabric torn apart by highways in America

From the hills behind the City Hall in my adopted hometown of Ventura, California, it’s less than 1,000 yards southward to the Pacific Ocean. This constrained piece of topography creates a small urban gem of a downtown: streetscapes, restaurants, stores, offices, residences, parking garages and a beachfront promenade, all within eight or so square blocks, creating a lively street life that connects a historic downtown to the beach. 

The new BikeHouston boss has a vision for safer streets for all

A few months back, Joe Cutrufo and his family packed up and moved from New York to Houston. Since arriving in town, Cutrufo says he’s been doing a lot of eating (taking advantage of the city’s talented roster of Vietnamese restaurants; riding his bike (he’s spending more time on his bike now than he did when he was in New York); and working. He’ll have to maintain his pace, both on the bike and in the office, to accomplish all that he wants to do as the new executive director of BikeHouston.