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Archive for the ‘Smart Growth’ Category

2017: The Year in Infrastructure

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018
2017: The Year in Infrastructure

2017 was, by many accounts, a turbulent year. Infrastructure was no exception.

Whether due to new political paradigms, unprecedented natural disasters or new funding opportunities, American infrastructure faced a wide range of challenges throughout the year. Here, we recount some of the key infra topics that shaped discussion–and action–in 2017.

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Resilience and efficiency in transportation networks

Friday, December 29th, 2017
Fig. 1. Definition of urban areas and assignment of nodes’ population.

It is widely understood that roadway infrastructure is expensive, both in acquiring land for rights-of-way and in construction of improvements, and thus, decisions regarding alignment, crossing, and access made over a period of decades may have long-lasting consequences that are observable in traffic data today. Consequently, urban areas exhibit different unintentional traffic characteristics, including delays under normal and random stress conditions. Investments motivated exclusively by expected efficiencies under normal operating conditions are unreliable safeguards against loss of efficiency under stress conditions. Therefore, new analytic tools are required that allow designers to assess the adaptive capacity of roadway infrastructure and assess the potential of new investments to provide enhanced resilience.

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A Complete Streets Evaluation of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish

Friday, December 22nd, 2017
Complete streets in New Orleans: Recommended measures

Complete Streets is a fundamentally different approach to transportation planning, design, and engineering than the status quo of the last half century. It requires that all aspects of decision-making and implementation consider the needs of all people who use a road, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Streets are viewed as more than ways to move as many vehicles as possible. They are public spaces that connect and contribute to everything that surrounds them.

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New York City – Unsustainable: Traffic 2018

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Subway reliability is way down, and the bus system is shedding riders at an alarming rate. And because transit is so unreliable, today New York is accommodating growth in cars, in the form of the tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft vehicles we now find on our streets each day.

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The Future of Equity in Cities

Thursday, December 14th, 2017
The Future of Equity in Cities - NLC

While many cities feel the immediate positive outcomes from wealth flooding into metropolitan regions, they also feel the negative impact on community members of varying income levels – particularly, those at the bottom that face increased housing prices, greater need for social services and growing concern for community safety. The income inequality and wealth gaps are at outsized levels, with the richest 0.1 percent holding the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90 percent. And when examined through a racial equity lens, the disparities become even starker; on average, white families have six times the wealth of African American and Hispanic families. This is where we are now. Unfortunately, the current policy environment at the national level isn’t focused on alleviating these inequities—cities are.

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City Parks: America’s New Infrastructure

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

City Parks Alliance releases the latest video in the five-part series, “City Parks: America’s New Infrastructure,” focused on the role of linear parks in providing transportation options to city residents. Featuring Fairmount Park System in Philadelphia, PA, The 606 in Chicago, IL, and The Lafitte Greenway in New Orleans, LA, this video share information on how the parks are providing commuter access to jobs and retail, as well as recreational walking and cycling needs.

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Washington, DC: What The Barnes Dance Looks Like

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

A Barnes Dance Intersection (also known as a “pedestrian scramble”) operates differently from a standard traffic signal-controlled intersection and allows pedestrians to cross diagonally while vehicles on all sides of the intersection are stopped at a red signal. In June 2017, DDOT put in place a Barnes Dance at 14th and Irving Street NW, which […]

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Cities: where the action is…

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Many large cities have been so successful in revitalizing downtown areas, it’s now extremely difficult to find parking, to secure restaurant reservations or lease retail space. People wait for years to lease condos in revitalized urban areas and real estate prices have increased significantly. In far too many other American cities, however, downtown areas are anything but vibrant. Some are eyesores because of vacated buildings and a few almost feel like ghost towns. When cities languish, municipal revenues become strained and the downward spiral escalates even more quickly.

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The Fourth Regional Plan: Making the Region Work for All of Us

Thursday, November 30th, 2017
RPA - Fourth Regional Plan - current trends

If the Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs, from 1922, was about realizing that New York City was part of a larger regional economy and natural ecosystem; if the Second Regional Plan of 1968 was about trying to concentrate unconstrained sprawl into a constellation of regional cities; and if the Third Regional Plan of 1996 was about reinvesting in the infrastructure systems of the region to reassert our prominence on the national and international stage—then the lesson we learned from four years of data analysis and public engagement is that the Fourth Regional Plan is about creating and recreating our public institutions, and shaping them to make positive change happen.

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ASCE: Sustainability and Resilience in Our Engineered World

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

ASCE brought sustainability and resilience experts from around the world to the 2017 International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure in New York City to discuss how civil engineers can play a vital role in shaping the future of our world.

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