Uber Offers City Planners a Slice of Traffic Data

An Uber driver in Bogotá, Columbia (Credit: Alexander Torrenegra)
Uber has unveiled a new data-sharing website aimed at public planners and city officials. The site, dubbed “Movement,” curates GPS data from more than 2 million trips, and it could be a helpful tool for observing traffic patterns and reducing congestion. Uber claims that the information it has crowdsourced (well, driver-sourced) is more reliable than the data typically mined by third-party agencies for city governments — largely because all of its drivers use smartphones with global positioning technology. Read more... Read more

Buffalo Becomes First City to Bid Minimum Parking Goodbye

(Credit: Jay Galvin / Flickr)
In overhauling its zoning code for the first time since 1953, Buffalo, New York, has become the first major city to completely remove outdated minimum parking requirements. (Other cities have done so, too, but only in certain districts or neighborhoods.) That means developers there will no longer be required to build a certain number of parking spaces for commercial and residential projects, regardless of whether mass transit options are nearby or if the tenants even need them. Read more... Read more

Transforming a ‘Barracks’ into a Neighborhood

Westlawn Gardens is a walkable community (Source: Torti Gallas and Partners)
Milwaukee’s Westlawn Gardens was once known as “barracks housing,” and known for being inefficient, undersized and isolated from surrounding neighborhoods. Today, thanks to support from the largest affordable tax credit award in Wisconsin history, Westlawn has been redeveloped with a mix of multifamily buildings, townhouses, and single-family homes for more than 300 residents. Read more... Read more

Are You a Millennial? Fort Myers Wants You to Move Downtown

Downtown Fort Myers, also known as The River District (Andrew West / The News-Press)
Fort Myers officials are willing to rewrite the law books to make shopping, dining and living around downtown more attractive to millennials. Higher density around downtown means more buildings for urban housing, retail and coffee shops. The city’s goal seems simple: diversify the economy, create a walkable environment and establish a hub of activity. Then, theoretically, millennials will come. Read more... Read more

The Hidden Inequality Of America’s Street Design

Credit: silveryyn / Flickr
Urban design has a long history of perpetuating racial and economic inequality, and the burden of bad streets is still being disproportionately borne by underserved populations. According to “Dangerous by Design 2016,” a new report from Smart Growth America, pedestrians in the United States have a higher risk of being killed by cars if they’re people of color, aged 65 or older, uninsured, or from a low-income household. Read more... Read more

Interdisciplinary ASU Project Creates Model to Predict Land Use, Climate Effects and Even Potential Profit of Urban Farming

Phoenix skyline (Joshua Lott / Bloomberg / Getty Images)
As Phoenix sprawls toward Tucson, urban planners are working to prevent the entire 100-mile corridor between Arizona’s largest metro areas from becoming nothing but concrete and asphalt. Seeking sustainable solutions, a team of Arizona State University researchers has been working to create an innovative, physics-based model that can predict how gardens and farms can most efficiently be integrated into cities to produce food in the face of a changing climate, cool the urban heat island and make people happier. Read... Read more

Walkable, Urban Neighborhoods Are Transforming How We Live in NJ

An artist rendering shows The Green at Bloomfield, a 140-unit mixed-use, apartment building that opened in fall 2016 (Courtesy of BNE Real Estate)
While the demand for walkable, urban neighborhoods grows, the skyrocketing rents of New York City and New Jersey’s “Gold Coast” locales are prohibitive for many renters. Even those who have spent years residing in these markets face a difficult proposition when major life events — such as marriage, the birth of a child, a desire to be closer to family — conflict with their ability to remain in their costly urban climes. New Jersey — with an extensive network commuter... Read more

How Can Lexington Attract Good Jobs, Not Just More Sprawl?

The entrance to the University of Kentucky wants city officials to allow it to add multi-family housing to the 735-acre office and industrial park to attract more development. (Pablo Alcala / Herald Leader)
With demand for development in Lexington, Kentucky, finally picking up after the 2008 financial collapse, there is renewed pressure for another expansion of the Urban Services Boundary, which since 1958 has sought to control sprawl and protect Fayette County’s farmland and signature landscape. The biggest issue will likely be economic development land, because a large chunk of local government revenues come from occupational taxes. Read more... Read more
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