City Building: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Critical Planning Principles for the 21st

City Building: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Critical Planning Principles for the 21st


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Good city building is not created by complex statistics, functional problem solving, or any particular decision-making process. Successful cities instead come from people advocating easily understood human values and principles that take into account the sensory, tactile, and sustainable qualities of environment and design in relation to what is the best of human endeavor.
—From the introduction to City Building

Cities are often viewed as the least-healthy environments for humans because they are centers of pollution, overcrowdedness, and waste. But the opposite can be true. A well-planned city can be a model of sustainable living. Good city building counters the sprawl of suburbia with concentrated land use, replaces globalized design with regionally appropriate building types, and allows for livable, desirable neighborhoods. John Lund Kriken and Philip Enquist, both longtime partners in the preeminent and award-winning planning firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill(SOM) have collaborated with writer Richard Rapaport to create City Building.

This proactive, green-focused, user-friendly guide to city building is organized into three parts: Part one examines the past and defines the current practice of city building, addressing its shortcomings and proposing a comprehensive framework for rethinking the approach to cities in the future. Part two translates this framework into nine best-practice principles that are common to successful, livable, urban environments: sustainability, accessibility, diversity, open space, compatibility, incentives, adaptability, density, and identity. These principles are illustrated in a global portfolio of city building projects, designed by SOM, that show how best practices have been applied successfully. Part three makes the case that, far from being the problem, cities, properly organized, can be a mechanism for sensible, sustainable uses of increasingly scarce resources. The book concludes with a call for a national planning process and a comprehensive framework for settlement.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781568988818
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Publication date: 03/24/2010
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

John Lund Kriken is a consulting partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and an adjunct professor of urban design at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents

Foreword Philip Enquist ix

Preface John Lund Kriken xi

Part I An Introduction to City Building

The Millennial City 1

The Missing Elements of City Design 4

A Brief (and Personal) History of Urban Design Theory and Practice 9

The Role of Design in Today's City Building 14

Part II Nine Principles for Twenty-First-Century City Building

Introduction 27

Principle 1 Sustainability 28

Committing to an Environmental Ethic

1.1 Creating a Framework for Sustainable Settlement 32

1.2 Choosing the Right Future 37

1.3 Expanding a City/Sustaining Green 44

1.4 Guiding a Nation to a Post-Petroleum Future 50

Principle 2 Accessibility 56

Facilitating Ease of Movement

2.1 Locating Corridors to Preserve a Downtown 63

2.2 Creating Essential Access to Major Development 66

2.3 Planning for Ferry Transit 71

2.4 Learning from Mistakes: Mixed-Access Streets versus Transit Malls 76

2.5 Unblocking Movement 80

2.6 Restoring Access, Reversing Vacancy and Decline 83

Principle 3 Diversity 88

Maintaining Variety and Choice

3.1 Bringing Diversity to the Capitol 93

3.2 Designing Diversity into City Expansion 96

3.3 Creating Variety within Uniform Residential Regulations 101

3.4 Identifying the Special Qualities of a Place 104

3.5 Building-in Diversity 108

Principle 4 Open Space 112

Regenerating Natural Systems to Make Cities Green

4.1 Greening the World's Densest City 118

4.2 Unpaving a River 121

4.3 Topping Off the Burnham Plan with a Green Roof 125

4.4 Developing a Public Greenbelt and Shoreline 130

Principle 5 Compatibility 134

Maintaining Harmony and Balance

5.1 Protecting Heritage While Creating Identity 140

5.2 Protecting Heritage While Managing Density 144

5.3 Retaining a Rural Landscape 147

5.4 Reviving Block Patterns and Building Types 149

Principle 6 Incentives 152

Renewing Declining Cities/Rebuilding Brownfields

6.1 Restoring a River (and Regenerating a City) 156

6.2 Rebuilding Downtowns in a Suburban Context: Good Intentions Get Snagged 161

6.3 Incentivizing a Brownfield 164

Principle 7 Adaptability 168

Facilitating "Wholeness" and Positive Change

7.1 Planning for Continuous Change 175

7.2 Guiding and Anticipating Growth with Principles 178

7.3 Recovering a Diamond in the Rust (Belt) 183

7.4 Fitting Inside with Outside 187

7.5 Working toward a Flexible Campus 190

Principle 8 Density 192

Designing Compact Cities with Appropriate Transit

8.1 Using Brown, Saving Green: Urban Density for Regional Renewal 195

8.2 Accepting Density and Height 202

8.3 Taking Advantage of Existing Infrastructure 206

Principle 9 Identity 210

Creating/Preserving a Unique and Memorable Sense of Place

9.1 Developing Identity in Response to Climate 219

9.2 Responding to Climate and Culture 225

9.3 Creating a New Downtown Identity 230

9.4 Harnessing the Potential of the Waterfront 234

Part III The City of the Future/The Future of the City

The City Is the Solution (Not the Problem) 239

A New Urban Model 239

A Developmental Moore's Law 240

Learning from Asia 240

The Need for a Framework for Settlement 241

Refocusing Planning Theory and Practice 245

Rethinking Single-Purpose Design Education and Problem Solving 245

A Call for National Plans 246

Conclusion 246

Project Credits 247

Index 254

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